Obstacle Detection Reference Design Using AoP mmWave Sensor

The AoP mmWave sensor’s high frequency and advanced processing enhance vehicle safety, efficiency, and convenience, meeting the demand for advanced automotive obstacle detection systems.

Robust and reliable information about surrounding objects is crucial in today’s vehicles, especially for automated door-opening and parking systems. Obstacle detection is a critical component in modern vehicle automation and safety systems, ensuring the seamless operation of automated door-opening, trunk-opening, and parking assistance features. The antenna-on-package (AoP) mmWave sensor represents a significant advancement in this field. This technology provides highly accurate and reliable information about surrounding objects, enabling faster development cycles and more compact, integrated solutions. 

The TIDEP-01024 reference design by Texas Instruments provides a comprehensive guide for developing a door-opener obstacle detection application using an AWR1843AOP sensor. This sensor is based on 77-GHz mmWave radiofrequency complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (RF-CMOS) technology, integrating an antenna-on-package (AOP) with a 77-GHz mmWave radar front end, ARM® microcontroller (MCU), and TI DSP core into a single-chip system.

Advanced Obstacle Detection Capabilities 

It showcases the capabilities of the AWR1843AOP, a 76-GHz to 81-GHz single-chip frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) mmWave sensor with an integrated antenna on package (AoP). This sensor also features an integrated DSP, MCU, and a hardware accelerator for fast Fourier transform (FFT) processing, making it a powerful tool for obstacle detection. The AWR1843AOP sensor accelerates the development process for applications such as smart door opening, smart trunk opening, and parking assistance by providing a faster time to market. Its small form factor allows for placement in compact locations like door handles and bumpers, offering flexibility for Tier 1 suppliers and carmakers in designing end-use cases within space-constrained environments.

Key features include demonstration hardware and software utilizing the AWR1843AOP for multifunctional sensing in obstacle detection applications, including smart door opening, smart trunk opening, and parking assistance. It offers an approximate azimuth field of view (FoV) of ±70° and elevation FoV of ±70°. Onboard signal processing for point-cloud detection is handled using the integrated HWA, DSP, and R4F. The integrated antenna on package (AoP) and compact form factor enable installation in small mounting positions, including door handles and bumpers.

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The AWR1843AOP sensor, operating within the 76 to 81 GHz frequency band, utilizes TI’s 45-nm RFCMOS process for exceptional integration in a compact form. Combining advanced silicon technology with a wide field of view antenna, it integrates a fast FMCW radar front end, ARM R4F MCU, and TI C674x DSP for advanced signal processing. Ideal for obstacle detection and ultra-short-range radar, it enhances modern vehicle automation and safety.

TI has tested this reference design. It comes with a bill of materials (BOM), schematics, assembly drawing, printed circuit board (PCB) layout, etc. You can find additional data about the reference design on the company’s website. To read more about this reference design, click here.

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