The announcement of Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4XL smartphones in October 15, 2019 may not be a huge event for the smartphone industry, but for radars based chips – it is a major change. For the first time, a complete radar in chip is embedded into a smartphone allowing new type of applications and 3D gesture control of the device. To achieve this, Goggle went to Europe, to acquire Infineon’s new BGT60TR13C radar chip.
Infineon has developed a 60 GHz radar chip, based ob its earlier version, the 24 GHz BGT24MTR radar chip. Using an integrated antenna system, BGT60TR13C radar chip appears on a very small area (5 x 6.5 mm) coupled with low power consumption. It senses the presence and movement of people and objects with high precision or measures distances and speeds in an angular scan of 120° and distance ranging from few millimeters up to 5 meters. This chip is the base for Google’s Soli technology and has now been integrated for the first time into a smartphone, so that it can also be controlled by gestures.
“This is a revolution in the human-machine-interaction,” said Andreas Urschitz, Division President for Power Management and Multimarket at Infineon Technologies. “At Infineon, we are furthermore working on the fusion of multiple sensors to simplify interaction and increase the usefulness of the devices.” According to Mordor Intelligence report, the radar sensors market was valued at USD 8.6 billion in 2018, and it is expected to reach USD 22 billion by 2024, registering a CAGR of approximately 20%. The main drivers for this market are the rapidly increasing automation, such as autonomous driving and the Industry 4.0. Until now nobody considered smartphones as a driver for this market.
RADA Electronic Industries from NETANYA, Israel, is emerging as a Radar company following series of orders for its tactical radar systems. During June 2019, the company received $7 million in new orders, most of them to be delivered in 2019. Out of these new orders, five million are for RADA’s software-defined AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radars for counter UAV and vehicle protection.
Two million are follow-on orders for RADA’s legacy avionics, including digital video recorders, core avionics units, and ongoing maintenance services. In total, the accumulated value of new orders for the first half of 2019 is $26 Million. It also includes approximately $5 million new orders of AESA radars aimed to be embedded in counter-UAV systems.
Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, said that radars are the company’s growth engine. “The solid momentum of new orders, especially for our tactical radars for the maneuver force, is ensuring the 2019 revenues forecast of over $40 million which implies growth of over 40% year-over-year, driven primarily by sales of tactical radars. It also gives us confidence that growth will continue in 2020.”
RADA’s Compact and Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars are software-defined, AESA, configurable radar platforms, in a small form factor aimed to be used in a variety of missions. Among them detecting of all types of aerial vehicles (including UAVs of all groups) and missiles, rockets and mortars. Active Protection Solutions for Combat Vehicles and Hostile Fire Location Systems by detecting and tracking Rockets, Artillery, Mortars, ATGMs, RPGs, Low-QE Rockets and Small Arms, and border and perimeter surveillance systems.
Vayyar Imaging from Tel Aviv, announced the launch of its first automotive 4D point cloud application on a single radar chip. 4D point cloud transforms radar technology by constructing a real-time, high-resolution 4D visualization of both in-cabin and car exterior environments. Vayyar’s Radar on a Chip (ROC) has 48 transceivers at 76-81GHz which allows over 2,000 virtual channels. The chip also consists of an internal DSP for real-time signal processing.
This new chip is a variation of its basic technology of 3D radar in a chip. Its former chips consisted of 40 Transceivers array (40 Tx/Rx) and a 72 transmitters and 72 receivers array chip, covering the imaging and radar bands from 3GHz-81GHz with in one chip. The new CMOS SoC from the company is dedicated to Automotive applications. Along with the antenna array, it creates point cloud which displays the dimension, shape, location and movement of people and objects, enabling the classification of the car’s environment.
“Vayyar is the first to close the gap between the robustness of radars and the resolution of LiDAR and optics,” said Ian Podkamien, Director of Automotive Business Development for Vayyar Imaging. “Our real-time, 4D point cloud solution can work in any environmental condition. We believe our sensors will create a shift in the way the automotive industry will use radar in the future.”
Vayyar is already working in cooperation with big industry leaders. Together with Mini-Circuits, it offer microwave transceiver project kits for for students and university programs in electromagnetic theory, RF/microwave engineering, RF systems, and radar technology. Valeo chose Vayyar’s technology for its automotive sensors to enhance infant passenger safety in vehicles, and Faurecia, one of the world’s leading automotive technology companies, has recently chosen Vayyar’s radar sensors for their automotive “Cockpit of the Future.” The two companies will work together to optimize vehicle safety with constant monitoring and automatic alert services.
Vayyar Imaging was established in December 2011 by the chairman and CEO Raviv Melamed with VP Research and Development Miri Ratner and CTO,Naftali Chayat. Melamed previously held the role of VP and GM of the Mobile Wireless Group at Intel Corp. On December 2017, Vayyar have closed a $45 million financing round co-led by Walden Riverwood and ITI. It brought total capital raised by the company to $79 million USD.
Photo above: Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO. “The armed conflict in Ukraine has made the change”
After almot a decade since it entered the short range multi-mission radar market, RADA Electronic Industries believes the market begins to move. This week RADA announced the receipt of $3.5 million in new radar orders from an existing customer which is a leading US military force, and are comprised of recurring follow-on orders for counter-UAV surveillance solutions, along with first order for advanced eCHR radar.
The eCHR is evolved from RADA’s Compact Hemispheric Radar (CHR), currently in use for Active Protection Systems (APS) and Hostile Fire Detection (HFD) solutions for combat vehicles. The eCHR introduces provides increased detection and tracking ranges and advanced beam forming needed for use in APS, Vehicle Protection Systems (VPS), Counter-UAV and perimeter surveillance solutions.
Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, said there is a growing momentum in the US market, centered around counter-drone (C-UAV) and very short range air defense (VSHORAD) demand. “Our software-defined and multi-mission eCHR radar, ordered at this stage for C-UAV use.” The announcement came only a few days after it was revealed that RADA’s Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars (MHR) are embedded in the Rafael’s Drone Dome counter-drone solution, which will be delivered to the British Army in the coming months.
Rada’s technology is based on Pulse Doppler, Software-Defined Radars, using armored Active Electronically Scanned Array Antenna. The British Army is the first customer for this system. Several initial systems are being purchased, with additional potential orders in the coming quarters. In fact, Rafael and RADA won the tender published by the UK Ministry of Defense, ahead of the Italian company Leonardo and its radar partner Elta (a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries).
For RADA this is big. The last deals represent movement in the market. It has been more than a decade since the company had started to develop its own Tactical radar systems for ground forces. At the beginning the company had only Rafael as a sole one potential customer. In 2016 Rafael needed small and chip radar for an Active Protection Systems, aimed to protect Israeli Merkava tanks against RPG threats.
But Rafael switched sides and produced the Trophy system in cooperation with Elta. Later, RADA joined the Iron Fist Soft & Hard Kill Active Protection System against RPG, ATGM, HEAT & KE Rounds, made by IMI Systems. They still offer the system to customers and it is under evaluation in the US Army. But sales were rare and by 2016 the company almost reached bankruptcy.
During a meeting with Techtime, Dov Sella said that the armed conflict in Ukraine has made the change: “Western armies were impressed by the effectiveness of the Russian tanks. They entered fighting zones with perimeter defense and short range missiles to neutralize local threats. This, and the American lessons from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan plus the emergence of the drone threats, brought major armies to realize the importance of short range mobile and multi-mission radars needed to protect their front line forces.”
The result was a turning point in 2017. RADA supplied more than 100 radar systems to the US Marines, and dozens more to the Israeli Defense Force, and now it is preparing itself for near future mass production of radar systems. Accordingly, its Market capitalization (Cap) in Nasdaq jumped from $5.8 million in 2016 to $96 million today. Sella estimates that the first massive orders in this market will start in 2019, the that the big boom is expected in 2020. “According to my calculation, the annual worldwide radar market for Mobile Active Protection Systems may reach approximately $300 million for the next 15 years.”
The next Radar SoC for vehicles will be based on a suite of solutions from Synopsys’ DesignWare IP. Last month the Israeli startup company Arbe Robotics announced it has raised $10 million in a round led by French VC 360 Capital Partners, The company said it will use the proceeds to enhance its imaging technology and to expand its operations in the US and China. With this round, the total funding into the firm stands at $23 million.
Lately the company revealed more data on its future radar device. Arbe Robotics’ imaging radar is designed for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles. The imaging radar can sense the environment at a wide 100-degree field of view in high-resolution at all weather conditions, including fog, heavy rain, pitch darkness, and air pollution. It is able to create a detailed image of the road at a range of more than 300 meters (1,000 feet) and capture the size, location, and velocity data of objects surrounding the vehicle in accuracy of 10-30 cm.
Arbe Robotics selected the ARC EM6SI Safety Island because of its integrated self-checking safety monitor, error correcting code (ECC), and programmable watchdog timer. The EV62 Embedded Vision Processor with SEP provides a dual core 512-bit wide SIMD vector DSP, and required functional safety capabilities without sacrificing performance. Both processors feature lockstep capabilities for detection of system failures and runtime faults.