Infineon takes system approach to automotive in-cabin monitoring
Infineon has released a new solution for automotive in-cabin monitoring systems that includes 60-GHz radar sensors, MCUs, and PMICs.
Infineon Technologies AG has developed an in-cabin monitoring systems (ICMS) solution that includes 60-GHz radar sensors, microcontrollers (MCUs), and power management ICs (PMICs), aimed at child detection, driver well-being, and occupancy sensing applications. The company also has partnered with startups bitsensing Inc. and Caaresys on the software side to deliver complete solutions to automotive customers.
The solution is comprised of the XENSIV BGT60ATR24C AEC-Q100 radar sensors, AURIX microcontrollers, and OPTIREG PMICs. With this breadth of products, the company offers solutions for a range of ultra-wideband, ultra-low-power, and cost-sensitive ICMS sub-systems. One of the key features is new signal processing techniques that deliver a compromise between cost and power consumption to meet a range of in-cabin monitoring applications.
Infineon has identified three key drivers for ICMS – new legislation, autonomous cars, and product differentiation.
Over the next five years, Infineon expects to see a lot of changes in legislation that will drive demand for in-cabin monitoring for child safety, especially for the ‘left behind child,’ said Sebasian Schams, Infineon’s head of product marketing for radar sensing, during a webcast.
The second trend is highly automated cars, said Schams. “Cars can drive by themselves in various degrees of autonomy and for this application, health and safety monitoring of the driver and the passengers becomes very important. Monitoring the attention and well-being of the driver is not only important for the people inside the car but also for those around it. Having systems in place that can detect these conditions of the driver or of the passengers in the car, for example, if a seat belt is used, is essential.”
OEM product differentiation is the other market driver, Schams added. “We believe radar is the technology [for ICMS] that will help OEMs set themselves apart with the best offerings and best safety for their customers.”
In comparison with other sensor solutions, including weight, infrared, ultrasonic as well as cameras, Infineon believes radar technology offers the right balance between accuracy, robustness, range, installation, power consumption, and cost.
A comparison of sensing technologies for ICMS (Image: Infineon)
Radar is very good in regard to accuracy and robustness, said Schams. “With radar we can determine where a person is located and if this person is an adult or child and this can be done thanks to the heart rate or breathing rate monitoring.”
In addition, the sensor will work in the day or night and the range is excellent, said Schams. It can look through seats, so even if there is a dog, for example, on the footrest of the car, it can be seen by the sensor, he said.
Infineon offers 24-GHz and 60-GHz radar sensors for multiple in-cabin applications, but selected 60-GHz for ICMS for a couple of distinct advantages. In general, the 24-GHz radar can be used for applications such as blind spot detection, smart trunk opener, obstacle detection for tailgate protection, and door alert for obstacle detection. The 60-GHz radar can be used for child presence detection, driver monitoring for vitals, gesture sensing/proximity control, sunroof opener, and passenger occupancy detection.
The XENSIV BGT60ATR24C radar sensor is a cognitive sensing solution with multiple transmit/receive for virtual array configurations. It offers automatic power mode configurability as well as simplified interfaces between RF and the processing side. The AURIX TC3xx MCU family combines performance and safety, integrating a fast radar signal processing unit and enhanced security with the second-generation of the hardware security module (HSM). This includes asymmetric cryptography accelerators and full EVITA support.
“For the 60-GHZ radar, infineon has developed an optimized chipset of components – a set of components that work well together and can provide the best performance to detect presence, to detect location, and to classify the person, distinguishing between an adult and a child or pets, and it is immune to several exterior interferences like temperature or vibration,” said Antonio Monetti, Infineon’s senior marketing director, vehicle automation and safety, in a webcast.
There are basically three main parts for the 60-GHz radar application, the radar chipset, the microcontroller that is receiving information from the MMIC, and all of the power devices and the interfaces to the rest of the car, said Monetti. “The components are optimized to have the best performance, so for example, reducing the power consumption to a minimum level at less than two watts for the MCU.”
60-GHz radar chipset optimized for ICMS (Image: Infineon)
“This radar solution also offers flexibility in terms of installation points and use cases. So with a single radar module, we can detect seat rows, for example, the front or the rear seat, or if it is an SUV, we can detect those additional seat rows, and we can detect if a passenger is sitting in the center, or on the left or right, and if it’s an adult, child or pet,” he said.
Monetti also noted that it is important to mention that microcontrollers in automotive applications are now required to offer additional functionality for safety and security, which the AURIX MCUs have enhanced in the second generation family.
In order to deliver a complete solution to automotive manufacturers and their tier one suppliers, Infineon is collaborating with global partners. For in-cabin sensing Infineon selected bitsensing Inc. and Caaresys.
“Our first partner is bitsensing, a Korean startup that has a core competencies in software and algorithms for in-cabin monitoring. The company is working with Infineon to develop a very cost optimized and high-performance solution, called MOD620,” said Monetti. The MOD620 60-GHz system solution using Infineon’s chipset solution is available for demos via Infineon or bitsensing.
Infineon’s second partner for in-cabin sensing is Caaresys, a start-up based in Israel, which is combining its algorithms and radar signal processing with the XENSIV radar sensors and AURIX MCUs to develop contactless vital sign monitoring. The company’s core competencies are in software and algorithms for cabin occupancy and vital signs monitoring.
The microcontroller, the MMIC, the power devices, the interfaces, and these solutions are optimized for in-cabin monitoring applications to offer the best performance and price, and they meet robust requirements, providing extra functionality like safety and security, said Monetti.
“They also are scalable and flexible to offer different installation points to fulfill different requirements,” said Monetti. “With these two partners – Caaresys and bitsensing – the customer can have a complete solution, not only the hardware from Infineon but also the software from our partners, to develop and bring 60-GHz radar solutions to mass production.”