NXP Looks to Develop ADAS Tech With New Platform

Dutch automotive semiconductor supplier NXP is rolling out a new platform based on the company’s microprocessors that will help automakers install radar sensors, as well as help speed the development of newer advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and other technologies for autonomous vehicles.

The new radar platform from NXP combines the company’s S32R processors, a radio frequency (RF) transceiver and an antenna design on an updated reference platform.

The S32R series are 32-bit microcontrollers designed to address radar signal processing capabilities and merge them with microcontroller capabilities for car bus interfacing.

Developed through a partnership with Colorado Engineering, the expanded ecosystem delivers automotive radar libraries in a software development kit (SDK) optimized for radar development, as well as a reference design kit.

The reference design kit, called RDK-S32R274, is a radar platform that features the S32R27 processor, TEF810x CMOS transceiver, and the FS8410 Power management IC. The SDK provides customers with a radar algorithm library to build and optimize applications without having to invest in accelerator software.

The open development platform is based on a modular architecture and also boasts expansion and antenna modules.

These can be configured to create a customized development platform designed to meet specific customer application requirements.

The aim is to reduce time to market for applications including adaptive cruise control (ACC), automated emergency braking (AEB) and other ADAS platforms.

The S32R27 and the S32R37 chips are currently available to NXP customers. However, the RDK-S32R274 reference design kit is only available for pre-order now and will start shipping in November.

“NXP’s portfolio of radar processors and our end-to-end system development and integration expertise accelerates time-to-market for customers,” Dr. Larry Scally, CEO of Colorado Engineering, wrote in a statement. “By leveraging the radar accelerators that are integrated in the S32R27, customers are well positioned to implement complex automotive radar applications.”

In addition to the new silicon and platforms, NXP has been developing several different offerings for the auto industry, including microcontroller abstraction layers (MCAL), as well as free and commercial real-time operating support (RTOS) tools to help speed development of autonomous vehicles.

MCAL is a software module that directly accesses on-chip microcontroller (MCU) peripheral modules and external devices that are mapped to memory, and makes the upper software layer independent of the MCU.

Last month NXP partnered with Hitachi Solutions to develop a vehicle-to-everything (V2X) hardware and software package aimed at the Japanese market.

The package will incorporate a V2X modem and processor manufactured by NXP and a software stack developed by Hitachi.

NXP claims this feature will make it easier for carmakers to launch their own V2X products internationally. It and Hitachi also say the modem’s engine is able to verify incoming communications securely.

Earlier in September NXP acquired OmniPHY, a provider of automotive Ethernet-subsystem technology. The technology from OmniPHY and NXP will center on 1.25-28Gbit/s PHY designs and 10-, 100- and 1000BASE-T1 Ethernet in advanced processes.

At the beginning of the year, NXP announced an expanded Ethernet portfolio, including the TJA1102 PHY transceiver and SJA1105x Ethernet switch. The SJA1105x and TJA1102 can be used independently or together to form Ethernet subsystems.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.

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