Dutch startup shrinks 60-GHz radars while increasing precision

August 28, 2014 // By Julien Happich
Founded in 2011, Dutch startup Omniradar announced it has secured €2.6m of equity and debt financing to roll out its single-chip 60GHz radar solution.

Investing in this round were Orlaco, a manufacturer of camera systems for vehicles and vessels, the company's founders Paul van Zeijl and Hans Brouwer, as well as the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

With the funds, and together with foundry partner NXP Semiconductors, the startup plans to bring to production its RIC60 60-GHz radar ICs for application in vehicle safety, but also to be used as a new precision sensor for personal security, industrial automation or environmental monitoring.

Operating in the 60-GHz ISM band (57-64 GHz) and measuring only 7.0x7.0x1.2mm, this complete SiGe radar front end integrates one transmit- and two receive-antenna on the silicon die, allowing for the simultaneous detection of position, speed and angle of arrival for multiple objects.

With its 7-GHz operational bandwidth, the chip can achieve higher position and speed accuracy than competing automotive radars solutions on the market, claims Omniradar.

“The precision is in the order of a few centimetres for discerning between objects”, told us Hans Brouwer, the company’s CEO, “with a practical sensing range up to 15m”.

The company chose the 60-GHz ISM band because it is open, and not restricted to automotive applications.

“We could have also used the same technology in the higher frequency band (76-77 GHz), but it had less bandwidth so less resolution. It is actually linear, so 1-GHz bandwidth gives 1/7 the resolution of 7 GHz. Resolution meaning the possibility to differentiate between two objects. For accuracy we can get to sub mm (100um) with the right processing of data, and using our PLL”, commented Brouwer.