Stringent performance goals may help bi-static radar sensors win over monostatic radar sensors, according to market research firm Technavio.

Detection range is the main specification for long- and mid-range radar systems, said Technavio analysts. Obtaining a high detection range requires high transmitter output power and highly sensitivity receiver. Meeting such stringent performance goals is more difficult for monostatic radar systems when compared with their bi-static counterparts.

The use of a coupler in front of the antenna in the case of monostatic radars has been found to introduce additional loss in the RF path. This loss, in turn, degrades the noise performance of the system and affects the conversion gain of the receiver and the output power of the transmitter.

Another emerging trend in the automotive sector is ray-tracing simulation, which is expected to replace drive testing of automotive radar sensor.

Systems that consist of regions of varying propagation velocity, absorption characteristics and reflecting surfaces are the reality, and modern radar waves need to pass through such media to be effective. Usually, under such varied circumstances, wavefronts may bend, change direction or reflect off surfaces, thus complicating their analysis.

“Automotive radar sensor-based systems need to be tested under all circumstances and under diverse ambient media, to assess their efficacy and effectiveness. In current procedures, this involves hundreds of scenarios that need to be tested to full proof the system,” said Neelam Barua, a lead analyst from Technavio, specialising in research on automotive electronics sector.

Technavio analysts also forecast SoC solutions, currently the go-to technology that can incorporate multiple sensors on a single hardware platform, to become new normal in automotive radar sensors market.

Due to the current micro-trend for MEMS-based sensors being in the aegis of monolithic design, there is an increased need for optimised integration, according to Barua. The primary requirement of a SoC-based MEMS sensor solution would be of the fundamental nature (i.e., size). Further miniaturisation of sensors is expected to become necessary. Currently, the node size of a usual automotive sensor is around the range of 48-28nm.

Technavio automotiveradarsensors (cr) Figure 1: Global automotive radar sensors market key drivers and figures (Source: Technavio)

Long-range radar sensors will be more prevalent in North America and Western Europe owing to the presence of a large consumer base that prefers autonomy, according to Technavio. The U.S., especially, is the hotbed of testing and implementation of autonomous vehicles by Google and Tesla. In 2015, more than 81% of sales of Tesla vehicles were from the US. The country was followed by Canada, accounting for 6% of the sales.