77GHZ AUTOMOTIVE RADAR- TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Adaptive cruise control, potentially Forward Collision Warning and Auto Emergency Braking will support a doubling in annual demand for Radar units from 2015 upto 2021.
Continental was the leading vendor of electronics for automotive Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in 2015, with an estimated market share of 18%, ahead of Bosch with 15%, Autoliv (14%), Magna (9%) and ZF/TRW (7%). Collectively the top ten vendors accounted for almost ninety percent of the ADAS market.
The total addressable market for ADAS will more than double from just under $300 million per annum today to almost $700 million over the next five years.
From an electronics perspective, BPA thinks that the building blocks necessary to support fully autonomous (the second key driver) driving are now in place. Tesla’s experience with the Autopilot function demonstrates that, for now, ADAS remains firmly in the category of driver assistance rather than automated driving. However the reliability, regulatory and legal issues which currently limit ADAS operation are all expected to be resolved steadily over the next five years.
For the immediate term, the Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) has acerbated the criteria for its top safety rating: Only cars with a radar-equipped ADAS will be eligible to get the five stars top rating. This will help stimulate the demand for radar modules.
Semiconductor integration and cost reduction, fed by a more than doubling of annual demand by 2021, will result in lower cost targets to allow the integration of ADAS to all tier levels of Automobiles. Using Silicon based semiconductors will help to facilitate this. The two key players, Infineon and NXP, have both embraced the move towards further integration as well as low cost packing such as eWLB in the case of the former.
The board area for an automotive radar module is between 1200mm2 and 2500mm2. Layer counts have been reported between 2 and 8 layers with, of course, the latter being required for multiple technologies. Most units utilise two PCBs, see Figure 1 below.
Figure 1 : TYPICAL CONSTRUCTION OF A 77GHz RADAR MODULE
The two main boards are the DSP and the RF antennae board. In the future this is likely to be combined into one. It is here that the low loss laminate is required.
The development of the electronics is far from mature and there is a strong reticence from companies such as Bosch and TRW to get into much detail about their developments. BPA has studied this area and has information available to shed light on the opportunities for PCBs and Laminates in this emerging high growth market sector.