CES 2022: NXP first secure tri-radio device and 4D imaging radar for L2+ - Embedded.com

CES 2022: NXP first secure tri-radio device and 4D imaging radar for L2+

NXP Semiconductors launches tri-radio devices supporting Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 and 802.15.4 protocols, and updates automotive 4D imaging radar portfolio.

NXP Semiconductors’ CES 2022 announcements target IoT connectivity with a secure tri-radio device family to support the Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 and 802.15.4 protocols, plus new updates to its automotive radar portfolio, which now serve the L2+ through L5 autonomy sectors with 4D imaging radar for 360-degree surround sensing.

For IoT, the company announced the IW612, which it said is the industry’s first secure tri-radio device to support the Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 and 802.15.4 protocols. Part of NXP’s new family of tri-radio products, the new device enables seamless, secure connectivity for smart home, automotive and industrial use cases, and supports the new Matter connectivity protocol. The IW612 frees consumers from the restrictions of single protocol ecosystems, allowing them to enjoy seamless interoperability across different ecosystems and wireless network technologies. Additionally, developers benefit from NXP’s state-of-the-art coexistence capability, which enables simultaneous support of three radios on a single device, reducing costs and development time.

For automotive, NXP announced two updates to its automotive radar portfolio, now designed-in at 20 top global OEMs. It said the industry’s first dedicated 16nm imaging radar processor, the NXP S32R45, has been released into mass production, with initial customer ramp-up starting in the first half 2022. Additionally, the new NXP S32R41 has been introduced to extend 4D imaging radar’s benefits to a much larger number of vehicles. Together these processors serve the L2+ through L5 autonomy sectors.

More details of each of these product announcements and updates follow below.

IW612 – tri-band radio device for seamless IoT connectivity

One of the primary challenges facing the IoT is limited interoperability, which can restrict the consumer’s ability to mix smart home products from different companies. Matter, a new standardized IoT connectivity protocol, designed by a consortium of industry leaders including NXP, addresses these limitations by unifying how devices communicate, independent of the manufacturer or wireless technology. The protocol creates more connections between more objects thereby simplifying development for manufacturers and compatibility for consumers.

To support a new era of interoperability, the IW612 integrates three of the industry’s leading connectivity radios onto a single device for the first time, delivering robust radio performance and integrating a high-performance RF front end.  This technology combination enables true interoperability in the smart home, significantly reducing development time, simplifying design and reducing costs. The highly integrated solution overcomes hardware co-existence challenges that developers face today, while also enabling advanced security protocols to help thwart the ever-increasing number of security threats faced by the IoT.

The IW612 offers secure boot, debug and over-the-air firmware updates for ongoing protection, as well as WPA3 security and hardware encryption engines.

“With the IW612, developers can leverage different wireless connectivity protocols on a single device to create an easy-to-use, secure product for smart home, industrial and automotive use cases,” said Larry Olivas, vice president and general manager for wireless connectivity solutions, NXP Semiconductors. “From door locks and smart speakers to in-vehicle entertainment and telematics, products can now benefit from our tri-radio solutions that address multiple technologies and ecosystems, including Matter. This provides developers with a more cost-effective solution while streamlining deployment for the consumer.”

“Interoperability has been a key challenge that has fragmented the smart home market for years, but Matter-enabled devices can change that,” said Jonathan Collins, research director at ABI Research. “With its new monolithic devices, NXP enables developers to leverage Matter-supported connectivity protocols for their smart home applications and help accelerate Matter adoption. This, in turn, will provide consumers with improved useability by making smart devices easier to connect and greater choice among the interoperable devices they can use.”

The IW612 is ideally suited for use in border routers, bridges and gateways in the smart home that require connecting Thread or Bluetooth devices to the cloud using the integrated Wi-Fi 6 radio. Additionally, the IW612 enables communication between Matter devices regardless of whether the devices use Wi-Fi or Thread. This allows Matter-over-Wi-Fi products to control and monitor Matter-over-Thread devices, and vice versa, for seamless interoperability.

NXP Semiconductors IW612 tri-radio block diagram
The IW612 tri-radio block diagram. (Source: NXP Semiconductors)

Key features of IW612 include:

  • Tri-Radio Integration
    • Wi-Fi 6 reduces network congestion, extends range, improves robustness and lowers power
    • Bluetooth 5.2 for audio (A2DP, LE Audio), voice and network commissioning
    • 802.15.4 for Matter with Thread mesh networking
  • Advanced coexistence for internal and external multi-radio operation
  • Robust security for protection against IoT attacks
  • Pre-validated connection to NXP’s broad microprocessor and microcontroller portfolio
  • Integrated RF front-end including LNAs, high-power PAs and switches for system cost savings, reduced bill-of-materials and footprint.

S32R41 – new automotive 4D imaging radar

Imaging radar extends radar’s ability beyond detecting bulky objects to “seeing” a vehicle’s environment through fine resolution point clouds that enhance environmental mapping and scene understanding. These images enable the classification of objects, such as vulnerable road-users and vehicles, in complex urban scenarios, such as a motorcycle driving close to a large delivery truck or a child entering a roadway between parked cars. In addition, imaging radar needs to be able to simultaneously measure velocity and classify objects at distances of up to 300m, beyond the range of human eyesight. It also needs to identify fast-moving vehicles and distinguish them from slower ones or even static obstacles, like a lost tire, in the driver’s path. NXP addresses these needs with its latest imaging radar processor updates.

NXP_Automotive Radar Image
(Image: NXP Semiconductors)

NXP said its 4D imaging radar is the first to deliver concurrent 3-in-1 multi-mode radar sensing across short-, mid- and long-range operation, enabling the simultaneous sensing of a very wide field of view around the car. To achieve this, NXP leverages an innovative architecture to boost performance beyond raw sensor hardware capabilities with a low-complexity sensor configuration utilizing 192 virtual antenna channels. The boost is enabled by the combination of proprietary radar hardware acceleration which can deliver up to 64x the compute performance of standard processors, super-resolution radar software algorithms to achieve sub-degree angular resolution and advanced MIMO waveforms that allow simultaneous operation of antenna channels. This architecture also helps overcome the limitations of other high-resolution sensors like lidar and high antenna count massive MIMO radar, whose cost and complexity limit their applications to a narrow set of use cases.

“NXP’s new imaging radar processors are shaping the way vehicles understand the world around them by creating high resolution images that enhance the detection and classification of objects, a key step in improving road safety and saving lives,” said Torsten Lehmann, EVP and GM, radio frequency processing, NXP. “The extended S32R family line-up harnesses our leadership in radar processing, super-resolution algorithms and advanced MIMO waveforms to deliver the benefits of imaging radar to the rapidly growing L2+ vehicle segment.” 

The introduction of the S32R41 delivers the industry’s first 16nm radar processor tailored for L2+ autonomous driving applications, which some industry analysts project could account for close to 50% of vehicle production by 2030. The L2+ segment, which was not well served by classical high-resolution sensors, will now benefit from 4D imaging radar sensing with up to six corner, front and rear radar sensors in 360-degree surround fashion.

The S32R45 radar processor is the flagship of NXP’s 6th generation automotive radar chipset family. It helps to enable increasingly autonomous driving, from L2+ through the most demanding L5 use cases, where more than ten imaging radar sensors per vehicle may be required. It also addresses transportation, traffic management and other industrial applications where reliable high-resolution sensing is required.

The combination of NXP’s S32R45 and S32R41 radar processors with the NXP TEF82xx RFCMOS transceivers delivers the fine angular resolution, processing power and range required for production-ready imaging radar solutions. The S32R platform offers a common architecture for software reuse and speedy development along with a highly performant hardware security engine, OTA update support and compliance with the newest cybersecurity standards.

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