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Taiwan designs low-cost collision avoidance radar system

2010/11/24 19:33

Taipei, Nov. 24 (CNA) Vehicle owners who are worried that aUS$800 collision avoidance sensor will cut too deeply into theirpockets will soon be able to purchase a Taiwan-designed radar sensorfor well below US$100.

A Taiwan University research team has designed a 77 GHz"collision avoidance radar system" that detects the distance andspeed of vehicles in front of the automobile in which it isinstalled.

Lee Chih-yi, a professor of electronic engineering at NationalTaiwan University (NTU) , said at a press conference Wednesday thathis team's technological breakthrough lies in the lower cost of thesystem, which will also be much smaller in size than those already onthe market.

He said that unlike the image-capture radar systems on themarket, his team's device uses electromagnetic waves to determine thelevel of danger posed by other vehicles close by.

In addition, the accuracy of image-based radar is usuallyaffected by fog and rain, but this is not the case withelectromagnetic waves, Lee said.

Based on speed, distance and other data obtained via themonitoring sensor, the electromagnetic radar will alert the driver ifhis vehicle is too close to others, he said.

The 77GHz radar sensor can detect moving vehicles 100-150 metersaway, at an angle of between 3 and 5 degrees, or about the length ofa traffic block, according to Lee.

To monitor cars within a shorter range, the detection angle canbe adjusted to 40 to 50 degrees, he said.

Because the radar system is not expensive, people can install twoor more in their vehicles to monitor the lanes on the right and theleft, the professor said.

He said most collision avoiding radar systems cost between US$700and US$800 and are usually installed only in luxury sedans.

"Our radar costs much less, is smaller and uses less energy, soit can be installed in all sorts of cars, big or small," he said.

Lee said his team has published a paper on the radar chip and isnow applying for a patent, having completed assembly of the collisionavoidance radar system.

He said he believes that given its low cost and potential forwider use, the electromagnetic radar will become very popular amongdrivers.

The paper was one of 14 from Taiwan selected for presentation atthe 2011 International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC)scheduled for February next year in San Francisco. A total of 211papers will be discussed at the conference.

Wednesday's press conference was hosted by the InternationalSolid-State Circuits Society's Taiwan branch to share Taiwan'sresearch achievements with the media.

(By Hsu Chih-wei and S.C. Chang)Enditem/pc