New Chinese Radar Chip Vendors Emerge to Support the ADAS & Autonomous Driving Market

Leading market analysis expert, ResearchandMarket.com, has released its latest market report on the automotive radar industry, titled, "ADAS and Autonomous Driving Industry Chain Report, 2018-2019 - Automotive Radar".

According to the report, China's passenger car radar market gathered pace from 2017, with shipments approaching 2.32 million units in the year, an annualized increase of 104.6%. The growth trend continued in the first half of 2018 but slowed markedly in the second half due to a decline in automobile sales, leading to a much lower full-year growth in shipments. In 2018, the shipments of passenger car radars reached 3.58 million units in China, up by 54% versus 2017.

According to ResearchandMarket.com’s monthly study of radar, 77 GHz radars were narrowing their shipment gap with 24 GHz radars in recent years, this was something that was not expected. There are also a number of new Chinese radar chip vendors in the market which includes Xiamen IMSEMI Technology Co. Ltd, Radaric (Beijing) Technology Co. Ltd, SGR Semiconductors Inc, Calterah Semiconductor Technology (Shanghai) Co. Ltd, Nanjing Citta Microelectronics Co. Ltd and Hangzhou Andar Technology Co. Ltd.

In 2017, Calterah Semiconductor Technology released Yosemite (2T4R/4T8R), a 77 GHz transceiver chip series for CMOS-based automotive radars; in 2018 Xiamen IMSEMI Technology rolled out SG24TR12, a 24GHz 1T2R chip and SG24TR14, a 24GHz 1T4R chip. Radaric (Beijing) Technology, founded in 2010 with the background of Tsinghua University, designed a CMOS-based 77 GHz multi-channel monolithic integrated radar chip. SGR Semiconductors, the successor of RFIC Division under Shanghai Industrial Technology Research Institute (SITRI), closed Series A funding of RMB80 million in 2017 and finished capital increase in the A-round in 2018. In February 2019 Hangzhou Andar Technology unveiled the ADT2001, a phased array architecture-based 16T16R 77GHz radar chip with CMOS process and ADT1002, a 2T2R radar chip.

Though there are radar chip start-ups in China, they commit themselves to the development of RF transceiver modules. Their transceiver units play a small role in the whole radar system and does not cost much. China-made radar chips are still not provided with the core function of algorithms about processing radar signals. Foreign chip leaders are heading towards integration and high precision. In June 2018, Texas Instruments (TI) announced mass production of AWR1642, a highly integrated ultra-wideband radar sensor boasting remarkable technical superiorities as it integrates microcontroller (MCU) and digital signal processor (DSP). Many a start-up uses AWR1642 to develop "4D radar" (4D=3D position + 1D speed).

High Resolution Imaging, 79 GHz and CMOS Hold the New Trends

CMOS-based chip ecosystem has yet to be built even if a radar with CMOS process will be a typical one in the future. Chinese radar start-ups face challenges of immature technology and unverified products in spite of a large number. For automotive industry with a high demanding on mature and reliable technologies, the long-used silicon germanium process still prevails, so the giants like Bosch, Continental, Aptiv, Denso and Veoneer still rule the roost. In 2018, the top three players in China's passenger car 77G long-range radar (LRR) OEM market seized a combined 80% share.

In 2018, new radar entrants in China grew up quickly by resorting to the strategy of "encircling the cities from the rural areas". Wuhu Sensortech Intelligent Technology Co. was invested by security giant Hikvision and affiliates of BAIC and GAC, with team members growing to over 300 employees. In 2018, Sensortech shipped more than 100,000 radars, generating the revenue of nearly RMB100 million ($14 Million USD). Security and transportation were the main markets using around 70% of Sensortech's radars.

Quite a few start-ups in China apply the business model: polishing products in other markets whilst forging ahead in the automotive market. Sensortech's radars will be available to 10 models in 2019 after being used in two mass-produced passenger car models in 2018. Sensortech targets to earn RMB200 million ($28 Million) in 2019, including 40% from automotive business. Sensortech also plans to expand its team members to 1,000 in the next two years from the current 300 with the help of Hikvision.

Suzhou Millimeter-wave Technology saw shipments of 2,000 sets of 24 GHz automotive radars in OEM market in 2018 before expectedly shipping 50,000 sets for passenger cars in 2019 as it becomes a designated supplier of two automakers for five of their models.  In August 2018, Shenzhen Anngic Technology announced the closing of RMB 50 million ($7 Million USD) series A rounds. Its products get utilized in automobiles, drones, security, transportation, etc.

The trend for high precision forces not only Chinese radar start-ups but time-honored brands to have stronger competence in radar signal processing algorithms. For instance, Analog Devices (ADI), a 15-year-old company managed in March 2018 to acquire Germany-based Symeo whose RF and sensor technologies enable real-time position detection and distance measurement. ADI will leverage Symeo's signal processing algorithms to offer customers a radar platform with significant improvements in angular accuracy and resolution.

Vision-Radar Fusion Solutions

It grows a trend that vision and radar get fused safer and more reliable ADAS capabilities. Take Volvo S90 city safety system as an example. The Aptiv RACam system for it combines a 77 GHz radar and a monocular camera mounted at the top of the windshield to deliver such functions as FCW, AEB and ACC. Suzhou Millimeter-wave Technology is creating a radar and camera all-in-one. With pre-fusion technology for pixel-level fusion of two sensors, the device becomes much more aware of surroundings and robust in object recognition. Sensortech and Hikvision team up to develop pixel-level radar and vision fusion technologies. 

Click here for the full report.

Click here to view our product portfolio of Automotive Radar chipsets from leading vendors.

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