ZF has received a production contract for its Full-Range Radar technology from SAIC.

The ZF Full-Range Radar perceives vehicle surroundings in four dimensions, including height, making it similar in capability to optical sensors such as cameras and LiDAR.

In combination with these technologies, high-resolution radar can help provide the necessary safety and reliability for semi to highly-automated driving, including level 4.

Full-Range Radar technology offers high resolution for four dimensions: range, velocity, azimuth (horizontal) and elevation. The addition of the elevation angle helps generate an enhanced 3D image of the traffic situation, enriched with speed information, resulting in high-resolution environment sensing.

This type of data helps a vehicle on a highway to detect the end of a traffic jam under a bridge at an early stage and brake accordingly. The Full-Range Radar also provides information which helps detect the edge of the road and whether there are free passing areas at the side of the road.

ZF says its Full-Range Radar has "considerably higher resolution" than mid-range radars, which typically only have 12 channels (three transmitters, four receivers). In ZF's Full-Range Radar, the number of channels is 16 times greater: Four Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit (MMIC) chips are combined resulting in a total of 192 channels available.

"ZF's Full-Range Radar represents a significant step forward in sensing technologies," said EVP for ZF Electronics and ADAS division, Christophe Marnat.

"With its high levels of object and scene recognition and long-range detection, the Full Range Radar is a key to help meet the high perception requirements of L3 and L4 AD at a competitive price level. This sensor is also capable of significantly increasing the potential performance of advanced safety and L2+ driving applications."

The Full Range Radar's high information density enables detailed object recognition. For example, it receives around ten data points from a pedestrian instead of one or two compared to typical automotive radars, allowing more precise information, as radars register the speed of the measured object for each measuring point.

ZF's Full-Range Radar can resolve the movement of individual limbs – allowing the sensor to  potentially recognise in which direction the pedestrian is walking.

Full-Range Radar is an addition to ZF's sensor set for automated driving functions. With an aperture angle of +/-60 degrees, it is designed for a wide range of situations: from slow city traffic to driving on country roads and highways.

It uses the 77 gigahertz band and the Fast Ramp Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) modulation shared with other radar sensors from ZF.

ZF will start supplying Full-Range Radar to SAIC in 2022.