Rear occupant alert (ROA) installation on automobiles is set to become a legal requirement globally.
Companies like Texas Instrument, Infineon Technologies, VayaVision and Socionext with monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) technology for radars will likely now compete intensively for the orders.
ROA systems is meant to protect infants and children sitting on the rear seat of cars. The radar on the ceiling will sense their movements and alert the drivers. Radar sensors are replacing ultrasonic sensors more and more. Radars can read biosignals that allows them to determine whether a subject is an adult, child or pet. It can also detect how many passengers are in the car.
ROA systems use 60GHz industrial scientific medical (ISM) mmwWaves or ultra wide bands. These can read micro-movements made by passengers. A high output is needed for distance and accuracy. South Korea has approved an output of 43dBm. In the US this is dBm.
Texas Instrument offers 60 to 64GHz MMIC, digital signal processor (DSP) and micro control unit (MCU) in one chip called AWR6843. Infineon offers 58 to 62GHz radar MMIC and MCU(BGT60ATR24C/TC336) separately. Vaya is offering VYYR7202 which combines MLCC and DSP and 60GHz and 79GHz dual bands. Socionext offers the 57 to 64GHz MLCC SC1220.
Texas Instrument was the only company offering chips that can be used in the production stages of a ROA system, a person familiar with the matter said. It is the only company to that offers 10dBm output. Socionext offers 7dBm, Vaya 5dBm and Infineon 4dBm.
It remains to be seen which company would lead the market as ROA system market is just beginning, the person said.
EURO-NCAP 2025 roadmap shows that the continent is planning to require ROA on all new cars launching in Europe in 2022. In the US ROA will be required starting in 2025. In South Korea, school buses had needed to install them since 2018.
Around 20 automobile companies were preparing ROA technology. There isn’t an internal standard on the systems. Hyundai Motor has installed the series on Santa Fe starting in 2018. It has expanded it to Pallisade, Sorento and Genesys GV80 and G80.
According to Persistence Market Research, passenger sensing system market will grow 6.9% on average every year from 2017 to 2022. It will be worth US$2 billion in 2022, the research firm says.