A new line of automotive radar sensors from Texas Instruments not only offers chips to watch for dangers on the road, but also includes a chip that can monitor the driver in the car. Its proximity-sensing short-range radar can detect when a person is in the car, and shows enough resolution for gesture control and monitoring driver attention.
Texas Instruments includes its AWR1443 radar sensor among a new line of very small radar chips tested for automotive quality, meaning they can endure vibration and temperature extremes. Other chips in the series identify objects from a car, up to 200 meters away, or in closer range, from 5 to 100 meters.
Automakers use radar sensors on cars to enable such driver assistance features as adaptive cruise control, which matches the speeds of slower traffic ahead, even down to a complete stop. Radar also enables collision prevention systems, which automatically apply the brakes when a car is about to hit an object. Self-driving cars under development usually include a combination of radar, camera and lidar sensors.
Sudipto Bose, director of marketing for automotive radar at Texas Instruments, points out that in-cabin radar offers a number of benefits. It can alert parents if they’ve left children in a car, and it can be used for gesture controls, which let drivers control navigation, phone and stereo with hand motions. This proximity radar could also identify if a driver’s attention is not focused out the windshield.