Renesas Buys Steradian, Adding to ADAS Portfolio
Sensor fusion is one of the many automotive technologies that chip companies see as an important part of their portfolios. In its mission to offer an all-round solution for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), Renesas Electronics recently added 4D mm wave band imaging radar technology to its portfolio with the acquisition of India-based Steradian Semiconductors.
“We are investing in radar through the acquisition of Steradian,” Vivek Bhan, senior VP for automotive at Renesas Electronics, told EE Times. “The radar market is growing rapidly, and Renesas intends to expand our presence with radar in both automotive and industrial markets. We will leverage Steradian’s assets to develop our own automotive radar products. This is a strategic acquisition that complements what we are already doing in automotive and allows us to operate in the radar market.”
Sensor fusion is accelerating, with more sensor content per car and higher performance processors, Bhan said. Automotive sensor fusion demand is growing to allow precise and accurate object detection of vehicles’ surroundings by combining data from multiple sensors, such as cameras, radar, and lidar (light detection and ranging).
In particular, radar accurately detects objects over long distances, day or night, even during harsh weather or other adverse environmental conditions. For these reasons, radar is considered an essential sensing technology for ADAS.
Collaboration drives acquisition
Renesas began collaborating with Steradian in 2018, and it was this partnership that resulted in talks about an acquisition, Bhan said. Founded in 2016 in Bengaluru, India, Steradian has evolved its expertise in radar technology, including semiconductors. Operating in the 76-81 GHz band, its 4D radar transceivers claim to offer a high level of integration in a small form factor and high-power efficiency.
Renesas hopes to utilize Steradian’s design assets and expertise to develop automotive radar products. The company aims to develop complete automotive radar solutions that combine ADAS system-on-chips (SoCs) for processing radar signals, power management ICs (PMICs), and timing products together with software for object recognition.
Collectively, these solutions aim to simplify the design of automotive radar systems and contribute to faster product development.
Renesas expects an automotive prototype sometime early next year, with production at the end of 2025.
In addition, from the work the two companies initiated in 2018, the company expects to start sampling its first products based on Steradian’s transceiver module toward the end of this year.
Radar technology use cases and development
Steradian’s radar technology is expected to be adopted in home security systems, such as surveillance and traffic monitoring for people, cars, and motorcycles, and HMI (human-machine interface) systems like gesture recognition and docking systems in airport terminals. Steradian provides targeted solutions for these applications by offering transceiver ICs, turnkey modules that include antennas, and software stacks for object recognition.
In the press announcement of the acquisition, Renesas president and CEO Hidetoshi Shibata said that radar is an indispensable technology for ADAS.
“The addition of Steradian’s superb radar technology and engineering talent will allow us to extend our leadership in the automotive segments. We will also leverage their technology for industrial applications to drive our mid- to long-term business growth in both segments.”
Steradian CEO Gireesh Rajendran clearly sees the buyout as a good opportunity for their technology’s wider exposure. “Renesas’ industry-leading portfolio of embedded solutions and broad customer base serve as an ideal foundation to maximize Steradian’s radar technology worldwide. The intention is that Steradian will continue to work with the Renesas team to develop radar solutions that can combine high performance, small footprint and low power consumption.
The acquisition of Steradian, which has 70 staff, is expected to close by the end of this year. Financial details were not disclosed, except that it is an all-cash transaction.
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