Modern high frequency sensors are now used on a wide range of platforms. Radar offers numerous possibilities, particularly for air, sea and traffic applications. Fraunhofer FHR therefore investigates ways of leveraging this potential in various projects.

The research activities at Fraunhofer FHR aim to create customer-specific, cost-effective solutions: beginning with feasibility studies as well as chip and antenna design, the scientists develop new hardware concepts for many transport modes. In the automotive area, FHR supported a longstanding industrial partner in the development of a 24-GHz radar. This product has already been installed millions of times in over 40 vehicle types. The scientists are currently working on an improved system with a frequency range of 77 GHz. This frequency allows a more compact design and new features for driver assistance systems. The trend towards software-designed radar opens up a large number of new application opportunities. Innovative applications in the area of autonomous driving will make increasing use of intelligent sensor systems and profit from adaptive signal processing. In the future, cognitive radar systems will be able to adapt operating parameters and the waveform to the surrounding environment: multi-functional close- and long-range sensors, which are used for pedestrian detection and which, in addition to the radar function, can also carry out car-to-car communication tasks.

The researchers are also working on new solutions for air traffic: focal points, other than on-board applications, include the optimization of airspace and airfield surveillance (detection of foreign objects in the vicinity of the airport) as well as air traffic safety while on route (e.g. need-oriented deactivation of laser link satellite communication to protect pilots).

Competence in the area of circuit design is supplemented by expertise in identifying the optimal installation point for vehicle antennas: the installation point, the installation environment and the properties of the installed materials influence the performance of an antenna. Electromagnetic modeling techniques can be used to analyze the functionality of a system in the design phase. The institute develops high-performance and interference-free antennas for vehicles with aerodynamic designs. The application spectrum ranges from manned or unmanned aircraft and land vehicles to large ships. The antennas are used for navigation and communication.

The institute has profound physical, engineering and mathematical expertise and can therefore accommodate its entire service spectrum under a single roof: from technology consulting (consultancy and assessment of new technologies) to design, construction and prototype development. Its work focuses on finding prompt and efficient solutions for issues that arise during the development of a new product. The scientists continuously deal with all aspects of the task on hand with a view to significantly reducing the development risk for customers.

Fraunhofer FHR has set new standards in the construction of low-cost, customer-specific systems: its competence in the area of silicon-germanium semiconductor technology (SiGe) facilitates the development of low-cost, highly integrated components. Thanks to the technologies, processes and systems that are developed at Fraunhofer FHR, new application opportunities are now being opened up in numerous areas. The activities in the business unit Traffic focus on making a significant contribution to the improvement of sensor systems through the utilization of innovative technologies as well as on creating further competitive advantages for its customers in the future.