The gesture detection system provides a new experience for the driver: you can control the temperature, lighting, windows, infotainment system, etc. in the car with a wave of your hand. There are many ways to adjust various comfort and convenience functions in the car. However, manipulating buttons and knobs (especially the touch screen) will divert the driver’s attention.
Nowadays, many car’s in-car sensor solutions are mostly based on front-end time of flight (ToF) or cameras, but these are not intelligent and cannot be used for multiple applications. Imagine if the same device used for gesture control could also detect the actions of children left in the car, or remind the owner when an uninvited guest tries to enter, that the above functions can be provided even if the car is powered off. There is no need to use multiple sensors, a multifunctional sensor can handle these scenarios in different modes.
How multifunctional sensors realize gesture control and in-car sensing
With TI millimeter-wave radar technology, the system can detect a variety of gestures, such as waving a hand (from left to right, from right to left, from top to bottom, from bottom to top) without the use of touch buttons or knobs. TI’s AWR6843AOP (packaged antenna) millimeter wave sensor enables high-precision gesture detection (even through materials). Its compact size allows it to be flexibly placed anywhere in the vehicle (for example, in the top console or dashboard).
The sensor can operate under all lighting conditions and provide data parameters for the system (such as distance, angle and speed in the car) by using 3D point cloud information. The multi-mode function of TI millimeter wave sensors makes them suitable for a variety of applications that rely on sensors, thereby saving design time and cost.
This “multi-gesture” demonstration showcased the 60GHz AWR6843AOP single-chip sensor and its ability to detect and recognize the gestures of the front seats of the car. The demonstration uses 60GHz AOP technology, which is a bandwidth suitable for in-car radio frequency (RF) sensing applications worldwide.
The AWR6843AOP evaluation module (EVM) has integrated AOP to help simplify the RF design process and achieve a 120-degree field of view in azimuth and elevation (horizontal and vertical views). In the demonstration, the EVM is installed in the front of the vehicle dashboard with a detection distance of 4m and a distance resolution of 4cm.
Some example gestures include: waving from left to right, waving from right to left, and waving from top to bottom and bottom to top. Since parameters such as hand distance, movement speed, and gesture angle are all detectable, the sensors can be programmed to recognize various gestures based on their Doppler characteristics.
Multi-mode functions are all integrated on one chip
TI’s smart integrated millimeter wave chip can provide multiple functions on a single device. For example, when the car is powered off, the sensor can be in a low-power state to provide children or intrusion detection in the car. When the car is powered on, the sensor can detect gestures. With this feature, there is no need to install multiple independent sensors for various applications.
Flexible interior layout
TI millimeter wave sensors are based on a wide field of view and millimeter wave penetration material sensing capabilities, which can achieve more flexible layout in the car. Depending on the application, you can integrate sensors into the dashboard, top console, or even the second or third row of seats to achieve more personalized applications (such as lighting, entertainment screens, or passenger adjustments to temperature or audio) .
Sensing is not affected by lighting conditions
Since TI sensors use millimeter-wave radars to measure by sending and receiving electromagnetic waves, they are not affected by any lighting conditions in the car. Other solutions are susceptible to false alarms caused by direct sunlight, and camera-based solutions may not be able to achieve all functions in a dark environment.
In-car sensors can achieve more functions with less cost and design time
TI millimeter wave sensors are smart solutions for in-car gesture sensing, which can realize functions such as lighting control, door opening/closing, media control, audio control, and human machine interface (HMI) control. When used in HMI systems, TI’s AWR6843AOP can achieve high-precision detection through multi-mode functions, thereby achieving flexible placement and sensing multiple gestures.
Rethinking in-car sensing and design flexibility
Because TI’s multifunctional AWR6843AOP can achieve robust multi-mode sensing under various lighting and temperature conditions, you can use fewer devices to perform more in-vehicle sensing functions. The package size of TI AOP technology is 25% smaller than that of non-AOP devices, allowing design flexibility and easy placement in space-constrained areas, such as top consoles or vehicle pillars. Objects blocking the sensor will not affect the high-performance radar, which can penetrate materials to detect children in the back seat or recognize various gestures to control vehicle systems.