EuMW2017 – It’s all about that autonomous 5G-car you’ll be driving

Conferences give you a quite honest status report of the state of technology. In the European Microwave Week 2017, with a total attendance of over 5000 microwave enthusiasts, a lot of effort was dedicated to circuit integration and millimeter-waves as enablers of the two hottest topics around: 5G and self-driving cars.

November 8, 2017 | 5G
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Premix's PREPERM® material draw a lot of attention at EuMW 2017

It’s always difficult to summarize a conference with more than 500 presentations, since you don’t get the chance of hearing all of them, and especially since you don’t understand half of what you’re hearing. I can’t recall all of what I heard, but here’s what passed through my filter.

Autonomous driving needs cars with a lot of sensors, all of which should collaborate and share information much better than we ever do at work. Data recorded by radars, LiDAR, cameras, GPS and 5G will be merged to create very detailed real-time maps so that cars can do their micro path planning, select lanes and avoid obstacles.

Many voices, among them the CEO of Infineon, Dr. Reinhard Ploss, stated that radar sensors are needed in all cars and not just the high-end models.

This is supported by the fact that a 5-star rating from NCAP requires robust crash avoidance technology.

The closing session included a panel discussion on fully automated driving, its impact on society and unsolved issues. A wide variety of sectors related to next-generation cars were represented: the car industry itself, radars, navigation, optical sensors, networks, cyber security, testing and regulation. There were questions about who will control the traffic and whether we, the passengers, will allow us to be steered from above by a quantum computer who only optimizes the total traffic, and not our individual routes. Also, the regulatory and juridical issues relating to autonomous vehicles were discussed, such as the question of finding the guilty one when two autonomous cars collide. Apparently, some testing is still needed before the cars of the future will penetrate the market.

5G was discussed mostly from an mmWave instrumentation point of view. Amplifiers and phase shifters which are needed to realize the beamforming and gain we wish to see in 5G systems are having smaller and smaller power consumption. Dielectric materials for PCBs, radomes and other components are chosen more carefully, and the materials are characterized at frequencies up to several hundred GHz.

All in all, EuMW2017 gave an excellent view of where we are and where we’re going. To dig deeper into self-driving cars, a blog post dedicated to them will appear soon. Stay tuned by following us on twitter! Next up, IEEE COMCAS in Tel Aviv!

P.s. My colleague Victor Heinänen held a phenomenal presentation at MicroApps:

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