NXP and Hawkeye have entered a strategic collaboration in 77GHz radar, “a key technology for safe, autonomous driving”. Hawkeye Technology, based in Nanjing, can help NXP secure its place in the Chinese automotive radar sector. Hawkeye brings in its 77GHz expertise, a team of highly qualified engineers and a state-of-the-art lab complex within Southeast University in Nanjing. Together, the two companies will collaborate on integrating the top engineering talent at Southeast University within NXP, “to create NXP-based reference designs for the Chinese automotive market”.

China’s automotive radar sensor market is growing at nearly 2 times the world market rate, NXP says. Current automotive market analysis projects that by 2020, radar technology will be in 50% of all newly produced cars. This is, among others, about safety-related applications such as blind spot detection, automatic emergency braking, front and rear cross-traffic detection and precise environmental mapping.

Qualcomm

The deal with Hawkeye comes less than a year after Qualcomm had to abandon its intended acquisition of NXP, which would become one of the largest companies in the semiconductor sector. It was precisely the Chinese market watchdog who, in the midst of the turmoil surrounding the trade tensions between China and the US, obstructed the takeover. China continued to be an important focus for NXP. Kurt Sievers, President of NXP Semiconductors, now stresses that the alliance with Hawkeye is proof of his “confidence in the Chinese market” and “the will to continue investing in that country”.

NXP is a pioneer and market leader in 77GHz automotive radar sensors, a key technology in the next phase of the advanced driving assistance roadmap. This technology addresses the detection and classification of vulnerable road users, full and surround view applications and the ultimate solution; imaging radar, which could in time replace more expensive and bulky technologies.

Kurt Sievers, President of NXP Semiconductors:

“The collaboration with Hawkeye is evidence of NXP’s confidence in the Chinese market and our determination to continuously invest in the country. Innovators in automotive, like Hawkeye and Southeast University, have become the driving force for the transformation of China’s automotive industry. We are pleased to collaborate with these excellent partners, leveraging NXP’s leadership in the fast-growing radar semiconductor market to improve road safety.”

The partnership aims to help shape the future of radar implementation in China. It is also expected to help the Chinese automotive market innovate with system-level solutions and radar reference designs. Alex Shi, CEO of Hawkeye Technology, says that the fast development of autonomous driving technologies has raised new requirements for vehicle-based millimetre radar. “Through our long-term cooperation with State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves, Hawkeye has accumulated outstanding engineering talent and rich product experience in terms of manufacturability and reliability of auto electronic products. By partnering with NXP, Hawkeye will focus on providing advanced millimetre wave radar system level solutions as well as comprehensive technical support for Tier 1 customers.”

Financial details of the agreement are not disclosed. NXP, headquartered at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, has around 30,000 employees in more than 30 countries and posted a revenue of $9.41 billion in 2018.