High-performance components for autonomous traffic

December 09, 2019

Within the framework of the EU’s Ocean12 research project, sustainable components for autonomous road and air vehicles are being developed.

© Fraunhofer Mikroelektronik
Self-driving cars are part of a central mobility concept within the EU’s Ocean12 project.
© MEV Verlag
FD-SOI technology will facilitate autonomous flying, e.g., for the transport of time-critical goods using drones.

Self-driving cars are one of the central mobility concepts of the future, but urban air traffic also has numerous autonomous applications such as air taxis or drones for the dispatch of time-critical goods and medicines. These require environmental sensors such as camera, LiDAR, or radar systems to monitor the vehicle environment. Equally important are microprocessors, which convert the recorded data into control commands such as to steer or to brake.

Promising technology

To ensure that these components operate as reliably and energy-efficiently as possible, Ocean12 researchers are using the manufacturing approach of FD-SOI (Fully Depleted Silicon On Insulator) technology. An additional wafer-thin insulation layer is inserted into the chip, which reduces what are known as leakage currents. This reduces power consumption by up to 90 % and also increases computing speed. Furthermore, this technology enables particularly compact sensor systems, as sensors with powerful integrated evaluation circuits can be integrated on an SoC (System on Chip).

European cooperation

A total of 27 European partners from industry and research are contributing their expertise in semiconductor technology, electronics, aerospace, and automotive engineering to the project – including the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Microsystems and Solid State Technologies EMFT, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS. The project runs until 2021 and is funded by the European Union, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the Free State of Saxony, among others.

Further information on the project and the partners involved can be found at: www.elektronikforschung.de/projekte/ocean12