Design solutions for developing high-frequency automotive electronics

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In-car networks offering enhanced convenience, safety, and infotainment are must-have features in today's smart vehicles. These features, which are made possible through wireless sensors, driver-assist radar, vehicle communications, and related electronics, present many design challenges to engineers. Simulation software enables designers to effectively manage the massive flow of data within these high-speed/RF signal networks by isolating the source of design issues—from the individual component to the overall system. Through proper analysis and design automation, engineering teams can accelerate the design of robust devices to meet compliance standards and reduce time to market.


Simulation technology and design automation to develop the challenging, high-bandwidth electronics that are transforming the driving experience.


Integrated EM analysis with circuit- and system-level design to identify performance-inhibiting signal interference in densely-packed electronics.


Design-to-test solutions for mmWave radar development and system integration to tackle the complexity of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS).

Industry Segments

Driver-Assist Radar

Radar and other sensor technologies enable smart vehicles with ADAS to enhance driving safety and potentially usher in the age of self-driving cars. The millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum provides the bandwidth for greater resolution and object detection, thus systems designers are employing phased-array antennas to produce a directive beam that can be repositioned (scanned) electronically to overcome the additional path losses, diffraction, and scattering that occur at mmWave bands. Successful implementation of the antenna system, mmWave front-end components, and radar waveform requires an integrated design approach.


Vehicular communication systems include vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-network (V2N), vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P), vehicle-to-device (V2D), and vehicle-to-grid (V2G). These systems use dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) operating in the 5.9-GHz band as part of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) that connect vehicles and roadside units to provide information such as safety warnings and traffic information. RF/microwave simulation software ensures proper radio design and reliable communications.

In-Car Electronics

A full infotainment system integrates a car’s audio, navigation, communications, and climate systems through a high-bandwidth ethernet network connecting high-definition, in-dash displays controlled through a touch screen or multifunction controller (or both), hard keys, and/or voice commands. These data-heavy systems require greater bandwidth to transmit data at the speeds necessary to maintain driver safety while keeping passengers informed and entertained during travel. Simulation software helps engineers prevent the high-speed signal interference that endangers system fidelity within these dense electronic networks.

Case Studies

Wireless Sensors

Sensata Technologies chose the NI AWR Design Environment platform to develop its tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which uses RF technology to communicate with the car dashboard electronics, warning the driver of a puncture or decrease in tire pressure. Because the TPMS sensors are fully-contained, powered units, optimizing the efficiency, cost, weight, and size of the antenna and RF section are crucial design requirements. Additionally, these systems must be robust in order to operate reliably in extreme temperature, weather, and physical shock/vibration environments. NI AWR software, inclusive of Microwave Office circuit design software and AXIEM and Analyst™ electromagnetic (EM) simulators, was pivotal in the analysis of circuit parasitics, tuning for optimization, and analysis of the effects of environmental disturbance, enabling Sensata to produce an overall more robust TPMS.

Infotainment Systems

In-vehicle networking systems are critical features for modern vehicles, but they are susceptible to external noise bleeding into the cable binder. Mitsubishi chose the NI AWR Design Environment platform, specifically Microwave Office circuit design software and AXIEM EM analysis software, to perform rigorous EM compatibility (EMC) analysis of its DIATONE automotive navigation/audio circuit-board design. The EMC solution addressed specifications of the radiated noise through noise measurements, analysis of the transmission path and all of the system’s EM radiation noise, and the design of countermeasures to reduce EM radiation and susceptibility. The flow improved the sound quality of Mitsubishi's DIATONE systems while decreasing overall analysis times by a factor of 10 and design costs by more than 50%.