Paul van Gerven
7 November

NXP is investing in Zendar, a US software startup focusing on high-resolution radar systems for autonomous driving and advanced driver assistance systems. The investment aims to accelerate and improve these systems to complement NXP’s scalable radar portfolio.

NXP Zendar
Credit: NXP

Zendar’s distributed aperture radar (DAR) solution increases the radar aperture, which improves angular resolution to enable lidar-like performance while reducing complexity and radar footprint. The technology enables high-angular resolution below 0.5 degrees, which is essential for precise mapping of the environment, whereas conventional radar sensors operate between 2 and 4 degrees. In addition, DAR offers further potential to enhance the resolution through flexible mounting techniques. The radar solutions will be based on NXP’s S32R radar processor platform and RFCMOS SAF8x one-chip SoCs.

Zendar was founded in 2017 by Vinayak Nagpal and Jimmy Wang, both PhDs from UC Berkeley. Nagpal had worked several years in radio astronomy and Wang had spent time building high-resolution street-level mapping systems. When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened the 77-81 gigahertz spectrum for automotive radars and automotive processors started to become powerful enough, the pair went on to pour their combined expertise in advanced radar signal processing for automotive purposes.