24GHz Radar : Redefining Motion Sensing Applications for Smart Cities

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When it comes to providing semiconductor solutions that are energy efficient, portable, and secure, hardly any company does better than Infineon Technologies. The firm which is Germany’s biggest and Europe’s second biggest semiconductor company is working on a roadmap to establish a solid footprint in India. Some of its cutting edge solutions were on full display during the 4th Smart Cities India 2018 Expo held here in New Delhi and made for the perfect backdrop for Youvraj Chandrakar, Director & Country Head for Power Management & Multimarket, Infineon India to explain ELE Times’ Soumyarendra Barik about what puts Infineon a cut above its competitors. Excerpts:

ELE Times: What are your insights regarding opportunities for PMM businesses in India?

Youvraj Chandrakar:I see opportunities in street lighting, industrial and commercial lightings. Infineon has dedicated products for lighting applications. We have power management products for AC-DC and Dc-DC power conversions. At this event, 4th Smart Cities India 2018 Expo, we are focusing on AC-DC conversion applications.  Other opportunities also exist in the mass market for industrial applications and applications targeting the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) tenders.We also offer radiation harden products (HiREL)for very specific applications.

ELE Times: Since you are leading an operation that has such a multi-market approach, what are the most prominent verticals that you cater to? Which is the most significant vertical for you? 

Youvraj Chandrakar: Based on current scenario, we see significant potential in LED drivers followed closelyby electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, and consumer applications that include water purifiers, SMPS, industrial chargers and solar applications.

ELE Times: Despite the obvious benefits of LEDs, the Indian market has been a bit slow to embrace the technology. How do you think your LEDs can change that? What makes your LED technology better than some of your competitors? 

Youvraj Chandrakar: We have seen the LED business grew from insignificance to a multi-million business over the last six years. The more people learn about the benefits of LED technology, the more that it becomes a mainstream business in India. The right kind of Government policies, schemes, and the clear role of EESL will continue to transform the LED business going forward. The LEDs have different requirements depending on the applications. We expect the AC-DC portfolio to be key especially with Government’s decision to upgrade street lights with LED lighting across metropolitan cities in India. With our wide portfolio of solutions from 40W to 300W, Infineon, is the partner of choice in this area.

ELE Times: Have you been in contact with some people from the government or someone else who want to use your solutions and products to implement this on a wide scale? 

Youvraj Chandrakar: We have been in talks with many potential customers and the performance and efficiency of our solutions are well received. We are also working closely with local design partners to develop solution forthe system integrators and brands like Havells, Wipro, Crompton and others.

ELE Times: You provide SMPS solutions for wireless charging. Now, wireless charging has been such a hot topic off late and that has seen so many firms developing their own technology around it. Tell us a bit about your wireless charging technology, and how it is better than other offerings in the Indian market. 

Youvraj Chandrakar: The overall wireless charging market is growing at a rapid pace. It is expected to have a CAGR of more than 30 percent during the period 2016-2023. The various benefits like convenience, integration with multiple devices, mobility and flexibility drive the market. Meanwhile the technology is moving from transmitters that charge single devices to transmitters that can charge several devices simultaneously, using either multi-coil inductive or resonant charging, and Infineon has solutions for both topologies.

Key to the success of the overall wireless charging ecosystem will be the adoption of the technology into applications beyond smartphones, such as wearables, medical instruments, robots, drones and point of sale terminals. Infineon’s array of wireless charging solutions range from low-power support for charging using very small coils and multi-device charging, to a flexible high-power offering that is backward compatible for lower-power products such as smartphones. These types of charging experiences are not supported by existing smartphone charging solutions.

We aim to introduce these wireless charging solutions in Indian local demand. For now, wireless charging is available only in high-end smartphones and is not mainstream as such. We are however open to exploring opportunities with local customers and hope that Indian companies would adopt and deploy this technology in both automotive and industrial solutions as well.

ELE Times: Wireless charging technology today is a bit expensive to design and produce. Does Infineon have a way to make it more affordable and accessible to the mass buyer’s market, or the budget end of things? 

Youvraj Chandrakar: We expect the market to become more price competitive once wireless charging technology is well adopted and the volume of products increase. Already, the cost of wireless pads and chargers is dipping. So I am optimistic that it will become mainstream once the cost of smart phones supporting this technology drops as well.

ELE Times: You also provide SMPS solutions for water purifiers. What are some of the benefits for both manufacturers and end users if they use your technology? 

Youvraj Chandrakar: For water purifiers, we are currently proposing a 5th generation PWM controller which is based on our Fixed Frequency CoolSET. This is the new generation family, which along with our CoolMOS P7 super junction MOSFET,will be a perfect fit for this application. The devices we are promoting at the event are meant for both the 60W and 45W solutions, which is mainstream solution as of now in India. With these technologies, we are hopeful the overall cost will come down and simultaneously increase efficiency for the consumer.

ELE Times: How can this technology help the entire value chain of this industry- right from the manufacturer to the end user? 

Youvraj Chandrakar: Because of grid conditions in India, you need solutions which are robust, and our product is up to that task. Second is efficiency. Our solution has the advantage of bringing about an efficient system. Third is the size-miniaturisation. The form factor of the latest Infineon devices is pretty small and we have devices which could be in a smaller form factor like SOT 223 which can practically bring down the cost of designing along with reducing carbon footprint.

ELE Times: At this exhibition, you’ve showcased many interesting products, but one product in particular- the 24 GHz radar based efficient streetlight seems to be the showstopper. Tell us a bit more about it. 

Youvraj Chandrakar: Not many companies have a smart radar-based street light solution. Everybody is either using a camera or an infrared sensor. Infineon has a strong foothold in radar solutions. We have radars targeted to industrial applications as well as automotive applications. In industrial applications, we are focusing on the 24 GHz radar. This is basically to replace the need of a camera which could become intrusive and a concern regarding privacy for consumers. But a radar can give you a similar result while being completely unassuming and ungainly. So the use of radar includes the security and intelligence aspects and we have used that to make a smart lighting pole.

How do you define a smart pole? It needs to have a certain level of intelligence. The solution that we are demonstrating here has multifaceted elements included. This has a range of upto 30-40 metres which can be easily increased to 100 metres just by changing certain algorithms on the software side. It can also identify a person’s movement; if it is a human or animal or a vehicle. So, using this solution, you can know exactly when to switch the lights on and off. Moreover, all this technological chicanery is hidden away neatly and is packed in an aesthetic design. Radar-based solutions can perform in extreme weather conditions and that really gives this product a clear edge. It is simply the future for many smart city applications. This pole can even host an EV charger inside it coupled with a smart payment solution.

Youvraj Chandrakar
Youvraj Chandrakar, Director & Country Head for Power Management & Multimarket, Infineon India

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