Tony O'Kane | May 29, 2009

GERMAN AUTOMAKERS BMW and Daimler have teamed up with Bosch, Continental and Infineon Technologies to form an alliance aimed at increasing the use of advanced anti-collision radar systems in cars.

The joint initiative, named 'Radar on Chip for Cars' (RoCC), will develop the next generation of radar-based collision-avoidance systems and will work to make such technology available in all vehicle classes.

The new system will also be cheaper to produce, easier to integrate and work on a different frequency to existing radar systems.

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The RoCC project will run for three years and has a budget of €17 million (AU$30.1 million), with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research chipping in with an €8.3 million grant.

The ultimate aim is to produce a single system that can detect objects as close as five centimeters and as far away as 250 metres, and transmit on the newly mandated 79GHz frequency, rather than the current 24GHz frequency used by automotive radar.

That means we may soon see a radar system that can single-handedly manage parking, adaptive cruise control and collision detection duties, with the anticipated low cost hopefully spreading the use of such technology beyond prestige and other niche vehicles.

Toyota has been one of the first to offer its own collision detection and warning system on a relatively prosaic vehicle (the 2010 Prius), while Mercedes-Benz and BMW currently use similar set-ups on the 7 Series and S-Class.

Will we see an advanced radar system on 1 Series hatches and A Classes? We'll find out in three years.

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