Ultra-wideband (UWB) is quickly gaining a foothold in manufacturing for several reasons. The radio-based communication technology offers fast (up to 27 megabits per second) and secure data transmission, centimeter-accurate location measurements within 70 meters and low power requirements. Its bandwidth of 500 megahertz also makes it possible for UWB signals to share spectrum with other technologies without causing interference.
OEMs in the automotive industry are using UWB to their advantage on two fronts. In the plant, they use it to accurately track the position of objects as they move along assembly lines. And, on the consumer side, UWB lets drivers use a smartphone app to remotely lock or open their vehicles.
One such app is Perfectly Keyless from Bosch, one of the world’s largest suppliers of auto parts. The app came out in 2016, and has a location accuracy of 20 centimeters with an operating frequency of 6 to 8.5 gigahertz. Future advanced capabilities of such apps could include occupancy detection and life sign monitoring of a baby in a child seat.
More recently, Bosch has been focusing on validating the UWB capability of its connectivity devices for automobiles. To achieve this, the company is using a CMP200 radio communication tester from Rohde & Schwarz USA Inc. on one production line, and several Over-the-Air (OTA) test chambers for antenna testing.
Juergen Meyer, automotive vice president at Rohde & Schwarz, says the tester is equally effective in R&D labs and on high-production lines at validating the positioning accuracy of each device. Testing is done according to IEEE 802.15.4a and 802.15.4z standards. Meyer says the project is a continuation of the long-term cooperation between the companies in wireless connectivity.
“This project fosters the use of industrywide communication standards between vehicles and smartphones,” adds Markus Hetzel, a manufacturing engineer at Bosch. “Testing the performance of every UWB device also ensures compatibility and correct operation.”
Meyer notes that the CMP200 has always been a combination signal analyzer and generator. However, Rohde & Schwarz specifically added UWB testing to complement the unit’s ability to perform radio frequency millimeter wave tests for 5G networks in either range 1 (up to 24 gigahertz) or range 2 (24 gigahertz and higher).
Other features of the tester include shielded chambers and wireless manufacturing test software. The software is tailored for high-volume testing and nonsignaling R&D applications, and allows for flexible integration into automated production lines.
OTA testing measures the antenna radiated performance and signal path in a simulated environment to ensure that devices perform as intended on the live network. The testing also verifies that wireless products comply with all operator and carrier requirements, and international standards. Key metrics include total radiated power, total isotropic sensitivity and intermediate channel sensitivity.
Rohde & Schwarz provides a full range of UWB test equipment for research and development, certification, chipset characterization and automated production. The company also supports global cross-industry standards for UWB interoperability through its membership in the FiRa (fine ranging) Consortium and Car Connectivity Consortium.
For more information, call 888-837-8772 or visit www.rohde-schwarz.com/uwb.