Innovative Systems and Automated Design for 5G/6G Connectivity and Radar Applications [InnoStar]
Wireless communications are crucial to our daily lives. They are fundamental to current and future phone networks (5G/6G), enablers for the digitalisation of industry and the Internet of Things, and essential for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), automotive radar sensors and autonomous driving. All of which is driving massive demand for data bandwidth and a shift to new wireless frequencies. Known as “mmWave” (millimetre-wave) bands, these frequencies of 100 GHz and above can support large bandwidths and high data rates. mmWave requires new methods, algorithms, and tools, for designing, simulating, and testing the 100+ GHz technologies implemented in semiconductors, antennas, and systems. This is the challenge InnoStar is addressing. Its outcomes will reinforce European leadership in mmWave technologies and lead to economic and social opportunities in vast global 5G/6G infrastructure, automotive radar markets, and beyond.
Innovations that will translate into commercial solutions
InnoStar combines expertise and collaboration to develop new methods, algorithms, and tools for design, simulation, and testing. These innovations will be later used as commercial tools by designers and manufacturers to create enhanced mmWave systems in a sustainable technology ecosystem. In particular, the project will develop new, missing EDA building blocks, designs, characterisation methods, and co-integration activities to overcome critical challenges posed by high frequencies beyond 5G/6G telecom and radar mmWave applications.
InnoStar will target new types of antennas, IC modules, and systems required to enable mass coverage and overcome propagation loss and mmWave power generation limitations at 100+ GHz.
The project’s outcomes will include two mmWave hardware system demonstrations centered on 6G communication and car-radar sensing performance metrics.
The demonstrations will target energy efficiency, reliability, robustness, security, and higher technology readiness levels (TRL).
Overall, the project aims to deliver simulation and design tools that will improve performance prediction by an estimated 20-30%, reduce the component area by 10-20% and reduce power dissipation by up to 60%. For the demonstrators, it targets a 50% reduction in power consumption per antenna array and a doubling of the efficiency of the simulation and testing processes compared to those delivered by today’s state-of-the-art devices and tools.
Collaboration across the value chain
The breadth of expertise is key to the InnoStar project. Its partners cover the entire technology and business high-frequency mmWave value chain, including global industry leaders, specialised small to medium enterprises (SMEs), and research institutes and academia with knowledge of communication technologies, semiconductors, antennas, and EDA. Each will contribute to its area of expertise from tools, design, and layout to manufacturing, packaging, integration and testing.
Vast market opportunities and social impact
The demand for mmWave technology is embedded in global markets for electronics components and applications with submarkets in semiconductor IP, antennas, and EDA tools. The project’s ultimate target market is the global electronic market currently worth USD 4.5 trillion with double-digit growth in automotive, industrial, medical, consumer, artificial intelligence, B2B, B2C, and other applications.
InnoStar will first focus on telecommunications and automotive. Its semiconductor methodology, processes, packaging, and antenna technology will allow project partners to capture valuable market share in wireless communications and automotive verticals – both of which are predicted to grow strongly. For instance, the global 5G/6G infrastructure market is anticipated to grow from around USD 2.5 billion in 2020 with a CAGR of 60% to nearly USD 50 billion in 2027. In automotive semiconductor products5, European companies are world leaders and the market for automotive semiconductors is expected to grow with a CAGR of 18% in automotive semiconductors to around USD 130 billion in 2026.
In an increasingly digital world, these applications will bring many social and environmental benefits and economic growth. For instance, 5G/6G enabled IoT devices will help reduce accidents and vehicle emissions through improved traffic management. And universal access to mobile communication will be pivotal to improving the delivery of services within smart cities, transportation accessibility (autonomous vehicles, mobility-as-a-service), traffic flow, surveillance, and safety. Going even further, the technologies developed within InnoStar will be transferable into many new applications of benefit to people everywhere in health, education, commerce, banking and community building.
Read the full Project Profile here.
 A. Pärssinen et al., “White paper on RF enabling 6G—Opportunities and challenges from technology to spectrum,” 6G Res. Visions, no. 13, Apr. 2021, [Online]. Available: urn.fi/urn:isbn:9789526228419
 “Estimated growth rates for the global electronics industry from 2019 to 2021,” Statista, 2021. [Online]. Available: www.statista.com/statistics/268396/estimated-growth-rates-for-the-electronics-industry-by-region/ (accessed May 18, 2021).
 “Telecom services market size, share & trends analysis report and segment forecasts, 2020–2027,” Grand View Research, San Francisco, CA, Rep. GVR-4-68038-518-2, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/global-telecom-services-market (accessed May 18, 2021).