Additive Circuits Technologies, LLC (ACT) is pleased to announce the conclusion of a corporate reorganization and the incorporation of assets acquired from EarthOne Circuit Technologies (ECT) and technology advancements for Autonomous Vehicles.
ACT is now supporting the former customer of ECT, and expanding production capacity in both the US and the EU. Additive Circuit Technologies will continue supporting products under the brand name and trademark of eSurface®, in addition to products and services under Additive Circuits Technologies.
Additive Circuits Technologies primary business is manufacture and support engineering of high-durability, fine-featured printed circuit boards (PCBs) and radio frequency (RF) features for Aerospace, Military, and Autonomous Transportation sectors. Headquartered in Los Angeles CA, USA, the company supports work worldwide. The company’s business development is focused on critical needs in Autonomous Vehicles.
To support this effort, ACT is releasing the attached White Paper examining a series of technology advancements for RF features. These advances are improving range and signal fidelity for the Autonomous Vehicles the white paper summarizing the advancements and the impact on this sector.
Stephen Spoonamore, President and CEO of Additive Circuits Technologies said: “Additive Circuit’s technical ability to build extremely high-tolerance RF features allows Autonomous Cars and Trucks using our RF products to extend range and fidelity despite complex and noisy interference, constant vibration damage, salt, and even minor accidents.”
The following topics are covered in the white paper:
• ACT’s RF technology on ultra-smooth substrates allowing finer RF features designs;
• Testing documenting fine line features allowing lower power usage at long range;
• Low noise generation for RF at range in production process;
• RF built on smoother substrates creating smoother transmission surfaces;
• Future development of substrates to be built into edge coupled filters.
Technical and Performance Implications using Fine-Line, Fine-Feature RF for Autonomous V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) Communications
Transportation systems are focussed on Autonomy. This White Paper examines the values, features and performance impacts using additive fine-line, fine-feature RF on range, performance and safety in autonomous vehicles navigating known infrastructures.
The US Department of Transportation conducted an analysis of crash data taken from 2004 to 2008 and concluded that a fully implemented V2X system could address as much as 81 percent of unimpaired multi-vehicle crashes. This would be 4.5 million per year in the US, and 2.9 million per year in the EU. As autonomous vehicles replace human-driven vehicles this will translate to thousands of lives saved per year and enormous reductions in hospitalizations while releasing drivers from billions of hours spent “concentrating” on driving, allowing all people within a vehicle to become passengers.
To support this, there is an emerging need for long-range, reliable and durable Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communications. This paper examines Additive Circuits Technologies (ACT) and related fine-line, fine-feature embedded passive radio frequency (RF) devices to meet this need and provide the reader insights into maximum value and safety of emerging connected and autonomous vehicles. This paper envisions how current fine-line technology can meet robust, environmentally tolerant RF devices with passive ranges exceeding 3 km, and how near-term developments will reach visual horizon passive RF at ~15 km.
THE ADDITIVE CIRCUITS TECHNOLOGIES EDGE
Additive Circuits Technologies, LLC (additivecircuits.com) has developed proprietary technology specific to durable fine-line, fine-feature RF. The authors are actively involved in work projects in this area. The paper frequently refers to the eSurface process of ACT when speaking about specific products having been tested or manufactured. When addressing the industry in general “fine-line and/or fine-feature” is the term used.
Part of the nature of this work is ACT’s focus on building fine-line, fine-feature metalized circuits on novel, durable and extremely smooth substrates. This capacity allows for finer feature definitions, finer feature depth control and substantial improvements in the passive (Infrastructure) side of the V2I RF exchange. “Smoothness” of features improves range, signal integrity and identity-pickup against complex RF background/noise common in transportation environments.
Traditional RF manufacture uses a printed circuit board (PCB) etching process. The RF feature is imaged onto a copper clad laminate. Chemical etching removes the unwanted copper, leaving the remaining RF feature. This technique when well managed produces passive RF features with tolerances +/-4% in line width and +/- 7% in line weight. However, within significantly dense, variable and noisy RF environments, these features are generally unreliable at ranges >0.5km. Further, these RF features PROPAGATE noise based on line weight error that further degrades the environment.
For passive RF technology to meet 3km+ capacity, there are well-established formulas for signal propagation, noise propagation, and signal loss. The V2I industry in order to meet minimum safety and performance demands needs a minimum line-weight and line-width tolerances at or below 2.5%. (For an excellent summary of RF tolerances, formulas and references, review this presentation by Rick Hartley of L3)
Using Additive Circuits Technologies unique semi-additive process rather than conventional copper processes for line formation and spacing, we can today consistently meet 2.5-3% tolerances just allowing tools to work at a 2-3km range. We reasonably believe our process can be refined and controlled to meet 1% tolerances. This would, per formula, allow for 5-7 km range passive V2I RF with miniscule noise generation, and allow systems to function even in noisy, signal dense, urban environments.
The ACT semi-additive process allows the following improvements for RF features:
• Ability to image RF on ultra-smooth substrates allows finer features designs;
• Cleaner, smoother, lower loss fine features allowing lower power usage for any set range;
• Very low noise generation from “off” features/artifacts of the production process;
• RF feature built on smoother substrates create smoother finished surface structures;
• The fine line technology can be built into edge coupled filters.
The ACT design features have been run by Raytheon in simulations and meet or exceed 5x bandwidth improvement against noise at specified frequencies vs conventionally produced RF features.
Performance of the Two Filters Comparison - to see chart please view the pdf at our website under Press
This improvement in bandwidth identification vs. noise will improve the ability of the Intelligent Transportation Systems and Vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) to function within noisy, urban, RF transportation environments.
There are numerous studies and discussions about how to safely implement V2I into the US transportation system. These discussions all seek to address 1 - acceptable minimum RANGE for V2I RF to function and 2 - acceptable NOISE for V2I RF to penetrate and discriminate against. While there is not yet a set agreement or standard on what is the correct Range and acceptable Noise tolerance, however, both should be improved by line-weight and space-tolerance improvements.
To read the paper in it's entirety go to our website under PRESS.