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Automatic opening of the boot

Radar-based kick sensor for cars

In our day-to-day lives, doors that open automatically have been commonplace for a long time. InnoSenT offers various radar solutions for the Industry business unit to enable doors and gates to be controlled. This experience has significantly contributed to developing a new sensor for the automotive sector: the kick sensor.

Boot, open sesame! The radar system allows the boot to open automatically through a foot movement. This approach solves a real everyday problem: when we load our shopping into the car, we usually have neither hand free. In order to open the trunk or door of the vehicle, we have no choice but to set down the load on the ground.

The radar solution from InnoSenT spares car owners this extra step. A sensor placed in the rear responds to a foot movement when the car key is in the immediate proximity. A little kick below the rear and the boot opens automatically. This simplifies loading your shopping or luggage.

At a glance
The radar-based kick sensor from InnoSenT enables contactless opening of the boot via a foot movement.
easy mechanical installation and integration:
- no additional space required for electronics
- no complicated system calibration required
- can be attached behind the bumper or directly to the chassis
- compact dimensions and low weight
- no adaptations required for different vehicle models or paint coats
  • 24 GHz CW radar sensor
  • gesture control: detection and classification of foot movement
  • movement detection: simultaneous recording of direction of movement and speed
  • application-optimised detection area
  • functional detection in a range of > ± 300 mm
  • single-device solution: combination of ECU + sensor
The special feature: the reliable classification of gestures.

First, the sensor evaluates the reflected signals. Every moving object in the detection area reflects many individual, specific radar signals. Depending on the object’s properties and the change over time of the measuring signal (object movement). These form a pattern based on the characteristics of the data collected.

Intelligent algorithms then further process this information: The kick sensor detects the pattern and classifies it based on defined features. This means that the system categorises the different foot movements. This classification is required in order to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant movements.

The integrated assessment electronics can even record the high information content of individual movements and gestures. This means that the user does not need to follow precisely specified, complex patterns of movement. This minimises the error rate and grants users more freedom. With the kick-sensor, highly advanced technology for gesture control is finding its way into vehicles.

Radar technology – meets a broad array of expectations.

Radar is already in use in many different automotive applications. The technology particularly shines through its great reliability. Because radar works independently of weather or lighting conditions. Dirt, noise, or extreme temperatures do not restrict its performance. The electromagnetic waves penetrate plastics and can be positioned unobtrusively behind the covers of cars’ bodies. The sensors also impress with high precision and comprehensive measurement data.

Over many years, all these advantages have contributed to establishing radar sensors successfully as a technology for driver assistance systems.

The Functionality

How does the kick sensor work? Radar enables objects to be recorded using electromagnetic waves. For this purpose, the antenna emits signals and receives those which bounce back again. Using such information, it is possible to detect objects and track their movement. If a kick or sideways movement is performed below the rear apron, the sensor analyses the reflected signal. This is very specific, because every recorded movement as all as the object’s physical characteristics are unique.

Based on this information, the radar system categorises the gesture according to defined criteria. If the movement corresponds to the sought pattern, the sensor transmits a signal to a control unit to open the boot. The control unit then checks whether the car key is near the rear of the vehicle. This additional security prevents the boot from being opened inadvertently.

This technology enables the boot to be opened reliably and systematically in situations when the user has no hand free.

The kick-sensor makes our day-to-day lives smart, safe, & convenient. A clever, innovative solution for opening or closing the boot lid.

The future

Radar is the future: due to its practicability, the kick sensor is replacing capacitive technologies.

In simple applications, such as automatic door opening, such high-resolution 77 GHz systems are too expensive. Currently, the industry primarily uses capacitive technologies. But car manufacturers are dissatisfied: they are complicated to install and require additional space for electrodes. They have to adapt the products for each vehicle make and model.

InnoSenT aimed to develop a new, cost-efficient radar sensor to resolve this problem.

The radar experts have developed a 24 GHz sensor at a price in line with the market and which impresses the automotive industry thanks to its easy integration. They have even managed to tackle challenges such as energy consumption. The antenna configuration of the kick sensor is optimised to make it triggerable across as much of the vehicle rear as possible.