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Reporting period: 2020-10-01 to 2022-03-31

Autonomous driving and self-driving cars represent one prominent example for the use of microelectronics and sensors, most importantly RADAR and LiDAR sensors. Their respective markets have a big potential, e.g. it is estimated that the market size of LiDAR in automotive will double itself in the next two years (within 2020 to 2022). The public awareness and the industrial need for further miniaturization of such sensor packages is the main driver of ongoing efforts in the automotive sector to be able to integrate such devices into the car body like in the bumpers, grilles and exterior lamps (headlights & rear lamps) instead of attaching them (e.g. on top of the car in case of LiDAR device). Safety (for the driver and others) is the most important key aspect of the automotive sector. Therefore, highly-value and high-performance RADAR and LiDAR systems are required for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) as well as autonomous cars. Current bottlenecks are relevantly large size of such sensor devices, their weight and power consumption. Since these factors are highly limited within cars, further miniaturization and improving functionality and efficient use of resources is highly demanded.

The project TINKER targets the development of a new reliable, accurate, functional, cost-affordable and resource-efficient pathway for RADAR and LiDAR sensor package fabrication, following 2 main objectives:
Establishing the TINKER platform based on Additive Manufacturing {AM} and
Fabrication of RADAR and LiDAR sensor packages as use cases.

TINKER’s approaches to nanoimprint lithography, as disruptive and flexible manufacturing techniques in micro-part assembling is in alliance with the overall scope of the call “Transforming European Industry”. The proposed TINKER pilot represents a high degree of flexibility and reliability due to its modular character.
TINKER aims to develop new reliable, accurate, functioanl, cost and reosurce effeciant pathway for RADAR and LIDAR sensor pacakge fabrication. As the project passed its midterm duration, the consoritum achieved several results on its way. Prototype equipment for pick and place and nanoimprint lithography was setup, as well as first set of new inks and resins for additive manufacturing. This includes high refrective index materials as well as conductive and dielectric inks to be used to establish sensor packages for automotive applications and further push the trend in autonomous driving. Alogn that, sensor packages will further be miniaturized and will use given space more efficiently.
In the next period until project end, TINKER will further tackle its main objectives in completing the setup for the pilot line as well as enable it to produce prototypes and demonstrators of the RADAR and LIDAR sensors packages with low rejection rates and higher degree of automation and miniaturization.
According to the work program, TINKER addresses the expected impacts, such as decrease of production time, measurable increase of automation level, higher or similar precision level and reduction in rejection rates during the production process. The main purposes of this project is to widen the range of available miniaturization and microelectronic fabrication possibilities including the novel approaches in assembly processes directly in production steps.

The project includes top EU innovation performers – 10 the most excellent industrial companies, 3 research specialists, 1 consultancy and a service association from 8 European countries, all cooperating together under the roof of TINKER as major players in the field of microelectronic manufacturing and processing and industrial fields applying or interested in applying AM for their needs and defending the European pole position in miniaturization, also by gaining new know-how and skills for involved SMEs and R&D companies.