Application NoteUltrasonic Parking Sensors for Automated Parking

  • PDF

As we move towards making autonomous vehicles a reality and widely available, many technologies like sensors and communication systems continue to evolve. One important technology is the Ultrasonic Parking Assist, which helps with automated driving and parking. In Europe, ultrasonic parking sensors have been in use for a while, even before autonomous vehicles were a popular topic. At TDK, we have been supplying ultrasonic sensor disks for these ultrasonic parking sensors for many years. This article will explain more about these ultrasonic sensor disks.

Ultrasonic Parking Assistant

The Autonomous Driving society is coming to the reality in order to reduce the number of casualties caused by traffic accidents and improve the level of convenience of mobility services. Plans call for automated driving vehicles and vehicles with ADAS functions to be equipped with cameras, millimeter wave radar, LiDAR, telematics control units (TCU), and other new units. In Europe, where most parking is on roads or parallel parking on narrow private roads, ultrasonic parking assist has long been in use, even before the proliferation installation of ADAS functions. Ultrasonic sensors emit ultrasonic waves, and a receiver detects waves reflected from obstacles to confirm the presence of objects and measure to distance to obstacles. In the past, systems issued warnings to drivers so that vehicles could avoid colliding with obstacles such as walls and other vehicles, but now, adoption and use in automated parking systems that control the steering is increasing. Ultrasonic parking assist will continue to play a vital role in automated driving and automated parking functions.

Figure 1. Ultrasonic Parking Assist Block Diagram (excerpted from application guides)

Ultrasonic Sensor Disks

Ultrasonic parking assist systems require a Ultrasonic Sensor Disks that detects and measures the distance to an obstacle. A piezo device generates electricity from mechanical force according to the force between electrodes. In contrast, if voltage is applied between the electrodes, the device will undergo a mechanical change depending on the amount of voltage applied. The amount of electricity generated is used to detect whether an object is present and to measure the distance to the object. TDK brand piezo products are used in ultrasonic parking assist systems, but have also been used for many years in the automotive sector for injector piezoelectric devices. This means that TDK products have high-precision sensing performance and long-term reliability under harsh automotive environments, enabling custom designs according to customer requests.

Overview of the Ultrasonic Sensor Disk

  • Long term experience in automotive park assist systems
  • Production certified to automotive standards IATF 16949
  • Accurate sensing
  • Stable performance over lifetime
  • Contactless sensing
  • Customized dimensions upon request
  • Wrap around metallization

Figure 2. Features and Lineup of Ultrasonic Sensor Disks Products
Table 1. Overview of the Ultrasonic Sensor Disk
Thickness in mm 0.195~1.02
Diameter in mm 5~7
Frequency in kHz 285~2000
Wrap around metallization: Possible Possible
Table 2. Lineup of the Ultrasonic Sensor Disk
Orderingcode B59050Z0206A030 B59070Z0285D120
Diameter / mm 5 7
Thickness / mm 1.02 0.195
Serial Resonance Frequency
(Typ.) / kHz
2000 285
Capacitance(Typ.) / pF 300 2000
Operating Temp. Range / °C -40 to 160 -40 to 160

Transformers for Use with Ultrasonic Parking Assist

The component that supplies the stable voltage to the Ultrasonic Sensor Disks described above is an ultrasonic parking assist transformer. TDK transformers have a long track record of use in automotive applications. Since they are manufactured on advanced, automated production lines, they are highly robust. In addition, we have established reference designs with TI and Elmos, makers of ICs for driving piezo components. TDK has products suitable for different configurations, inductance, and frequency bands, as shown in Table 4.

Overview of the Automotive Transformers for Use with Ultrasonic Parking Assist

Figure 3. Ultrasonic Parking Assist Transformer
Table 3. Automotive Transformers for Use with Ultrasonic Parking Assist
Transformer size EP6
Core material Ferrite
Terminals SMD, 5 U-shape
Max size / mm L:8.8 x W:7.6 x H:7.1

Features of the Automotive Transformers for Use with Ultrasonic Parking Assist

  • Resistance to reflow soldering heat in accordance with JEDEC J-STD-020D with 245 °C for 10 s
  • Narrow inductance tolerance
  • Low inductance drift over temperature
  • High peak voltage
  • Excellent shielding against EMC impact due to closed magnetic field and metal cap

Table 4. Lineup of Mass Production Automotive Transformers for Use with Ultrasonic Parking Assist
Orderingcode B78416A2232A003 B78416A2360A003 B78416A2386A003 B78416A2430A003 B78416A2433A003
Core shape EP6 EP6 EP6 EP6 EP6
Core material Ferrite Ferrite Ferrite Ferrite Ferrite
Inductance 3mH 3mH 0.23mH 4.2mH 5mH
Inductance tolerance ±10% ±10% ±8% ±6% ±10%
Turn ratio 1 : 1 : 8.42 1 : 1 : 8.42 1 : 1 : 9 1 : 1 : 15 1 : 1 : 10.1
Operating frequency 52kHz 52kHz 300kHz 50kHz 50kHz
Operating temperature range -40 ~ +85°C -40 ~ +85°C -40 ~ +85°C -40 ~ +85°C -40 ~ +85°C
Shielding - With connection to pin 6 - - -
Qualification AEC-Q200 AEC-Q200 AEC-Q200 AEC-Q200 AEC-Q200


To achieve a society with widespread, safe and comfortable automated driving, automobiles will be equipped with new sensors including cameras as well as wireless communication functions. In addition to new sensors, the functions of ultrasonic parking assist, which has been in use for some time, will change even as they continue to be used. TDK has long supplied components for ultrasonic parking assist and will continue its efforts to contribute to a modern, mobile and connected society while further refining its advanced technologies. Please take a look at the Product Center for detailed product data and for consultations regarding individual product specifications.