Controls and controllers
[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
NASA’s hybrid computer enables Raven’s autonomous docking capability
March 22, 2017
A hybrid computing system developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the enabling technology behind an ambitious experiment testing a relative navigation and autonomous docking capability known as Raven.
Developed by the Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD) the carry-on luggage-sized module was launched 19 February aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, along with other experiments deployed outside the International Space Station on an experiment pallet. Raven is testing and maturing visible, infrared and LiDAR sensors and machine-vision algorithms; the module will bring NASA one step closer to realizing a groundbreaking autopilot capability that can be applied to many NASA missions for decades to come.
Elektrobit adds four new software modules to EB robinos framework for developing automated driving systems
March 21, 2017
Elektrobit (EB), a leading developer of embedded and connected technology solutions for the automotive industry, introduced four new modules for its EB robinos product line: EB robinos Grid Fusion, EB robinos Path Planning, EB robinos Positioning and EB robinos Safety Management. These modules enable automakers and automotive suppliers to add functionalities for Highly Automated Driving (HAD) applications including automated parking, highway driving and lane keeping.
Announced in 2016, EB robinos is a hardware-agnostic framework that enables carmakers and automotive suppliers to develop and bring to market increasingly automated driving features and manage the complexity of advanced in-car systems. It defines an application-layer architecture for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) up to SAE level 5 automated driving.
Silicon Mobility introduces new software library and app for optimizing EV, HEV efficiency, battery range and charging speed
March 13, 2017
France-based Silicon Mobility, a provider of semiconductor control solutions for electric motors, battery and energy management systems of hybrid and electric vehicles, introduced a software library (OLEA LIB) and an application (OLEA APP) optimized for its OLEA chips to increase the energy efficiency, the battery range and the charging speed for hybrid and electric vehicles.
OLEA is Silicon Mobility’s family of standard products for automotive applications. OLEA embeds Silicon Mobility’s technologies: AMEC, hardware flexible interface for real-time data processing and deterministic control of actuators and sensors and SILant, functional safety acceleration unit for detecting, containing, correcting and protecting against system faults.
Intel to acquire Mobileye for $15.3 billion; targeting autonomous driving
Intel Corporation announced a definitive agreement under which Intel would acquire Mobileye, a global leader in the development of computer vision and machine learning, data analysis, localization and mapping for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. A subsidiary of Intel will commence a tender offer to acquire all of the issued and outstanding ordinary shares of Mobileye for $63.54 per share in cash, representing an equity value of approximately $15.3 billion and an enterprise value of $14.7 billion.
The combination is expected to accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles.
Eaton introduces eVaptive electronic fuel tank venting system; reduced cost, complexity
March 02, 2017
Power management company Eaton introduced its new eVaptive electronically controlled fuel tank vapor venting system that can be optimized for any vehicle platform, eliminating the need for automakers to design unique venting systems for different vehicles.
The eVaptive system uses software to control the transmission of fuel vapors to a charcoal canister while keeping liquid fuel confined to the fuel tank. For any given fuel tank application, the system can be optimized for all driving situations as well as stationary and refueling modes. The hardware is a “one-size-fits-all” unit that can be programmed to fit any vehicle platform.
Volkswagen names Infineon first partner under TRANSFORM 2025+ strategy
March 01, 2017
Germany-based semiconductor supplier Infineon is Volkswagen’s first partner under its TRANSFORM 2025+ strategy (earlier post). Under the new partnership, Volkswagen will further intensify its direct dialogue with Infineon in order to define the requirements for future semiconductor solutions and thus pursue new joint development approaches.
A modern automobile is equipped with as many as 100 networked electronic control units (ECUs) and thousands of electronic components. Powerful ECUs ensure outstanding driving comfort and safety. They operate and regulate everything from the air conditioning system to the interior and exterior lighting systems, the adaptive cruise control radar and a whole range of driver assistance systems. Thus, a significant part of all vehicle innovations is based on electronic systems.
Honda forming new R&D operation for “new value” areas: robotics, mobility systems and energy management
February 28, 2017
Honda R&D Co., Ltd., the R&D subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., plans to create “R&D Center X,” a new research and development operation within the company, which will assume responsibility for “new value” areas that include robotics technology, mobility system and energy management, etc. The official establishment of R&D Center X will take place in April.
Honda has decided that evolving digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and “big data” offer potential for value creation in a wider range of fields beyond its current field of businesses. To address this opportunity, Honda R&D Center X will take a “non-traditional” approach to assume responsibility for the research and development in “new value” areas.
ARPA-E awards SwRI-led team up to $2.9M for connected and automated vehicle technology; NEXTCAR program
February 14, 2017
A team led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been awarded up to $2.9 million in funding to develop connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies aimed at improving fuel economy by more than 20%. The project is part of ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.)s
The three-year project, “Model Predictive Control for Energy-Efficient Maneuvering of Connected and Automated Vehicles,” calls for the team to develop optimal control algorithms that leverage vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and other vehicle-to- everything (V2X) technologies to simultaneously optimize the vehicle’s route, speed profile, and power flows from the hybrid system.
OpenSynergy developing automotive safety hypervisor for ARM Cortex-R52
January 28, 2017
OpenSynergy, a developer of embedded automotive software for in-car cockpit solutions, is developing the industry’s first software hypervisor for the ARM Cortex-R52 processor, ARM’s most advanced real-time safety processor. The hypervisor turns any chip based on the Cortex-R52 into several virtual machines capable of simultaneously executing separate software tasks.
The hypervisor technology enables several real-time operating systems and AUTOSAR systems at different ASIL levels to run in parallel on the Cortex-R52.
NTU and NXP Semiconductors launch Singapore’s first Smart Mobility consortium; testing V2X on NTU campus
January 19, 2017
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and NXP Semiconductors have launched Singapore’s first Smart Mobility Consortium to focus on testing and developing smart mobility technologies. The technologies will be tested on the NTU campus, which serves as a living test bed, bringing together 12 industry partners to form the NTU-NXP Smart Mobility Consortium.
The 12 companies bring together their different expertise from the V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communications innovation ecosystem, such as wireless communication design, data analytics and network security. The industry partners include Panasonic, software multinational Red Hat, automotive system manufacturers Schaeffler and Denso, as well as ST Kinetics, the land systems and speciality vehicles arm of ST Engineering.
UCR team’s new evolutionary-algorithm-based EMS for PHEVs can deliver >30% fuel savings than conventional controls
January 11, 2017
Engineers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have developed a new online energy management system (EMS) based on an evolutionary algorithm for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) that they say can improve PHEV fuel efficiency by more than 30%. A paper describing the research was recently accepted for publication in the journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.
PHEVs, which combine an internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor and a large rechargeable battery, offer advantages over conventional hybrids because they can be charged using grid electricity, which reduces their need for fuel. However, improving the efficiency of current PHEVs is limited by shortfalls in their energy management systems (EMS), which control the power split between engine and battery when they switch from all-electric mode to hybrid mode.
Next-gen Audi A8 to feature MIB2+, series debut of zFAS domain controller, Mobileye image recognition with deep learning; Traffic Jam Pilot
January 05, 2017
Audi’s next-generation A8, premiering this year, will feature the first implementation of the MIB2+ (Modular Infotainment Platform). The key element in this new implementation of the MIB is NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 processor (earlier post), which makes new functions possible and has the computing power needed to support several high-resolution displays—including the second-generation Audi virtual cockpit. Onboard and online information will merge, making the car part of the cloud to a greater degree than ever.
The A8 also marks the series debut of the the central driver assistance controller (zFAS), which also features the K1; in the future, the X1 processor (earlier post) will be applied in this domain controller. The zFAS, developed in collaboration with TTTech, Mobileye, NVIDIA and Delphi, also integrates a Mobileye image processing chip. (Earlier post.)
Renesas Electronics and TTTech deliver highly automated driving platform
Renesas Electronics and TTTech Computertechnik AG, a global leader in robust networking and safety controls, have developed a highly automated driving platform (HADP). The new HADP is a prototype electronic control unit (ECU) for mass production vehicles with integrated software and tools, which demonstrates how to use Renesas and TTTech technologies combined in a true automotive environment for autonomous driving. The HADP accelerates the path to mass production for Tier 1s and OEMs.
The newly released HADP is the first outcome of the collaboration between TTTech and Renesas announced in January 2016 (earlier post), and is an extended version of the HAD solution kit released in October 2016. It is based on dual R-Car H3 system-on-chips (SoCs) (earlier post) and the RH850/P1H-C microcontroller (MCU).
Audi & NVIDIA partner to deliver fully automated driving with AI starting in 2020; piloted Q7 w/ neural network CES demo
Audi announced a partnership with NVIDIA to use artificial intelligence in delivering highly automated vehicles starting in 2020. Deep learning technology will enable skilled handling of real-road complexities, delivering safer automated vehicles earlier. The first phase of this expanded collaboration between the nearly decade-long partners focuses on NVIDIA DRIVE PX, which uses trained AI neural networks to understand the surrounding environment, and to determine a safe path forward. (Earlier post.)
Audi and NVIDIA have combined their engineering and visual computing technologies in the past on Audi innovations such as Audi MMI navigation and the Audi virtual cockpit. Later this year Audi will introduce the next-generation Audi A8 featuring Traffic Jam Pilot—the world’s first Level 3 automated vehicle (as defined by SAE International) equipped with a first-generation central driver assistance domain controller (zFAS) that integrates NVIDIA computing hardware and software. (Earlier post.)
BMW, Intel, Mobileye: 40 autonomous BMWs to be on road by 2H 2017; standards-based open platform for autonomy
BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye announced that a fleet of approximately 40 autonomous BMW vehicles will be on the roads by the second half of 2017, demonstrating the significant advancements made by the three companies towards fully autonomous driving. Revealing this at a podium discussion held during a joint press conference at CES, the companies further explained that the BMW 7 Series will employ advanced Intel and Mobileye technologies during global trials starting in the US and Europe.
In July 2016, BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye announced a collaboration to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021. The three said they would create a standards-based open platform—from door locks to the datacenter—for the next generation of cars. (Earlier post.) The companies have since developed a scalable architecture that can be adopted by other automotive developers and carmakers to pursue state of the art designs and create differentiated brands. The offerings scale from individual key integrated modules to a complete end-to-end solution providing a wide range of differentiated consumer experiences.
Panasonic Automotive and IBM partner to develop cognitive vehicle infotainment system with Watson
January 04, 2017
At CES 2017, Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America introduced the Panasonic Cognitive Infotainment platform designed to provide OEMs and fleet providers a set of cognitive vehicle solutions combining Panasonic’s infotainment expertise with IBM’s Watson and cloud technologies.
The platform leverages Watson cognitive capabilities, including deep natural language processing and understanding, to answer questions and provide recommendations as well as directions while en route. The platform also introduces e-commerce capabilities for convenient in-vehicle purchases to make the most of a driver's time, as well as possible future cognitive driving solutions that monitor the vehicle condition for safer driving.
Qualcomm introducing Drive Data platform for sensor fusion
Qualcomm is introducing the Qualcomm Drive Data Platform to collect and analyze intelligently information from a vehicle’s sensors. Cars will be able to determine their location up to lane-level accuracy, to monitor and to learn driving patterns, to perceive their surroundings, and to share this reliable and accurate data with the rest of the world.
These capabilities will be key for many connected car applications, from shared mobility and fleet management to 3D high-definition mapping and automated driving. Qualcomm Drive Data platform is built on three pillars: heterogeneous connectivity; precise positioning; and on-device machine learning, all integrated into the Qualcomm Snapdragon solution.
Qualcomm Automotive Solutions to power next-gen infotainment for Volkswagen vehicles; Snapdragon 820A Processor, Snapdragon X12 & X5 LTE modems
At CES 2017, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, announced the integration of Qualcomm Technologies chipsets in the next-generation of Volkswagen AG vehicles. These chipsets include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820A processor (earlier post) for advanced infotainment systems, as well as the Snapdragon X12 and X5 LTE modems, for connected car and telematics systems.
Volkswagen AG vehicles featuring the Snapdragon 820A processor are expected to be available in 2019, while vehicles utilizing Snapdragon X12 and X5 LTE modems are expected to be available in 2018.
Ford and Toyota establish SmartDeviceLink Consortium to accelerate industry-driven standard for in-vehicle apps
Ford Motor Company and Toyota Motor Company are forming SmartDeviceLink Consortium (SDL), a nonprofit organization working to manage an open-source software platform with the goal of giving consumers more choice in how they connect and control their smartphone apps on the road.
Mazda Motor Corporation, PSA Group, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) and Suzuki Motor Corporation are the first automaker members of the consortium. Elektrobit, Luxoft, and Xevo join as the first supplier members. Harman and QNX have signed Letters of Intent to join.
Visteon awarded second SmartCore domain controller program with a European automaker; debuting on global vehicle platform in 2020
January 03, 2017
Visteon Corporation, a leading cockpit electronics supplier, has secured a second major customer vehicle program for its cockpit domain controller technology, SmartCore. (Earlier post.) Visteon is the only supplier offering an automotive-grade, integrated domain controller approach that can independently operate the infotainment system, instrument cluster and potentially other features on one System on Chip (SoC).
Visteon is scheduled to launch the first SmartCore-based solution in 2018, for a European vehicle manufacturer. This second SmartCore business win, also with a European automaker, offers instrument cluster and infotainment features and expands the platform to high-end applications with industry-first 3-D display and augmented reality head-up display capabilities.
FCA and Google collaborate on a Uconnect system concept powered by Android OS
January 02, 2017
FCA is collaborating with Google on next-generation connected car systems enabled by the power of an open platform and the ecosystem of the Android open-source operating system. At CES 2017 this week, FCA and Google will demonstrate a seamless integration of the Uconnect 8.4-inch connected vehicle system with Android inside a Chrysler 300 sedan.
CES attendees will be able to get one-on-one demonstrations of the Uconnect system powered by the latest version of Android, 7.0 Nougat, which includes core infotainment features such as radio and comfort controls. (This is quite different than Android Auto, which basically uses an Android smartphone to broadcast the Android interface onto the supporting car’s touchscreen.)
Lucid Motors chooses Mobileye as partner for autonomous vehicle technology
December 30, 2016
Luxury EV developer Lucid Motors and Mobileye N.V. announced a collaboration to enable autonomous driving capability on Lucid vehicles. Lucid will launch its first car, the Lucid Air (earlier post), with a complete sensor set for autonomous driving from day one, including camera, radar and lidar sensors.
Lucid chose Mobileye to provide the primary compute platform, full 8-camera surround view processing, sensor fusion software, Road Experience Management (REM) crowd-based localization capability, and reinforcement learning algorithms for Driving Policy. These technologies will enable a full Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) suite at launch, and then enable a logical and safe transition to autonomous driving functionality through over-the-air software updates.
Automotive Grade Linux releases latest version of open infotainment platform
December 28, 2016
Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) has released the latest version of its infotainment platform. Developed through a joint effort by dozens of member companies, the AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) 3.0 is an open-source infotainment platform positioned as a de facto industry standard.
The goal of the UCB infotainment platform is to provide 70-80% of the starting point for a production project. This enables automakers and suppliers to focus their resources on customizing the other 20-30% to meet their unique product needs. As part of UCB 3.0, AGL is also releasing a software development kit (SDK) that enables rapid application development on the AGL platform. The AGL UCB 3.0 is suited for deploying navigation, communications, safety, security and connectivity. It includes several key features:
Ford introducing next-gen Fusion Hybrid autonomous development vehicle at CES and NAIAS in January
Ford Motor Company is introducing its next-generation Fusion Hybrid autonomous development vehicle; the car will first appear at CES 2017 and the North American International Auto Show in January. The new vehicle uses the current Ford autonomous vehicle platform, but ups the processing power with new computer hardware.
Electrical controls are closer to production-ready, and adjustments to the sensor technology, including placement, allow the car to better see what’s around it. New LiDAR sensors have a sleeker design and more targeted field of vision, which enables the car to now use just two sensors rather than four, while still getting just as much data.
U of Waterloo Autonomoose autonomous vehicle on the road in Canada
December 23, 2016
Researchers from the University of Waterloo Center for Automotive Research (WatCAR) in Canada are modifying a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid to autonomous drive-by-wire operation. The research platform, dubbed “Autonomoose” is equipped with a full suite of radar, sonar, lidar, inertial and vision sensors; NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI platform (earlier post) to run a complete autonomous driving system, integrating sensor fusion, path planning, and motion control software; and a custom autonomy software stack being developed at Waterloo as part of the research.
Recently, the Autonomoose autonomously drove a crew of Ontario Ministry of Transportation officials to the podium of a launch event to introduce the first car approved to hit the roads under the province’s automated vehicle pilot program.
Visteon’s Silicon Valley Technical Center to lead development of AI for autonomous vehicles
December 13, 2016
Visteon Corporation’s new technical center in Silicon Valley will lead the company’s development of artificial intelligence for autonomous vehicles. Visteon’s autonomous vehicle program will apply machine learning technology for accurately detecting and classifying objects in a vehicle’s path and planning the vehicle’s movements, resulting in fully trained driving control systems.
The recently opened facility in Santa Clara, California, will work closely with global Visteon tech centers to develop excellence in artificial intelligence software, advanced driver awareness systems (ADAS) and deep machine learning. These efforts will support Visteon’s approach to autonomous driving, which encompasses three key elements:
Hyundai Motor accelerating development of its connected car operating system
December 09, 2016
Hyundai Motor is accelerating development of its advanced ccOS (connected car Operating System), the core platform technology for its future connected cars. The software will optimize the high-speed transmission and reception of data within the vehicle to support increasingly complex features that will lead the connected car market.
Hyundai outlined the development of ccOS in November, and has established an Infotainment Software Development Team in its Namyang Research and Development Center dedicated solely to developing ccOS technologies. In November, Hyundai said that ccOS would incorporate open source software including an open In-vehicle Infotainment (IVI) platform of the GENIVI Alliance.
Delphi & Mobileye to showcase Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) autonomous driving system in public demo at CES 2017
November 30, 2016
Delphi Automotive PLC and Mobileye will showcase their Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) automated driving system—which will be ready for production by 2019—on a 6.3-mile urban and highway combined public route in Las Vegas for CES 2017. (Earlier post.)
The partners said that CSLP is the first turnkey, fully integrated automated driving solution with an industry-leading perception system and computing platform. (Intel will provide the system-on-a-chip (SOC) for the systems.) The Las Vegas drive will tackle everyday driving challenges such as highway merges, congested city streets with pedestrians and cyclists and a tunnel.
Hyliion developing hybrid system for semi-trailers
November 27, 2016
Hyliion, a start-up founded by a group of graduate students at Carnegie Mellon, has developed an add-on hybrid system for semi-trailers. Combining regenerative braking and power boost for the trailer to reduce on-the-road fuel consumption, the system also functions as an auxiliary power unit to reduce engine-on idling. Their patent application describing the basics of the system was published earlier this month,
The Hyliion System—comprising motor, battery and control electronics—can power a truck cab for 20 hours, out-performing an industry standard, idle-free all-electric APU. Overall fuel savings are upwards of 30%, according the company.
Volkswagen’s 10-year evolution of Park Assist; heading toward trained parking and higher levels of autonomy
November 26, 2016
Volkswagen first introduced a parking assistance system based on ultrasonic sensors in the early 1990s. However, it was the “Park Assist” Gen 1 system presented in the Touran in 2007 that marked a foundational point in the commercial development of the technology. After it was activated, Park Assist was able to detect parallel parking spaces on the left and right sides of the road as the car passed them using special, side-oriented ultrasonic sensors, enabling semi-automatic parking for the first time.
Volkswagen engineers have continued to enhance the functionality, leading to the release of Gen 3 Park Assist in 2014, with a clear roadmap to the deployment of higher levels of autonomy, including trained parking: fully automated parking with a one-off training process. At a recent visit to Volkswagen’s Ehra proving ground (Prüfgelände Ehra), Green Car Congress had the opportunity to see a prototype of trained parking in action.
nuTonomy to test its self-driving cars on specific public roads in Boston
November 21, 2016
nuTonomy, developer of software for self-driving cars, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation that authorizes nuTonomy to begin testing its growing fleet of self-driving cars on specific public streets in a designated area of Boston.
nuTonomy will begin testing its self-driving Renault Zoe electric vehicle before the end of the year in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in the Seaport section of the city. nuTonomy outfits its vehicles with a software system which has been integrated with high-performance sensing and computing components to enable safe operation without a driver. The company’s autonomous and robotics technology system grew out of research conducted in MIT labs run by nuTonomy co-founders Karl Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzoli.
Hyundai introduces new autonomous IONIQ concept at AutoMobility LA
November 16, 2016
Hyundai Motor Company introduced the Autonomous IONIQ concept during its press conference at AutoMobility LA (Los Angeles Auto Show). With a design resembling the rest of the IONIQ lineup (earlier post), the vehicle is one of the few self-driving cars in development to have a LiDAR system hidden in its front bumper instead of installed on the roof, enabling it to look like any other car on the road and not a high school science project.
Hyundai’s goal for the autonomous IONIQ concept was to keep the self-driving systems as simple as possible. This was accomplished by using the production car’s Smart Cruise Control’s forward-facing radar, Lane Keep Assist cameras and integrated them with LiDAR technology.
Intel to invest more than $250M over next two years in autonomous driving; “Data is the new oil”
November 15, 2016
In a keynote address at the AutoMobility LA conference, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced that Intel Capital is targeting more than $250 million of additional new investments over the next two years to make fully autonomous driving a reality. This is the first time Intel is keynoting at an automotive conference, signifying how critical the automotive market has become for the company.
These investments will drive the development of technologies that push the boundaries on next-generation connectivity, communication, context awareness, deep learning, security, safety and more. Drilling down into the areas that will be fueled by the fresh investments, Krzanich highlighted technologies that will drive global Internet of Things (IoT) innovation in transportation; areas where technology can directly mitigate risks while improving safety, mobility, and efficiency at a reduced cost; and companies that harness the value of the data to improve reliability of automated driving systems.
Rolls-Royce and VTT Technical Research Centre partner to develop remote and autonomous ships
November 14, 2016
Rolls-Royce and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd have formed a strategic partnership to design, to test and to validate the first generation of remote and autonomous ships. The new partnership will combine and integrate the two companies’ unique expertise to make such vessels a commercial reality. (Earlier post.)
Rolls-Royce is pioneering the development of remote-controlled and autonomous ships and believes a remote-controlled ship will be in commercial use by the end of the decade. The company is applying technology, skills and experience from across its businesses to this development.
Renesas Electronics delivers 2nd-gen ADAS view solution kit for surround view, electronic mirrors and driver monitoring for autonomous driving
November 08, 2016
Renesas Electronics Corporation has introduced a new all-in-one Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) view solution kit. Expanding the success of the first-generation ADAS surround view kit that was launched in October 2015, Renesas’ second-generation ADAS view solution kit with up to eight cameras realizes next-generation electronic mirrors, driver monitoring and surround view systems at the same time.
It has become a standard in autonomous driving and ADAS applications to enable sensor fusion combining and processing the collected information from automotive cameras and radars for vehicles to recognize their surroundings. 360-degree surround view is expected to become an essential feature available in all vehicle segments. Additionally, mirrors will be replaced by cameras, and driver monitoring features will be required for autonomous driving and to increase safety.
NXP and DAF Trucks commit to set new benchmark in truck platooning: 30x faster than human reaction time
NXP Semiconductors N.V. and DAF Trucks announced plans to empower truck platoons to react 30 times faster than humans in 2017, enabling a reduced distance between platooning trucks. Achieving this goal would mark a significant milestone in the introduction of platooning to fleet operators who expect considerable efficiency and safety gains while maintaining a maximum level of data security.
In Munich, NXP and its partners are showcasing the progress of secure intelligent transport systems in advance of this year’s electronica show. The demonstrations include platooning live on Munich roads, traffic signal and vehicle synchronization, and technology that protects vulnerable road users based on secure vehicle-to-everything technology (V2X). Platooning promises to increase fuel efficiency up to 10%, improve road safety and reduce exhaust emissions.
Toshiba advances deep learning with extremely low-power neuromorphic processor; supporting IoT edge devices
November 07, 2016
Toshiba has developed what it calls Time Domain Neural Network (TDNN)—a neural network using a time-domain analog and digital mixed signal processing technique—based on a new, extremely low-power consumption neuromorphic semiconductor circuit to perform processing for Deep Learning. (The acronym TDNN (time-delay neural network) is also used broadly to describe feed-forward neural networks, first described in a 1989 paper (Waibel et al.).
Deep learning—as could be applied, for example, in autonomous driving—requires massive numbers of calculations, typically executed on high performance processors that consume a lot of power. However, bringing the power of deep learning to IoT edge devices such as sensors and smart phones requires highly energy-efficient ICs that can perform the large number of required operations while consuming extremely little energy.
Infineon introduces new switch family supporting trend towards decentralized intelligent vehicle power net
November 04, 2016
Infineon Technologies AG is supporting the trend towards decentralized, intelligent and cost-effective vehicle power net architectures. Infineon now launched Power PROFET, a new ultra-low ohmic smart high-side switch family. These protected switches offer the lowest on-resistance and the highest energy capability on the market. They enable the replacement of electromechanical relays and fuses in power distribution and junction boxes up to 40A DC.
At the system level, Power PROFET switches enable a more accurate system sizing. Also, they simplify significantly the wire harness architecture by reducing the lengths of many wires or removing them completely.
BlackBerry signs agreement with Ford for expanded use of BlackBerry’s QNX and security software
November 02, 2016
BlackBerry Limited has signed an agreement with Ford Motor Company for expanded use of BlackBerry’s QNX and security software. The deal signifies an acceleration in BlackBerry’s pivot from hardware to software in support of the automaker’s goal of providing connected vehicles and mobility to its customers.
As part of this agreement, BlackBerry will dedicate a team to work with Ford on expanding the use of BlackBerry’s QNX Neutrino Operating System, Certicom security technology, QNX hypervisor and QNX audio processing software. The terms of the deal are confidential.
Qualcomm to acquire NXP for ~$38B; semiconductor engine for connected world
October 27, 2016
Qualcomm Incorporated will acquire NXP Semiconductors with an equity offer worth some $38 billion; including debt, the deal is worth roughly $47 billion. The boards of directors of both companies unanimously approved the definitive agreement.
NXP is a leader in high-performance, mixed-signal semiconductor electronics, with innovative products and solutions and leadership positions in automotive, broad-based microcontrollers, secure identification, network processing and RF power. As a leading semiconductor solutions supplier to the automotive industry, NXP also has leading positions in automotive infotainment, networking and safety systems, with solutions designed into 14 of the top 15 infotainment customers in 2016. NXP has a broad customer base, serving more than 25,000 customers through its direct sales channel and global network of distribution channel partners.
Intel introducing new processor series dedicated for automotive applications
October 26, 2016
Intel is developing a new processor series dedicated for automotive applications. The A3900 series will enable a complete software-defined cockpit solution that incudes in-vehicle infotainment (IVI), digital instrument clusters and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS)—all in a single, compact and cost-effective SoC.
Intel announced the new automotive processor family along with its introduction of the new Intel Atom processor E3900 series for the Internet of Things (IoT). The A3900 series will allow car makers to offer new levels of determinism for real-time decision-making required in next-generation cars. It is currently sampling with customers and will be available in Q1 2017.
Infineon launches next gen AURIX hexa-core microcontroller for automotive applications; 3x more performance than current
October 24, 2016
Infineon Technologies AG launched the next generation of its AURIX microcontroller family. The TC3xx microcontrollers offer the highest level of integration on the market and real-time performance that is three times higher than that available today.
With a high-performing hexa-core architecture and advanced features for connectivity, security and embedded safety, the AURIX family TC3xx is suited for a wide field of automotive applications. In addition to engine management and transmission control, powertrain applications include new systems in electrical and hybrid drives. Specifically hybrid domain control, inverter control, battery management, and DC-DC converters will benefit from the new architecture.
Tesla putting hardware for full autonomy in all models; temporary loss of some Gen1 Autopilot functions
October 20, 2016
Tesla announced that effective immediately, new Tesla vehicles—including Model 3—will have the hardware needed to support full autonomous driving.
The required software for full autonomous driving is still under development and will need validation and regulatory approval. In fact, Teslas with the new hardware will temporarily lack certain features currently available on Teslas with first-generation Autopilot hardware, including some standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control.
Infineon and Argus demonstrate cyber security solution for connected and automated cars; central gateway protection
October 19, 2016
At the VDI Kongress in Baden-Baden this week, Infineon Technologies AG and cyber security company Argus will demonstrate an integrated cyber security solution for connected and autonomous vehicles. The system is based on an Infineon AURIX multicore microcontroller with the Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS) and remote cloud platform from Argus. At the heart of a vehicle’s central gateway, the cyber security solution protects the vehicle’s internal network from remote cyber-attacks.
The central gateway is crucial in the automotive security architecture. It interconnects all electronic control units (ECU) of in-vehicle domains, such as those used in the powertrain, driver assistance, chassis, as well as body and convenience control. The central gateway routes and controls the complete data communication between the ECUs. In addition, it is the central access point for software updates over the air (SOTA) and for diagnostics processes and maintenance updates via the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port.
Renesas Electronics delivers highly automated driving solution kit to accelerate development of autonomous vehicles
Renesas Electronics Corporation announced a highly automated driving (HAD) solution kit that delivers high computing performance targeted at automotive functional safety to reduce development time of electronic control units (ECUs).
The HAD solution kit is based on two Renesas R-Car H3 Starter Kit Premier and the automotive control RH850/P1H-C microcontroller (MCU), and is compliant with both ISO 26262 ASIL-B functionality safety standard and ISO 26262 ASIL-D standard. Each ASIL (Automotive Safety Integrity Level) stipulates requirements under the ISO 26262 functional safety standard and safety measures for avoiding unacceptable residual risk. There are four safety levels, A to D, with ASIL-D being the strictest.
NASA to test in-flight folding spanwise adaptive wing (SAW) to enhance aircraft efficiency; advanced actuators
October 18, 2016
NASA is developing and validating a system that will allow part of an aircraft’s wing to fold in flight to increase efficiency through wing adaptation.
Engineers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, Langley Research Center in Virginia, and Glenn Research Center in Ohio, are working on the Spanwise Adaptive Wing concept, or SAW. The concept would permit the outboard portions of the wings to move to the optimal position during operation. This could increase efficiency by reducing drag and increasing lift and performance.
DENSO & Toshiba partner on Deep Neural Network-IP for image recognition systems for ADAS & automated driving
October 17, 2016
DENSO Corporation and Toshiba Corporation have reached a basic agreement jointly to develop an artificial intelligence technology called Deep Neural Network-Intellectual Property (DNN-IP), which will be used in image recognition systems which have been independently developed by the two companies to help achieve advanced driver assistance and automated driving technologies.
The partners expect DNN, an algorithm modeled after the neural networks of the human brain, to perform recognition processing as accurately as, or even better, the human brain.
Autonomous vehicle tech company Nauto enters strategic relationships with 3 automakers, including BMW and Toyota, and Allianz
October 08, 2016
Autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto has entered into strategic agreements with three major auto companies, including BMW i Ventures and Toyota Research Institute, as well as with Allianz Ventures, part of the leading global financial service provider and insurance company Allianz Group.
These companies have invested in Nauto and are working with the company on autonomous vehicle development using the Nauto cloud-based data learning platform. Nauto’s deep-learning technology also runs on retrofit devices that can be mounted in any vehicle.
DENSO invests in deep learning and vision processing startup THINCI; vision processing and deep learning for automotive
October 06, 2016
DENSO International America, Inc. has entered into an investment agreement with THINCI Inc., a deep-learning, vision processing startup developing innovative machine learning technology that enables the application of deep learning and vision processing in the automotive industry.
With this investment, DENSO is looking to accelerate the final development and integration of THINCI’s silicon and software technology into electronic systems that help enable driver assistance and autonomous driving, improve the efficiency of thermal systems, and optimize the productivity of the vehicle’s powertrain.
OmniVision introduces OV491 and OV495 companion chips for automotive image processing applications
September 19, 2016
OmniVision Technologies, Inc., a developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, is introducing the OV491 and OV495, two new companion chips that deliver performance and advanced features in combination with OmniVision’s portfolio of automotive RAW image sensors.
The OV491 is a compact image signal processor (ISP) companion chip specified to enable best-in-class image quality in surround view system architectures. The OV495 contains the same ISP features but is also equipped with electronic distortion and perspective correction, making it suited for rear video mirror and camera monitor system (CMS) applications. The OV491 and OV495 are both compatible with OmniVision’s OV2775, OV10650, and OV10640 automotive image sensors.
Silicon Mobility introduces OLEA T222 for hybrid and electric powertrain control
France-based semiconductor fabless company Silicon Mobility has introduced OLEA T222, its new solution dedicated for hybrid and electric powertrain control. OLEA T222 is a new member of the OLEA family, the first automotive microcontrollers with embedded, robust and secured programmable logic.
Silicon Mobility says that OLEA T222’s flexibility, hard-real time parallel processing and safe architecture makes it suited to control all flavors of hybridization—micro-, mild- or full-, including Integrated Belt Starter Generator (i-BSG); Crankshaft Motor driven Generator (CMG); Gearbox Motor driven Generator (GMG); in-wheel Motor or in-axle Motor; DC/DC converter; as well as full electric powertrains.
Cypress sampling new Traveo MCU solutions for secure, high-speed networking for automotive body electronics
Cypress Semiconductor Corp. is sampling new devices in its single-power-supply Traveo automotive microcontroller (MCU) family that provide secure, high-speed networking for body electronics applications.
The new S6J342xxx series supports the Controller Area Network Flexible Data-rate (CAN FD) standard for high-speed, in-vehicle networking, enabling large amounts of data to be exchanged between each CAN node. The MCUs address the critical need to secure data on in-vehicle networks with enhanced Secure Hardware Extension (eSHE) support, preventing unauthorized connections to electronic control units (ECUs).
Renesas to acquire Intersil for ~$3.2B; looking to lead in automotive, industrial, IoT system solutions
September 14, 2016
Renesas Electronics Corporation, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, and Intersil Corporation, a leading provider of innovative power management and precision analog solutions, signed a definitive agreement for Renesas to acquire Intersil for US$22.50 per share in cash, representing an aggregate equity value of approximately US$3.2 billion. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Closing of the transaction is expected in the first half of 2017, following approval by Intersil shareholders and the relevant governmental authorities.
Together, Renesas’ and Intersil’s deep expertise across a number of technologies and end markets will enable the combined company to become a complete solution provider of embedded systems to customers. By combining Renesas’ market-proven microcontroller (MCU) and system-on-chip (SoC) products and technologies and Intersil’s leading power management and precision analog capability, Renesas will be well positioned to address some of the most exciting opportunities in key areas such as automotive, industrial, cloud computing, healthcare, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
NVIDIA unveils single-processor configuration of DRIVE PX 2 for AutoCruise functions; Baidu deploying
September 13, 2016
NVIDIA unveiled a single-processor configuration of the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI computing platform (earlier post) that automakers can use to power automated and autonomous vehicles for driving and mapping.
The new computing platform for AutoCruise functions—which include highway automated driving and HD mapping—consumes just 10 watts of power and enables vehicles to use deep neural networks to process data from multiple cameras and sensors. It will be deployed by China’s Baidu as the in-vehicle car computer for its self-driving cloud-to-car system.
Tesla leans on radar for Autopilot in Version 8 software
September 12, 2016
With the release of Version 8 of its software, Tesla has made many updates to its Autopilot function. The most significant change however, is its new heavy reliance on the onboard radar. The radar was added to all Tesla vehicles in October 2014 as part of the Autopilot hardware suite, but originally was only meant to be a supplementary sensor to the primary camera and image processing system.
Now, however, Tesla is using more advanced signal processing to use the radar as a primary control sensor without requiring the camera to confirm visual image recognition. The changes come in the wake of the fatal crash (earlier post) in which Autopilot apparently did not detect the white side of the trailer against a brightly lit sky; nor did the driver. As a result, no brake was applied. In the aftermath of that incident, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company was “Working on using existing Tesla radar by itself (decoupled from camera) w temporal smoothing to create a coarse point cloud, like lidar”. (Earlier post.)
DENSO looks to increase holding in FUJITSU TEN, making it a group company
September 10, 2016
Auto parts supplier DENSO Corporation, Fujitsu Limited, and Toyota Motor Corporation have reached a basic agreement to start consideration of changing the capital structure of automotive electronics manufacturer FUJITSU TEN, in which the three companies have stakes. DENSO is part of the Toyota Group.
In the automotive field, the interface between the driver and vehicle is becoming increasingly important due to remarkable technological innovations. Against this backdrop, DENSO has agreed with Fujitsu and Toyota to review specific changes to make FUJITSU TEN a group company of DENSO and to enhance cooperation between the two companies in developing in-vehicle ECUs, millimeter-wave radar (earlier post), advanced driver assistance / automated driving technologies, and basic electronic technologies, among others.
NSF awards $4.6M to improve human control of automated cars, drones
September 08, 2016
NSF has awarded (Award Nº 1545126) $4.6 million to a team led by UC Berkeley exploring human cyber-physical systems (h-CPS)—systems that operate in concert with human operators—with the aim of improving the interaction between humans, computers and the physical world. The research outcome of the project, called Verified Human Interfaces, Control, and Learning for Semi-Autonomous Systems, or VeHICaL, will have applications in emerging technologies such as semi-autonomous cars and autonomous aerial vehicles (drones).
The award was part of a total of $13 million NSF awarded to three five-year “Frontier” projects to advance cyber-physical systems (CPS). The other two projects are tackling monitoring and mitigating noise pollution in cities and quickly identifying and overcoming problems in manufacturing environments.
Volvo Cars and Autoliv to create joint venture for next-gen autonomous driving software
September 06, 2016
Volvo Cars and Autoliv have signed a letter of intent to set up a new jointly-owned company to develop next-generation autonomous driving software. The planned new company will have its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, and an initial workforce taken from both companies of around 200, increasing to over 600 in the medium term. The company is expected to start operations in the beginning of 2017.
The new company, which has yet to be named, will develop advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous drive (AD) systems for use in Volvo cars and for sale exclusively by Autoliv to all car makers globally, with revenues shared by both companies.
Renesas Electronics and TSMC announce 28nm MCU collaboration for next-generation green and autonomous vehicles
September 02, 2016
Renesas Electronics Corporation and TSMC are collaborating on 28nm (nanometer) embedded flash (eFlash) process technology for manufacturing microcontrollers (MCUs) targeted at next-generation green and autonomous vehicles. The automotive MCUs employing this new 28nm process technology are slated for sample shipment and mass production in 2017 and 2020, respectively.
More specifically, Renesas’ reliable and fast Metal-Oxide-Nitride-Oxide-Silicon (MONOS) eFlash technology will combine with TSMC’s high-performance, low-power 28nm high-K metal gate process technology to produce automotive MCUs for a broader range of applications such as autonomous vehicle sensor control; coordinated control among electronic control units (ECUs); fuel-efficient engine control for green vehicles; and highly efficient motor inverter control for electric vehicles.
Baidu and NVIDIA team up on cloud-to-car platform for self-driving cars; HD maps, Level 3 control, automated parking
September 01, 2016
At the Baidu World Conference in Beijing, Baidu CEO Robin Li together with NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced a partnership to use artificial intelligence (AI) in the creation of a cloud-to-car autonomous car platform for local Chinese and global car makers.
NVIDIA and Baidu have a long history of working together on AI. The latest addition to their partnership will combine Baidu’s cloud platform and mapping technology with NVIDIA’s self-driving computing platform to develop solutions for HD maps, Level 3 autonomous vehicle control and automated parking.
ORNL team presents solution for coordinating connected and automated vehicles at merging roadways; reduced fuel consumption and travel time
August 29, 2016
A team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed an optimization framework and an analytical closed-form solution that addresses the problem of optimally coordinating connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) at merging roadways to achieve smooth traffic flow without stop-and-go driving.
They validated the effectiveness of the efficiency of their proposed solution through a simulation, showing that coordination of vehicles can significantly reduce both fuel consumption and travel time. A paper on the work is published in IEEE Transactions On Intelligent Transportation Systems.
NVIDIA dives into Parker mobile processor for next generation of autonomous vehicles
August 23, 2016
Speaking at the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino, California, NVIDIA revealed the architecture and underlying technology of its new Parker processor, which is suited for automotive applications such as self-driving cars and digital cockpits. Hot Chips, a symposium on high performance chips, is sponsored by the IEEE Technical Committee on Microprocessors and Microcomputers in cooperation with ACM SIGARCH.
NVIDIA mentioned Parker at CES 2016 earlier this year, when it introduced the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 platform (earlier post). That platform uses two Parker processors and two Pascal architecture-based GPUs to power deep learning applications.
Mobileye and Delphi to partner on SAE Level 4/5 automated driving solution for 2019
Mobileye and Delphi Automotive PLC are partnering to develop a complete SAE Level 4/5 automated driving solution. The program will result in an end-to-end production-intent fully automated vehicle solution, with the level of performance and functional safety required for rapid integration into diverse vehicle platforms for a range of customers worldwide.
The partners’ “Central Sensing Localization and Planning” (CSLP) platform will be demonstrated in combined urban and highway driving at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and production ready for 2019.
ABI Research: highly automated driving to spark adoption of centralized advanced driver assistance systems
August 17, 2016
As vehicles become highly independent and begin to drive and react to traffic on their own, autonomous systems will aggregate and process data from a variety of on-board sensors and connected infrastructure. This will force the industry to hit a hard reset on advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) architectures, currently dominated by distributed processing and smart sensors.
Automotive OEMs will need to adopt new platforms based on powerful, centralized processors and high-speed low latency networking (e.g., Audi zFAS, earlier post). ABI Research forecasts 13 million vehicles with centralized ADAS platforms will ship in 2025.
KBA approves Volkswagen’s fix for 1.2-liter EA189 TDI diesel engine
August 14, 2016
Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has approved the technical emissions-control solution—a software update—for vehicles with the 1.2-liter EA189 TDI diesel engine. The KBA approval applies to 460,000 vehicles of affected Group brands, including the Volkswagen Polo and SEAT Ibiza models.
The software update can now be promptly carried out on the first vehicles of the second affected engine-size category. The owners of these models are being successively informed and can then make an early appointment with an authorised workshop to have the update done.
Toyota Research Institute invests $22M in research on AI, robotics and autonomous driving at University of Michigan
August 10, 2016
Toyota Research Institute (TRI) (earlier post) is making a $22-million investment in research focused on artificial intelligence, robotics and autonomous driving at the University of Michigan (U-M). TRI- CEO Gill Pratt made the announcement in an address to the U-M faculty.
Under the agreement, TRI will provide an initial $22 million over four years for research collaborations with the U-M faculty in the areas of enhanced driving safety, partner robotics and indoor mobility, autonomous driving and student learning and diversity.
Panasonic acquires German software company OpenSynergy; virtualization for integrated cockpit solutions
August 09, 2016
Panasonic Corporation has acquired all the outstanding shares of the German software company OpenSynergy GmbH, making it a subsidiary. OpenSynergy specializes in embedded automotive software for cockpit solutions; it products enable the convergence of instrument clusters, head units, advanced driver assistance systems, and car connectivity systems.
A current cockpit system is controlled by different systems: one handles multimedia functions such as navigation and audio; another for driver support functions such as warning signals on head-up display. To integrate such different functions going forward, and to provide a better and intuitively easier driving support, system integration needs to be achieved from the operating system level, Panasonic said.
Fujitsu develops technology to enable high-speed deep learning
Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has developed software technology that uses multiple GPUs to enable high-speed deep learning powered by the application of supercomputer software parallelization technology. This newly developed technology was implemented in the Caffe deep learning framework, where, in a test measuring learning time using AlexNet on 64 GPU-equipped computers, it achieved a learning speed that is 27 times faster than a single GPU.
Compared with before this technology was applied, it achieved learning speed improvements of 46% for 16 GPUs and 71% for 64 GPUs (according to internal comparisons). Using this technology, the time required for deep learning R&D can be shortened, such as in the development of unique neural network models for the autonomous control of robots, automobiles, and so forth, or for healthcare and finance, such as with pathology classification or stock price forecasting, enabling the development of higher-quality models.
Oxbotica launches Selenium mobile autonomy software
July 23, 2016
Oxbotica, a spin-out from Oxford University’s Mobile Robotics Group, launched its new Selenium mobile autonomy software solution with a purpose-built concept vehicle named Geni.
Selenium can work in pedestrianized environments as well as roads and motorways, and is not reliant on GPS to operate—i.e., it can easily transition between indoor and outdoor settings, over ground or underground. The system has been developed to be “vehicle agnostic”—it can be applied to cars, self-driving pods (e.g. for campuses and airports), and warehouse truck fleets.
TTTech using VectorCAST platform for development of Audi zFAS to ISO 26262 ASIL-D compliance; domain controller for piloted driving
July 15, 2016
TTTech Computertechnik AG (TTTech) has selected Vector Software’s VectorCAST software test automation platform for use within TTTech’s development of Audi’s zFAS (zentrales Fahrerassistenzsteuergerät)—the domain controller for Audi piloted driving systems. (Earlier post.) VectorCAST provides TTTech with the tools necessary to ensure ISO 26262 compliance up to ASIL D level on all microcontrollers used in zFAS.
Under the guidance of Audi AG, TTTech developed the zFAS electronic control unit (ECU) that integrates various functionalities of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The ECU uses numerous technology components from TTTech for various automotive assistance functions, such as piloted parking or autonomous driving.
Avoiding Obstacles Safely at High Speed: An Optimal Control Approach for Driving Heavy Autonomous Ground Vehicles Close to their Dynamic Limits
June 22, 2016
by Paul N. Blumberg, PhD
No one who follows automotive news and technology trends can be unaware of the intense research and experimentation taking place related to vehicles that drive themselves, i.e., “Autonomous Vehicles.” Among other potential benefits, these vehicles offer the promise of increased safety on the nation’s roadways and personal mobility to those who are not able or do not wish to drive themselves.
The Society of Automotive Engineers has already developed Standard J3016 which describes six different levels of “driving automation” increasing from Level 0 - No Automation, to Level 5 - Full Automation. At Level 0, a human driver performs all driving tasks, even if assisted by warning or other momentary intervention systems. At Level 5, a system comprising sensors, actuators and control algorithms performs all driving tasks such as steering, braking, acceleration and monitoring the vehicle and roadway under all modes of driving. At Level 5, a human driver is no longer necessary.
NVIDIA deep learning software platform gets trio of big updates
June 20, 2016
NVIDIA announced three major updates for its deep learning software platform. NVIDIA DIGITS 4 introduces a new object detection workflow, enabling data scientists to train deep neural networks to find faces, pedestrians, traffic signs, vehicles and other objects in a sea of images. This workflow enables advanced deep learning solutions—such as tracking objects from satellite imagery, security and surveillance, advanced driver assistance systems and medical diagnostic screening.
When training a deep neural network, researchers must repeatedly tune various parameters to get high accuracy out of a trained model. DIGITS 4 can automatically train neural networks across a range of tuning parameters, significantly reducing the time required to arrive at the most accurate solution.
UQM partners with Eaton, Pi Innovo on full MD, HD electric drivetrain system; 2-speed transmission
June 16, 2016
UQM Technologies has begun a development and production program with Eaton’s Vehicle Group and Pi Innovo. The alliance calls for Eaton to develop and supply to UQM a 2-speed transmission for an EV application; Pi Innovo will develop and supply to UQM the transmission control unit. Together, the components will be combined with UQM’s current PowerPhase HD220/HD250 motor and inverter system to create a full electric drivetrain system called the “UQM PowerPhaseDT.”
The system will allow customers in the medium- and heavy-duty EV commercial markets to achieve increased performance in areas of gradability, acceleration and efficiency. UQM will have prototypes ready for customers by early fall and start-of-production units ready by early 2017.
BMW Group introduces MINI and Rolls Royce centenary concepts; individual mobility based on megatrends and projections
To mark its centenary year in 2016, the BMW Group is looking further ahead than usual with a series of Vision Vehicles designed to anticipate and respond to future mobility needs. At its Munich Centenary Event on 7 March, the automaker introduced the BMW VISION NEXT 100. (Earlier post.)
BMW now has introduced two more Vision concepts: the MINI VISION NEXT 100 and the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. A fourth Vision Vehicle, by BMW Motorrad, will make its premiere on 16 October in Los Angeles, completing the BMW Group’s brand quartet of far-forward looking concepts.
TI introduces two new motor drivers for high-performance powertrain apps; support for start-stop
Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced two new auotmotive motor drivers that support high-performance powertrain applications. The DRV8305-Q1, a highly integrated three-phase brushless DC gate driver, and the UCC27211A-Q1, a high-current half-bridge gate driver, improve system performance and provide design flexibility to meet a diverse range of automotive system requirements.
For powertrain applications such as transmission pumps or engine cooling fans, the DRV8305-Q1 features a smart gate-drive architecture with programmable slew-rate control that allows easy optimization of MOSFET electromagnetic compliance (EMC). With an operating ambient temperature range of -40 to 150°C, the DRV8305-Q1 meets the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC)-Q100 Grade 0 automotive temperature specification. The device also operates down to 4.4 V to support start-stop functionality. Other features and benefits include the following:
Daimler Trucks pushing forward with platform strategy for chassis and electrics/electronics
June 08, 2016
Daimler Trucks is systematically expanding its strategic pillars of intelligent platforms and modules beyond the existing modular drivetrain components. The platforms for drivetrain components for medium- and heavy-duty engines and for automated transmissions are already successful in the market, and account for about 50% of a truck’s value added.
Daimler Trucks is now introducing multi-brand platforms for other truck module groups, including uniform electrics/electronics architecture (E/E), chassis and cab. Joint development and purchasing will be carried out wherever there is no impact on customer perception and brand differentiation.
A novel method for energy efficient warmup of lithium-ion batteries from sub-zero temperatures using predictive control
June 06, 2016
by Paul N. Blumberg, PhD
Many of the machines and appliances that are in common use today require that their power be available immediately, regardless of adverse ambient conditions such as sub-zero temperatures. For example, on a 0 °F day, we expect to be able to start our cars or trucks, which may have cooled down to near ambient conditions, and proceed to use them in the same manner as if we were in more moderate climates. To accomplish this, engineers and scientists have worked hard to ensure that in extremely cold temperature environments, the engine oil does not become too viscous and that there are sufficient high volatility components in the fuel so that vaporization and ignition within the engine are possible on an almost instantaneous basis.
The same requirement holds true for battery-powered devices or vehicles. The Lithium-ion battery has emerged as the current “battery of choice” for automotive hybrid and electric vehicle applications. Over the last decade, significant improvements in its energy and power density have been made through research in all aspects of its fundamental electrochemistry and materials. Nevertheless, due to fundamental electrochemical factors, the availability of “instantaneous” power at temperatures below approximately 15 ˚F remains a challenge.
New Georgia Tech MPPI technique controls autonomous vehicles at edge of handling limits
May 24, 2016
Researchers from Georgia Tech’s Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering (AE) and the School of Interactive Computing (IC) have developed a new control technique for autonomous vehicles that can help keep a driverless vehicle under control as it maneuvers at the edge of its handling limits.
The Georgia Tech method—model predictive path integral control (MPPI) using covariance variable importance sampling—was developed specifically to address the non-linear dynamics involved in controlling a vehicle near its friction limits. The approach could help make self-driving cars of the future safer under hazardous road conditions. A paper covering this research was presented at the recent International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Stockholm, 16-21 May.
Audi A7 piloted driving concept “Jack” now driving more naturally
May 13, 2016
Audi’s latest version of its piloted driving research car, the Audi A7 concept “Jack,” has not only learned how to autonomously perform all of its driving maneuvers on the expressway, it has also learned how to show consideration for other road users. Jack exhibits a driving style that is adaptive to the given situation, safe and especially interactive, Audi says.
“Jack”—the internal nickname for the Audi A7 piloted driving concept technology platform now passes trucks with a slightly wider lateral gap. It also signals upcoming lane changes by activating the turn signal and moving closer to the lane marking first—just as human drivers would do to indicate their intentions.
Toyota R&D continues work on free piston linear generators for EVs; novel resonant pendulum control method
May 06, 2016
In 2014, a team at Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc. published two SAE papers on their work in developing a prototype 10 kW Free Piston Engine Linear Generator (FPEG) for B/C segment electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) The FPEG consists of a two-stroke combustion system, a linear generator, and a gas spring chamber; the unit offers potential for compact build, high efficiency and high fuel flexibility.
Now, the Toyota researchers report on a new FPEG control method to realize stable and flexible piston motion control for efficient electric power generation. They presented their work in a paper at the recent 2016 SAE World Congress.
Ford invests $182.2 million in cloud-based software development company Pivotal
May 05, 2016
Ford is investing $182.2 million in Pivotal, a cloud-based software platform company with which it already has partnered (earlier post) on FordPass (earlier post), to further enhance its software development capabilities. The investment was part of Pivotal’s $253-million Series C financing round; the round was led by new investor Ford, in conjunction with Microsoft and all previous investors GE, EMC and VMware. The deal is expected to close in May 2016, subject to customary conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approval.
Ford intends for the $182.2-million investment in Pivotal to help drive Ford’s transition to both an auto and a mobility company.
SwRI to showcase Ranger precision localization technology for automated driving; non-GPS system with 2cm precision
April 27, 2016
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) will showcase its award-winning Ranger precision localization solution at the AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2016 conference and trade show in New Orleans 2-5 May.
Ranger is a patented approach to vehicle localization that enables precise navigation for automated vehicles using commercially available hardware in combination with SwRI algorithms. The latest Ranger kit can be used for automated driving, valet parking in garages and structures, freight distribution, and docking of buses and large trucks.
AVnu Alliance members showcase the first multivendor interoperability demonstration of the AVnu AVB Automotive Profile
April 20, 2016
Members of AVnu Alliance, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking (earlier post), publicly demonstrated interoperability of systems designed to meet the AVnu Automotive Profile at the Automotive Ethernet Congress held in Munich, Germany earlier this year.
The demo featured products and solutions from several AVnu Alliance members: Ixia, a provider of network testing, visibility, and security solutions; Marvell Technology Group, a provider of complete silicon solutions; and NXP Semiconductors, a provider of secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications.
Self-driving mining truck stable at 90 km/h; clothoid-based model predictive control
April 15, 2016
A prototype self-driving truck under development by Scania and Swedish research universities has tested successfully at speeds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph). According to the research lead at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the successful tests are aimed at implementing self-driving Scania trucks in mining operations within a year or two.
KTH, Scania, Linköping University, Saab and Autoliv and collaborating in a government-funded project called iQMatic, which is aimed at to develop a fully self-driving truck for difficult environments such as mines. With much greater mass and built-in inertia than passenger cars, such trucks present a greater challenge for autonomous driving.
ARPA-E issues $30M NEXTCAR program funding opportunity; 20% reduction in energy consumption beyond current regulatory requirements
April 12, 2016
The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a $30-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001564) for the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.)
NEXTCAR seeks to fund the development of new and emerging vehicle dynamic and powertrain (VD&PT) control technologies that can reduce the energy consumption of future vehicles—light-, medium- and heavy-duty—through the use of connectivity and vehicle automation. The new program is seeking transformative technological solutions that will enable at least an additional 20% reduction in the energy consumption of future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), compared to vehicles without these VD&PT control technologies. I.e., the NEXTCAR improvements are in addition to and beyond any currently expected future vehicle fleet fuel efficiency improvements that will be required or driven by Federal or State regulations.
EB software and Mapscape digital maps support WEpods autonomous electric shuttles
April 06, 2016
Elektrobit (EB), a leading developer of embedded technology solutions for the automotive industry, and Netherlands-based digital map provider Mapscape, are contributing to WEpods—completely autonomous electric shuttle buses that will use public roads.
EB and Mapscape together provide an enhanced electronic horizon solution for assisting in motion prediction and path planning of the autonomous shuttle bus. Mapscape provides an NDS (Navigation Data Standard) map database with comprehensive road geometry data that provides more detailed information for objects and pinpoint locations than standard map information.
Saarbrücken engineers developing networked self-analyzing electric motors
March 23, 2016
Engineers from Saarland University are developing intelligent motor systems that function without the need for additional sensors. By essentially transforming the motor itself into a sensor, the team led by Professor Matthias Nienhaus is creating smart motors that can tell whether they are still running smoothly, can communicate and interact with other motors and can be efficiently controlled.
By using data collected from the motor while it is operating, the researchers are able to calculate quantities that in other systems would need to be measured by additional sensors. Further, they are teaching the drive how to make use of this knowledge.