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.]
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.
Toyota and Lexus making automated braking standard on nearly every model and trim level by end of 2017; 4 years ahead of NHTSA/IIHS target
March 21, 2016
Toyota will begin to include the and Lexus Safety System+ and Toyota Safety Sense packages, anchored by automatic emergency braking (AEB), on almost every new vehicle by the end of 2017—four years before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 2022 target. (Earlier post.) Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. made the announcement at the New York Auto Show.
Already available as a low-cost option on a broad range of Lexus and Toyota vehicles, Lexus Safety System+ and Toyota Safety Sense are designed to help address three key areas of driver assistance: preventing or mitigating frontal collisions – including pedestrians; helping keep drivers within their lane; and enhancing road safety during nighttime driving. Technologies include Toyota’s Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and Automatic High Beams.
Pi Innovo and GaN Systems collaborate to offer electronics design services for auxiliary systems for multi-voltage, hybrid and electric vehicles
Controls engineering firm Pi Innovo and gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor manufacturer GaN Systems are collaborating to offer automakers a pathway to the efficient and effective electrification of auxiliary systems for multi-voltage conventional, hybrid-electric, and pure electric vehicles.
GaN devices offer a number of benefits compared to silicon-based devices, including high dielectric strength; high current density; high switching speeds; low on-resistance; and the ability to withstand higher operating temperature. Compared to silicon, gallium nitride has ten times higher electrical breakdown characteristics, three times the band gap, and exceptional carrier mobility.
20 automakers commit to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles no later than 2022; faster than regulatory process
March 17, 2016
The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced the commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99% of the US. auto market to make automatic emergency braking (AEB) a standard feature on virtually all new cars in the US no later than NHTSA’s 2022 reporting year, which begins 1 Sept 2022.
Automakers making the commitment are Audi; BMW; FCA US LLC; Ford; General Motors; Honda; Hyundai; Jaguar Land Rover; Kia; Maserati; Mazda; Mercedes-Benz; Mitsubishi Motors; Nissan; Porsche; Subaru; Tesla Motors; Toyota; Volkswagen; and Volvo Car USA. The unprecedented commitment means that this important safety technology will be available to more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process.
Honda R&D using IBM Watson IoT technology for real-time monitoring and data analysis in F1 racers
Honda R&D is monitoring and analyzing data from more than 160 sensors in Formula One (F1) cars using IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Drivers and crews can apply data and analytics in real-time to help streamline performance and improve fuel efficiency, enabling drivers to make real-time racing decisions based on this data, such as speed adjustments and pit stops.
To help mark its return to Formula One racing and reach new milestones in efficiency for both race cars and future consumer models, Honda R&D developed a new system to analyze data from the hybrid power units quickly and efficiently to check residual fuel levels and estimate the possibility of mechanical problems. Honda is using the IBM IoT for Automotive solution, based on IBM Watson IoT technology, to deliver data generated from cars, including temperature, pressure and power levels, directly to the cloud for real-time analysis.
New Buick LaCrosse upgrades computing power from 17 to 31 ECUs; new electronic control system
March 16, 2016
The all-new Buick LaCrosse, which launches this week in China, features significant upgrades in computing power and networking to advance connectivity and safety features.
There are 31 ECUs distributed in the all-new Buick LaCrosse—its predecessor utilized only 17. This 82% increase in the number of ECUs helps to optimize calculating efficiency. In order to facilitate the handling of large quantities of data, a specific data bus is arranged to connect ECUs, each of which can process data independently.
IEEE approves 802.3bw Ethernet; 100 Mb/s over single twisted-pair driven by needs of automotive industry
March 15, 2016
IEEE announced the approval of IEEE 802.3bw, IEEE Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for 100 Mb/s Operation over a Single Balanced Twisted Pair Cable (100BASE-T1). The standard is driven primarily by the needs of the global automotive industry and illustrates Ethernet’s expansion into new application areas.
Mainstream adoption of emerging in-car applications such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and infotainment has created the need for cost-effective, high-bandwidth connectivity. The first of several Ethernet standards especially tuned to the needs of the in-car automotive market, IEEE 802.3bw-2015 100BASE-T1 will provide 100 Mb/s Ethernet over a single twisted-pair. It is intended to enable the consolidation of these new, as well as legacy, in-car applications on a homogenous network architecture.
UC Riverside reinforcement-learning-based real-time energy management system can improve PHEV efficiency by almost 12%
February 09, 2016
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have demonstrated that a new, data-driven, reinforcement-learning-based, real-time energy management system (EMS) can improve the efficiency of current plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by almost 12% compared to the standard, binary mode control strategy. The UCR EMS optimizes the power-split control in real time while learning the optimal decisions from historical driving cycles.
Further, the ~12% improvement does not factor in charging opportunities. An 8% fuel saving—again, compared to the standard binary mode EMS—can be achieved when charging opportunities are considered, the researchers said in a paper describing the system in the journal Transportation Research Record.
New QNX software platform enables ADAS and automated driving
January 23, 2016
QNX Software Systems Limited, a subsidiary of BlackBerry Limited, earlier this month introduced the QNX Platform for ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems), expanding its portfolio of automotive software products. The QNX Platform for ADAS is scheduled for general release in Q2 2016.
Designed for scalability, the platform will enable automotive companies to build a full range of automated driving systems, from informational ADAS modules that provide a 360° surround view of the vehicle, to sensor fusion systems that combine data from multiple sources such as cameras and radar, to high-performance processors that make control decisions in fully autonomous vehicles.
Ricardo white paper outlines needed developments to realize autonomous driving
January 14, 2016
Engineering firm Ricardo has published a white paper—Key Enablers for the Fully Autonomous Vehicle—highlighting the technologies and development processes that are needed to develop commercially feasible self-driving cars that meet consumer expectations while also achieving compliance with likely future transport regulations.
According to the Boston Consulting Group, the projected size of the global autonomous vehicle market in 2025 will be $36 billion for partially autonomous vehicles (levels 1–3) and $6 billion for fully autonomous vehicles (level 4). This includes both passenger and commercial vehicle uses. The realization of fully autonomous vehicles will require further evolution in software, sensors, integration and efficient system testing beyond what is in place for current advanced driver assistance systems.
Visteon to launch ECU-consolidating cockpit domain controller with European automaker in 2018
January 08, 2016
Addressing the proliferation of electronic control units (ECUs) in vehicles, Visteon Corporation is preparing to launch an industry-first, automotive-grade cockpit domain controller with a European automaker on a global vehicle program in 2018.
SmartCore combines previously separate instrument clusters, head-up displays (HUD) and advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) domains on a one-chip, multi-domain controller that can be accessed through an integrated, easy-to-use human machine interaction (HMI). Visteon displayed the SmartCore connected domain controller at CES 2016.
Toshiba introduces new automotive Ethernet-AVB bridge; working with Qualcomm on advanced connected car systems
AT CES 2016, Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) introduced an automotive-grade Ethernet bridge solution for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and other automotive applications. The TC9560XBG supports standards such as IEEE 802.1AS and IEEE 802.1Qav, generally referred to as Ethernet-AVB (Audio Video Bridging). The Ethernet-AVB standard enables stable, reliable multimedia transmissions, making it suitable for IVI and telematics. (Earlier post.)
TAEC also announced it is working with Qualcomm Technologies to bring to the automotive market advanced connected car platforms powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 820A and Snapdragon 602A processors, and telematics solutions powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem. (Earlier post.)
Audi to use Gen 2 zFAS controller in production e-tron quattro; piloted driving; moving to domain-controlled architecture
January 07, 2016
The production version of Audi’s e-tron quattro battery-electric SUV (earlier post) will be equipped with the second-generation of Audi’s central driver assistance controller the zFAS (earlier post), according to Ricky Hudi, Executive Vice President Electronic Development, Audi AG. The vehicle will be capable of driving fully autonomously, he said at CES 2016.
zFAS is the domain controller for Audi piloted driving systems. The information supplied by all sensors—including the signals from the 3D cameras, the laser scanner and the radar and ultrasonic sensors—is permanently fed into and processed by this module. With its tremendous computing power, the zFAS will be capable of continuously comparing the data from the vehicle sensor systems with the model of the road space and its surroundings.
Qualcomm introduces Snapdragon 820A SoC infotainment and connectivity processors for automotive; expanding automotive investment
Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., introduced its latest Qualcomm Snapdragon automotive processors, the Snapdragon 820 Automotive family, offering a scalable next-generation infotainment, graphics and multimedia platform with machine intelligence and a version with integrated LTE-Advanced connectivity.
The new processors expand Qualcomm’s automotive technology portfolio, adding to a collection of integrated solutions in the areas of telematics and connectivity, as well as high definition graphics and multimedia for rich infotainment systems, machine intelligence and sensor fusion for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), GNSS location technologies, V2X (Vehicle to Vehicle/Infrastructure/Pedestrian) communications for improved safety and driver convenience, and wireless charging for electric vehicles.
Kia Motors introduces new DRIVE WISE sub-brand for advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving technologies
January 06, 2016
At CES 2016, Kia Motors launched a new sub-brand—DRIVE WISE—to encompass its future Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Kia recently announced plans to manufacture partially-autonomous cars by 2020, and aims to bring its first fully-autonomous vehicle to market by 2030. (Earlier post.)
A preliminary $2-billion investment by Kia by 2018 is intended to fast-track development of the new DRIVE WISE technologies. The state of Nevada recently granted Kia a special licence to test the new technologies on public roads. Kia’s battery-electric Soul EV is acting as the brand’s testbed for the development of next-generation DRIVE WISE technologies.
Toyota Research Institute CEO Pratt outlines initial AI/robotics mandates; trillion-mile reliability
Last November, Toyota Motor established a new company—Toyota Research Institute Inc. (TRI), an R&D enterprise with a focus on artificial intelligence and robotics—with an announced initial investment of $1 billion over the next five years. (Earlier post.) (The investment is in addition to the $50 million investment over the next five years with MIT and Stanford, each close by TRI’s new offices, to establish joint fundamental artificial intelligence research centers at each university.) At a press conference at CES 2016, TRI CEO and Toyota Executive Technical Advisor Dr. Gill Pratt laid out his new company’s near-term approach and challenges it seeks to address, as well as its much larger ambitions.
For the longer term, Toyota believes artificial intelligence and robotics offers the significant potential not only to support future industrial technologies but to create an entirely new mobility industry. Drawing an analogy to Toyota’s own history, Dr. Pratt noted that:
NVIDIA introduces DRIVE PX 2 platform for autonomous driving
At CES 2016, NVIDIA introduced NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2—a high-performance computing platform for in-vehicle artificial intelligence applied to the complexities inherent in autonomous driving. DRIVE PX 2 utilizes deep learning on NVIDIA’s most advanced GPUs for 360-degree situational awareness around the car, to determine precisely where the car is and to compute a safe, comfortable trajectory.
DRIVE PX 2—which delivers processing power equivalent to 150 MacBook Pros—uses two next-generation Tegra processors plus two next-generation discrete GPUs, based on the Pascal architecture, to deliver up to 24 trillion deep learning operations per second, which are specialized instructions that accelerate the math used in deep learning network inference. That’s more than 10 times the computational horsepower than the previous-generation DRIVE PX.
ARPA-E issues RFI on energy efficiency optimization for connected and automated vehicles; vehicle dynamic and powertrain control
January 05, 2016
The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a request for information (DE-FOA-0001473) seeking input from researchers and developers in a broad range of disciplines including automotive vehicle control, powertrain control and transportation analytics regarding the development of advanced energy efficiency optimization technologies for future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs).
ARPA-E is interested in new and emerging full vehicle and powertrain control technologies that can reduce the energy use associated with automotive transportation, beyond those technologies currently expected to be deployed in future vehicles. The focus of the RFI is on the potential improvement in the energy efficiency of each individual vehicle in the automotive fleet through the improvement of powertrain control and vehicle dynamic control, by utilizing emerging technologies and strategies in sensing, communications, information, control and automation.
Mercedes adding semi-autonomous Active Lane Change Assist to new E-Class in spring
December 09, 2015
Mercedes-Benz will expand the new Driving Assistance package of the future E-Class for the market launch in spring with the semi-autonomous Active Lane Change Assist function. The radar- and camera-based assistance system supports the driver in changing lanes—for example, when passing on multi-lane roads. The system offers a significant further increase in comfort and can help to prevent collisions.
Active Lane Change Assist is a sub-function of DRIVE PILOT and thus a component of the Driving Assistance package from Mercedes-Benz, which will have its world premiere in the new E-Class next year. The new E-Class will be launched in Germany in spring 2016.
Audi’s production electric e-tron quattro may set a new standard for vehicle handling; advanced vehicle dynamics control
December 01, 2015
The production version of Audi’s battery electric e-tron quattro SUV (earlier post), due out in 2018, is an important vehicle for the brand, and especially for Audi of America, which is driving many of the requirements for the C-segment electric SUV. At the LA Auto Show, Audi of America President Scott Keogh said that the brand is targeting at least 25% of its US sales to be e-tron—i.e., plug-in hybrid or full electric—models by 2025. (Earlier post.)
He also observed, in a conversation on the eve of the LAAS, that if an automaker can launch a defining product, the game changes. Audi intends for the e-tron quattro to become such a defining product—an Audi electric SUV in the high-volume C-segment that is reasonably priced (in the luxury sector) and delivers longer range along with all the “known” benefits of electric drive: speedy acceleration, quiet, lower cost of fueling, and zero tailpipe emissions (as well as the high-value HOV sticker for some markets). But to make this a benchmark product, Audi intends to go further, leveraging the three-motor electric quattro powertrain through very advanced software controls to deliver a ride and handling experience not possible even in an all-wheel drive electric vehicle equipped with a torque vectoring differential mechanism (e.g., a Tesla).
Ford first to test autonomous vehicle at U Michigan Mcity
November 13, 2015
Ford is the first automaker to test autonomous vehicles at Mcity—the full-scale simulated real-world urban environment at the University of Michigan. (Earlier post.) The 32-acre facility is part of the university’s Mobility Transformation Center.
Ford has been testing autonomous vehicles for more than 10 years and is now expanding testing on the diversity of roads and realistic neighborhoods of Mcity near the North Campus Research Complex to accelerate research of advanced sensing technologies.
Kespry and NVIDIA demonstrate deep learning for commercial autonomous drones; NVIDIA Jetson TX1
November 11, 2015
Kespry, a commercial drone system company, demonstrated a prototype drone that uses NVIDIA artificial intelligence technology to recognize objects. The Kespry prototype uses the newly introduced NVIDIA Jetson TX1 module for deep learning, which offers complex algorithms to make autonomous devices more intelligent. The prototype is based on the Kespry Drone System that is in use by customers in the materials, mining and construction industries.
The demo was conducted using the NVIDIA Jetson TX1 embedded module—unveiled yesterday at an NVIDIA event in San Francisco. Jetson TX1 is a credit-card sized module that will enable a new generation of smart, learning autonomous devices. With its 1 teraflops of performance, Jetson delivers exceptional performance for machine learning, computer vision, GPU computing, and graphics, while drawing very little power.
HARMAN contributes open source software to Open AVB Project for low-latency, real-time automotive Ethernet
November 03, 2015
HARMAN has made an open source software contribution to the Open AVB project to help drive the adoption of Ethernet AVB/TSN (Audio Video Bridging/Time Sensitive Networking) in automotive, consumer, pro audio/video and industrial markets. In AVB/TSN, the maximum latency is deterministic and thus supports low-latency applications from live A/V to machine control.
Legacy Ethernet uses “best effort delivery”—i.e., data traffic flow is indeterminate, and intervening traffic can delay a data stream. Because of this uncertainty on receiving a stream packet, the receivers in legacy systems typically employ large buffers so as not to underflow, which would result in an audible click on an audio stream or loss of critical control information in a control stream.