Smart sensors will change the way you drive (because eventually you won’t need to drive)

Realizing fully automatic driverless cars in daily life is an exciting dream. Imagine a world where cars are truly automated: you just get in the car, tell the car where you are going, and continue your business, and you can get from point A to point B without more human-computer interaction.

Smart sensors will change the way you drive (because eventually you won’t need to drive)

Realizing fully automatic driverless cars in daily life is an exciting dream. Imagine a world where cars are truly automated: you just get in the car, tell the car where you are going, and continue your business, and you can get from point A to point B without more human-computer interaction.

Suddenly, the national average of 26 minutes longest commute time to the office-began to disappear. The anxiety and stress of driving translate into a relaxing and productive experience.

The emergence of so many exciting proposals and active regulatory interactions for autonomous vehicles is nothing new. Autonomous vehicles will fundamentally change the global transportation network in cities and more regions, and at the same time re-enact transportation infrastructure, vehicle ownership and other rules.

The latest forecast by IHS Automotive shows that in the critical period of the development of necessary technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, processing capabilities and machine vision, there will be nearly 21 million autonomous vehicles sold globally by 2035.

Considering the current situation:

・ The ability of machines to connect through the Internet of Things has become a game changer in many industries, but it is still an emerging technology. Gartner predicts that there will be 20.4 billion IoT products worldwide by 2020.

・ Conventional vision backup cameras are a common function of today’s vehicles, but cameras with other functions are very rare. Cameras that work at visible light wavelengths are not enough to meet the needs of next-generation cars because they cannot penetrate or distinguish chaotic environments such as rain, dust, smog, and darkness.

・ Our road network generally lacks the artificial intelligence needed to handle smart vehicles. They need to be able to understand and communicate the dynamics of busy intersections or congested highways.

・ All these systems-from vehicles to cameras to transportation networks-lack strong integration. What we need is a complete system solution that can quickly cooperate and provide a convincing, reasonably priced, safer and more efficient transportation infrastructure.

The commercial prospects of this technology are considerable. According to research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, by 2022, automation technology will have the greatest impact on the increase in new car sales-approximately US$54.9 billion, an increase of 31% over 2017.

Although security components such as radar detection will generate 58.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 (an average annual growth rate of 27%), most of the output value will be integrated into the list price and eventually included in the automation suite. At the same time, it is expected that high-end cars will contain Electronic products worth more than US$6,000 within five years, thereby driving the size of the automotive electronics market to US$160 billion in 2022.

The good news is that the foundation for the future has been developed in technology. With the accelerated development of IoT innovation, new sensors are providing a better way to observe and interpret the world for cars and other IoT machines.

Perhaps most importantly, new sensors using millimeter wave (mmWave) radar technology can provide visibility over a larger range, regardless of environmental conditions. These integrated solutions use short waves to transmit electromagnetic signals to determine the range, speed, and angle of objects in the surrounding environment. At TI, our millimeter wave sensing devices integrate 76GHz to 81GHz millimeter wave radar with microcontroller (MCU) and digital signal processor (DSP) cores on a single chip.

The benefits of these new devices are very significant. Because of their integrated structure, compared with previous products, they are smaller, lower power consumption, and lower cost. In order to track, classify or meet the specific functions of the application, they incorporate advanced algorithms to measure the range, speed and angle of the application object.

The integration of millimeter waves has been extended to advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) solutions to change the vehicle’s field of view and how the traffic system perceives the world around it. Ultimately, this integration can promote the development of safety-enhanced applications, creating a safer driving environment for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Cruise control technology can now enhance obstacle detection. Passengers can now use gesture control to operate convenient functions, such as the infotainment system. In addition, the sensors built into the seat can now monitor the health of the driver by regularly checking the heart rate and pulse.

These are direct benefits for the driver and passengers. Ultimately, this combination of technologies will give cars the perception capabilities needed to truly become a daily part of the world’s automation, and can make better automation decisions with more accurate three-dimensional perception of the car’s surrounding environment.

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