DirectIndustry e-Magazine - #35 – AUTONOMOUS VEHICLESDirectIndustry e-Magazine


AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES: WHERE ARE WE?




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HOT TOPIC. First Self-Driving Fleets by 2021?

 

 

FOCUS. V2X Communication Set to Power a Driverless Revolution

 

 

QUESTION. Who Cares About Mobile Apps?

 

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MOBILITY
For the self-driving revolution to roll forward, cars need better senses...or sensors.

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Article available in 9 languages. Self-driving car technology is maturing, but challenges persist. Sensors need improvement and prices must drop. Luckily, hundreds of startups are seeking solutions.   A few years after Google entered the race, cofounder Sergey Brin crowed that autonomous vehicles were just around the...


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MOBILITY
Compared to cameras and LIDAR, V2X sensors can "see" around corners and through objects.

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Article available in 9 languages.

Imagine a vehicle that automatically takes the most efficient route to avoid traffic jams or analyzes its own systems and takes itself to the nearest service center. How about one that communicates with other vehicles on the road to reduce collisions, or that gives you parking, weather information, and road hazards warnings. Welcome to the world of V2X—vehicle-to-everything—communication.

 

V2X technology, which includes both vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication, allows cars to talk to their environment in a groundbreaking way. Compared to cameras and LIDAR (light detection and ranging), V2X sensors boast greater range, can “see” around corners and through objects, exchange real-time data with other cars and roadside infrastructure, and make predictions. The sensors are unaffected by fog, rain, or bright light.

A Game Changer

Technology application / Courtesy of Savari

Technology application / Courtesy of Savari

The recent launch of these prototype autonomous vehicles from carmakers such as BMW and Mercedes, integrating radar, LIDAR and camera sensors, gives us a glimpse into our automotive future. Yet,practical autonomous vehicles—where safety is the overriding factor—demand V2X technology.

Ravi Puvvala, CEO of California-headquartered V2X sensor developer Savari, explains:

In terms of driverless vehicles, V2X technology is a game changer because it  could facilitate full autonomy. According to the definitions of the Society of Automotive Engineers, we’re currently around 2-3 on the autonomy scale, where 5 represents a car which doesn’t need a driver.

V2X Already on the Road

V2X com carsUnder development within the automotive industry for the last decade, V2X technology is already on the road. The first models to feature such sensors are the Cadillac CTS sedan and the 2017 Mercedes Benz E-Class.

Yet, the roll-out of V2X has hit a speed bump due to competition between two technologies. Research and early-stage deployment have been based on dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), a derivative of 802.11 WiFi, which transmits basic safety messages between vehicles up to 10 times per second over a range of 300 meters.

But the cellular industry has proposed an alternative solution, known as C-V2X, cellular V2X, which boasts far quicker data transmission than DSRC. This would use 4G networks—5G in the future—for both V2V and V2I communication. The older, cheaper DSRC is here now, but 5G isn’t. This means C-V2X has far more development potential.

Alain Dunoyer, head of autonomous driving at UK-based automotive consultancy SBD says:

DSRC and C-V2X are not interoperable. There is now an open debate within the automotive industry about the merits of each. This is critical because all manufacturers want to adopt the same solution.

In the US, there is now a draft mandate on the table for all cars to be equipped with V2X. Cellular carriers are pushing the National Transportation Highway Safety Administration to adopt 5G over DSRC, with telecoms and chip giant Qualcomm set to test 5G and C-V2X with partner LG in the first half of 2018.

A Rough Road Ahead?

SW1000 NY traffic background/ Courtesy of Savari

Sreet WAVE 1000 / Courtesy of Savari

In addition to technological challenges, cost is another barrier to uptake, especially for C-V2X. Costas Meimetis is director of product strategy at Swiss fabless semiconductor company u-blox:

V2X faces a chicken-and-egg problem. The benefits will only be visible once there is high penetration of the technology, so there is little incentive to become an early adopter. Legislation should help in this regard.

Security is also a pressing issue, with any new digital communications gateway installed in a vehicle representing a potential threat. SBD’s Dunoyer explains:

The cyber risks associated with V2X and autonomous driving are huge. All V2X solutions include a digital certificate to identify messages sent from legitimate cars and ignore messages sent from rogue cars. But hackers will undoubtedly target V2X systems and try to bypass protection features.

Going forward, vehicle manufacturers will need to design their systems so that software can be updated remotely, allowing patches and enhancements to be downloaded to cars as needed.

Despite these issues, Ravi Puvvala sees a future where V2X is increasingly prevalent.

By 2030, there will be all manner of cars on the road, operating on everything from Level 0 through Level 5 autonomy. They will all need to communicate safely with each other. V2V and V2I will be critical.


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IT
On-the-go apps promise to boost safety, as well as a firm’s productivity.

Article available in 9 languages. Why are mobile applications becoming increasingly important for industry? Why invest in them? According to experts, on-the-go apps promise to boost safety, as well as a firm’s productivity.   United Utilities supplies two billion liters of water to 2.9 million UK households, businesses...


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  • Courtesy of NVidia

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    NVIDIA has manufactured popular graphics processing units for nearly a quarter century. But its been pushing in a variety of new directions, especially into the automotive field. Through multiple partnerships—with TomTom and IBM, in particular—the firm has cruised into the world of self-driving cars using deep learning and artificial intelligence. Add a supercomputer to a dedicated operating system, HD mapping and new computer vision algorithms and what do you get? The BB8 test vehicle that learns by doing rather than being pre-programmed. Information from the vehicle’s sensors and from road imagery create a real-time “occupancy grid” representing the car within its environment. This enables it to learn how to handle varied conditions much as a human would. Its first experiences in a parking lot and on California roads have enabled BB8 to drive in New Jersey, on the other side of the US. It has performed at night and can handle blind curves, unmarked roads and construction zones requiring delicate maneuvers.


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    Epson Robots used September’s Las Vegas Pack Expo to launch a new line of all-in-one SCARA robots. The first model, the T3, has a built-in controller to simplify setup and reduce its footprint. The line is designed to be cost-effective and easy to integrate into existing systems. The T3 is meant for assembly, pick-and-place and other basic tasks in diverse sectors—automotive, medical, lab automation, electronics and others. Company product management director Gregg Brunnick told Robotics Online that the T3 represents a less expensive, simpler alternative to models using multi-axis linear slides. It runs on 110V or 220V power and requires no encoder battery. Light and compact, the new entry can reduce the cost of initiating factory automation. It’s 400-mm arm can handle a payload of three kilograms. Brunnick also noted that the T3 uses the same intuitive software found in Epson’s high-end robots. In addition to quick installation, it offers a vision guidance option and a variety of interface possibilities.


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    Camille Rustici is a Video Journalist and the Editor-in-Chief for DirectIndustry e-magazine. She has years of experience in business issues for various media including France 24, Associated Press, Radio France…


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