Autonomous Vehicles – What Direction Will Automakers Take?

At Issue:

At the moment, there are two par­al­lel roads to dri­ver­less dri­ving.  One involves automak­ers and parts sup­pli­ers work­ing on incre­men­tal advances in advanced dri­ver assis­tance sys­tems (ADAS) that could even­tu­al­ly fuse into an autonomous sys­tem. This road includes human-machine inter­faces (HMIs) that are sit­u­a­tion-aware and thus able to auto­mat­i­cal­ly adapt to dri­ving con­di­tions.

The oth­er road heads straight to a self-dri­ving vehi­cle, with sup­pli­ers work­ing on com­plete autonomous dri­ving sys­tems they hope to sell to automak­ers or even end users. At the moment, the auto indus­try is at a cross­roads since ADAS makes it clear that we’re halfway there already.

No Longer the Stuff of Sci­ence Fic­tion – Your car may be a safer dri­ver than you are!

The Fun­da­men­tals:

  • The U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion cat­e­go­rizes the degree of vehi­cle automa­tion into five lev­els:
  • Lev­el 0 is a com­plete­ly man­u­al vehi­cle.
  • Lev­els 1–3 involve var­i­ous degrees of automa­tion, but the dri­ver still retains some con­trol of the vehi­cle.
  • Lev­el 4 is the Holy Grail, the point of full automa­tion when direc­tions can sim­ply be giv­en to a vehi­cle and the vehi­cle obeys.
  • So-called dri­ver­less cars, tricked out with cam­eras and sen­sors, are great news for auto­mo­tive sup­pli­ers of all man­ner of sens­ing tech­nol­o­gy. But they could be pro­found­ly dis­rup­tive for automak­ers, reshap­ing every­thing from how cars are owned to how we move through urban set­tings.

Key High­lights of the Lat­est Con­sumer Telem­at­ics Update:

  • Right now, tech­nol­o­gy cen­ters around lane depar­ture warn­ing sys­tems, park assist sys­tems and safe dis­tance warn­ings – all vari­a­tions on sen­sor fusion.
  • Tech­nol­o­gy goes way beyond sav­ing lives. Ford esti­mates that if one in four cars is equipped with Traf­fic Jam Assist, com­mute times will be reduced by up to 37.5%.
  • Gen­er­al Motors has set its sights on inte­grat­ing smart­phones and ADAS. A new sys­tem being devel­oped by Gen­er­al Motors explores how pedes­tri­ans’ smart­phones could be used to alert dri­vers to poten­tial col­li­sions.
  • Vol­vo has inte­grat­ed a strong dis­tance warn­ing sys­tem in its City Safe­ty sys­tem. City Safe­ty does not auto­mat­i­cal­ly brake. Instead, it primes the brake in the event of an approach­ing col­li­sion to increase its sen­si­tiv­i­ty should the dri­ver step on the ped­al.
  • Tucked into the race to make cars safer, whether with or with­out the dri­ver at the wheel, is a mini arms race for dynam­ic HMIs that would be sit­u­a­tion-aware and thus able to auto­mat­i­cal­ly adjust to dri­ving con­di­tions.

What Deal­ers and their Man­agers Should Take Away For Now:

  • Autonomous cars, in com­bi­na­tion with advanced vehi­cle-to-vehi­cle (V2V) and vehi­cle-to- infra­struc­ture (V2I) com­mu­ni­ca­tion, are expect­ed to spike the great­est changes in the indus­try. But they are still five to 15 years away
  • How­ev­er, the trick for all com­pa­nies work­ing on autonomous com­po­nents is to get the size and price of the var­i­ous sys­tems low enough to make them fea­si­ble for con­sumer vehi­cles.

The Con­sumer Telem­at­ics Show 2014 address­es the crit­i­cal issues sur­round­ing the con­nect­ed car focus­ing on info­tain­ment and dri­ver assis­tance. For more infor­ma­tion vis­it the Telem­at­ics Update web­site.



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