Sense of awareness
While having cameras to see details on the road are important, those that come with processing software to pick up lane markers and monitor your distance from these are what enable cars and other vehicles to drive themselves. If you stray over the line without signalling, you will hear a warning tone or feel a physical alert such as a vibration in the steering wheel or seat. More advanced lane-keeping assist systems selectively apply brakes or nudge the steering to guide you back if you are wandering.
- In autonomous mode, such as in Tesla with autopilot, a front-facing radar, a camera with image-recognition capability and 360-degree ultrasonic sonar will pick up lane markings on the road as well as other vehicles to steer and control vehicle speed.
In a talk delivered at Electronics Rocks 2016 conference, Dr S. K. Sinha said, “Thirty years ago, software in the cars was zero—there was no software. And, in just a short period of 30 years, the amount of software has gone to ten million lines of code, in low-end cars. If you talk about Audi, Mercedes or BMW cars, these have hundred million lines of code today. Thousands of functions are being realised with software today.”
“The biggest worry is if the software controlling the cars have enough information about the world around it and how it reacts to situations,” says Sanjay Gupta, India country manager, NXP India. NXP has four broad umbrellas, that is, sense, think, act and Big Data. Radar, vision and secure V2X help the vehicle in its sensing capabilities. The self-driven car thinks on processing, sensor fusion and security, and acts through power-train, chassis and braking. Big Data comes in the picture to provide necessary infrastructure, security and digital networking.
Even when these vehicles are capable of fully-autonomous driving, it might take quite some time for it to show up on highways until the necessary legislation and policies are passed. In the meanwhile, mines and other closed industrial areas are ripe for a disruptive transportation technology that can remove the unpredictability of humans while simultaneously reducing danger to humans working in dangerous locations such as mines.
NFC and the Ethernet, in cars
NFC is now playing a role in automotive because of mobiles that are starting to adopt NFC, and we know the importance of mobiles and how convenient these are. “Automotive is picking up NFC because an automobile can have multiple people sitting in it and NFC is more convenient,” said Rajiv Kapur, managing director, Broadcom India, in an interview with EFY.
The whole universe of the Ethernet had previously been outside the car. Automotive world had not touched the Ethernet world until now. The first vehicle on the streets in the world to use the Ethernet in it was BMW X6.
The whole purpose is to leverage the universe of the Ethernet to give better vehicles. For example, the rear camera can be an Ethernet based camera. Kapur added, “We actually invented how the Ethernet can be distributed over thin cables. It is a standard now but we invented it. Once the automobile industry got that invention, which is now a standard, it started to adopt it. Now there are many more vehicles with the Ethernet in them.”
Your car will have a licence to kill
A new study published in Science shows that people want self-driving cars to be programmed to minimise casualties during a crash, even if it causes the death of the rider. Trouble is, the same survey shows that people do not actually want to ride in cars that are programmed this way. That is obviously a problem, and we are just going to have to get over it!
Dilin Anand is a senior assistant editor at EFY. He is B.Tech in ECE from University of Calicut, and MBA from Christ University, Bengaluru