Electronics technology is able to increase the level of interaction between the driver and the smart car. In the previous part 5 of this blog series, The e-car: Electronics technology applied to sustainable mobility, Part 5, there’s the description of the driver monitoring by means of electronic sensors integrated into the body of the car, this control is bidirectional because the driver can command the infotainment system in an easy and effective way, such as in the case of the solution realized by the Eyesight Company, (see Figure 1):
“eyeSight’s market leading touch-free gesture recognition solution offers simple interaction with the infotainment system. Using very simple hand gestures the driver and passengers can control the infotainment system without touching or looking at the screen, thus reducing cognitive load.”
The electronic components needed for realizing an effective and low distracting interaction between the driver and the car are mainly of two types, the IR (Infra-Red) sensors and the TOF (Time of Flight) sensors:
“eyeSight’s sensing solution for the automotive industry is software based and requires either an Infra-Red (IR) or Time of Flight (TOF) sensor.
IR sensor: Enables a full range of capabilities from the interaction using gestures to driver monitoring and driver identification.
TOF sensor: Offers touch-free gesture interactions for infotainment control, occupancy & upper body detection.” (Source: eyeSight/Automotive)
An example of the functionalities of an IR sensor and how it can be utilized in an electronic circuit to realize the detection of an object is shown in the Figure 2 below:
The IR sensors can be used to detect the presence of an object by mean of a programming code applied as input of an electronics circuit which elaborates the data gathered from the infrared sensor and detects accordingly the presence of an object. (Source: See this link for the enlarged version of the above image: CODE Project)
The interest of the possible Time of Flight sensor applications is demonstrated by the recent introduction by a big player in the semiconductor field, the STMicroelectronics Company:
“ST has introduced a new generation of high-performance proximity and ranging sensors, based on FlightSense Time-of-Flight (ToF) technology….FlightSense sensors directly measure distance to the object based on the time for emitted photons to be reflected, enabling accurate distance ranging regardless of the object’s surface characteristics….
FlightSense technology and ranging sensors can be used in a host of application area:
- Proximity sensing
- Camera autofocus and Video assist
- Vacuum cleaners, service robots and toys for wall following, cliff detection, collision avoidance
- Hover / landing assistance for drones
- Home appliances: Ambient light sensing, gesture recognition for light management, automatic doors control
- Special power-saving presence detection mode enables innovative auto-sleep/wake-on-approach use cases for PCs, notebooks and IoT devices
- Further applications include washroom automation in toilets, faucets or soap dispensers, and package counting to aid inventory management in vending machines or smart-shelf systems.” (Source: st.com)
Do you think the progress of electronics technology may positively impact the level of comfort and safety of the driver of a smart car and in particular an e-car?