One of the biggest challenges in IoT technology is to build an autonomous system based on smart electronics devices that are able to make decisions based on the environmental conditions and, more importantly, do this by guaranteeing the safety of the user of this instrumentation.
What will the benefits be for such an autonomous system in terms of comfort and safety of the people enjoying this type of technology? To get an idea of these advantages, let’s take a look to the latest introduction in the automotive field: the model “A7” autonomous car made by the Audi Company (see this YouTube video).
This smart car has been tested in a circuit near the airport of Munich showing the autonomous driving on the high way feature. The test results are really positive: the car is able to drive autonomously, change lanes and respond to all the situations that may arise during driving on a highway (see Figure 1). This demonstrates the huge potential of the electronics technology, when it is applied to an autonomous system of driving.
The Audi car is driven by a blind pilot in the “Audi Trust Race” (Source: YouTube)
The integrated sensors of the car play a key role because they will detect obstacles and monitor the other car’s position from one instant to the next one. The data gathered from the sensors have to be evaluated in order to drive the braking system and the power unit in the engine accordingly. Some computing ICs like microcontrollers and actuators are designated to this central functionality. The digital images of the environment surrounding the car is evaluated in real time by the Audi’s driver assistance system zFAS (see Figure 2):
“As a platform control unit for various assistance functions, such as piloted parking or driving, Audi’s driver assistance system zFAS uses numerous technology components from TTTech. For example, the individual CPU cores are connected based on the reliable time-triggered Ethernet communication. Its unique design allows the combination of data traffic of different criticalities at simultaneously high data transfer.” (Source: TTTech)
The zFAS system integrates electronics for the processing of data coming from the ultrasonic and the radar sensors, the top area view and the front cameras, the laser scanner, mounted on the autonomous car. See this YouTube video here. (Source: YouTube)
It is clear that electronics technology is a key factor in the success of this smart approach to driving and has a low impact on the environment because it reduces the emissions by an effective management of the consumption of fuel via an optimization of the power required by the autonomous car in each situation. The effectiveness of electronic sensors (see Figure 3) is directly related to the reliability of the autonomous car.
The contribution of electronics technology to smart driving. (Source: EXTREME TECH)
What do you think about this type of approach to driving? Have you ever been a passenger in an autonomous car? Please share your experiences with our audience.