Revolutionizing Autonomy: The Latest Technologies Advancing ADAS
There's a lot at play for advanced driver assistance systems to monitor for drowsiness or connect vehicles to the grid. Here are a few recent technologies driving forward the future of autonomous vehicles.
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) have rapidly evolved with developments in computing power, sensor technologies, and artificial intelligence, making them a core feature in most modern vehicles.
Automated and integrated ADAS even include systems that use visual information to monitor drivers' behavior. As these systems continue to evolve, they will play a crucial role in the future of mobility. This article highlights recently announced autonomous technologies that address various aspects of ADAS or self-driving technology.
New Automotive-grade Voltage Supervising Chip
ADAS systems rely on power systems that operate reliably in harsh automotive environments. In such applications, it is critical to incorporate accurate and redundant monitoring for ADAS processing and signal chain blocks.
Voltage monitors or reset integrated circuits (ICs) monitor a system's power supply, detect faults, and communicate with embedded processors to report system health. They can identify undervoltage and overvoltage events with a predefined threshold value, providing a signal to enable, disable, or reset the device.
Shenzhen-based IC company Naxinwei recently launched voltage monitoring and reset ICs, the NSR7808 series, targeted for a host of applications, including autonomous vehicles and vehicle infotainment systems. The company says its new IC can also be used in body control modules, various MCUs and processors, industrial servers and data centers, and security surveillance cameras.
Block diagram of the NSR7808 series. Image courtesy of Naxinwei
The NSR7808 series is said to monitor voltages as low as 0.4 V and have a programmable reset delay function. When the sense voltage drops below a precise threshold voltage, or if the manual reset pin is set low, the reset signal is set as valid. The reset signal remains valid until released after a user-programmed delay time. Developers can manage reset voltage to a typical voltage rail of 0.9 V to 5 V, and in the NSR7808G01 version, reset voltage can be configured with an external resistor divider. These devices also have an ultra-low quiescent current of only 3.6 uA, making them suitable for battery-powered applications.
Monitoring Drivers' Physical Condition for Road Safety
Mitsubishi Electric has developed a driver monitoring system to detect dangerous physical conditions of drivers, such as unconsciousness, by measuring pulse rate, change in blood pressure, and other vital data collected with a contactless camera. The system uses AI to estimate biometric data and Maisart AI technology to detect abnormal physical conditions.
Illustration of how the new technology detects driver conditions. Image courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric
Current onboard ADAS systems use visual data to identify abnormal postures. However, half of the time, drivers that lose consciousness may remain in an upright posture. The new system measures other data for signs of drowsiness or unconsciousness. Mitsubishi's Maisart AI technology can detect unusual physical conditions even when the driver's posture does not change significantly.
New Automotive Switches With High Flexibility
ADAS systems require a flexible and intelligent architecture for power distribution that can scale across increasing loads. Infineon Technologies recently introduced its new high-side power switch product, PROFET Load Guard 12 V. These switches feature an adjustable overcurrent limitation and capacitive load switching (CLS) to manage power and provide protection.
Block diagram of the BTG7090-2EPL, part of the PROFET Load Guard portfolio. Image courtesy of Infineon
They have a wide current limitation range, allowing protection levels to be adjusted without any microcontroller. While high-side switches are typically vulnerable to high peak currents, Infineon's devices are said to avoid these peaks and provide fast fault isolation to the distribution end in case of overload.
In addition, the switches offer capacitive load switching (CLS) mode, which, as its name suggests, allows switching for loads with high capacitance. This mode can charge several millifarads while remaining in the safe operating area, making it useful for controlling ADAS or infotainment systems. Thus, with CLS mode and adjustable current limitation, these switches provide high flexibility in power distribution.
Dimensity Auto: MediaTek's New Automotive Platform
MediaTek recently unveiled its new automotive platform, Dimensity Auto, for connected vehicles. The platform offers many solutions, including Dimensity Auto Cockpit, Dimensity Auto Connect, Dimensity Auto Drive, and Dimensity Auto Components.
MediaTek Dimensity Auto. Image courtesy of MediaTek
The Dimensity Auto Cockpit caters to the Human Machine Interface (HMI) experience in a vehicle. At the heart of this solution are MediaTek’s AI multi-core processors, incorporating a deep learning accelerator (MDLA) and vision processing unit (MVPU). It also features MediaTek's MiraVision display technology that can support multiple displays and up to 8K 120 Hz screens in HDR.
Another solution, Dimensity Auto Connect, takes care of wireless communication, including 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, navigation, and NTN (non-terrestrial network) satellite communications. For extended range and multi-gigabit data speeds, Dimensity Auto Connect utilizes carrier aggregation technology on 5G sub-6 GHz. MediaTek claims this suite of connectivity solutions enables seamless communication between vehicles and infrastructure systems.
Dimensity Auto Drive is a robust hardware configuration with a dedicated AI processing unit (APU) for deep learning tasks. And finally, Dimensity Auto Components is a collection of hardware components, including a dedicated digital signal processor (DSP), for handling image and voice recognition tasks and a hardware-based trusted execution environment (TEE) for added security.