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Predictive safety opens gateway to autonomous driving

Posted: 01 Jul 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:automotive electronics  ADAS  ESC  driver assistance  predictive safety 

The automotive sector is attracting major suppliers as it becomes a huge part of the electronics market. And with the merger of NXP and Freescale, there will be a new leader in the automotive scene. The new company plans to remain on top by refining its "predictive safetym," which will serve as a precursor to full autonomous driving.

"We estimate from figures supplied to us by TU [Technische Universitat] Munchen that the total cost of a new car was 15 per cent electronics in 1990, but will grow from 30 per cent in 2020 to as much as 50 per cent by 2030," Patrick Morgan, vice president and general manager of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) told EE Times. "And that doesn't count the $400 billion that could be saved by preventing accidents, not to mention the 1.2 million lives saved worldwide and the 50 million injures prevented."

Today, the biggest safety systems in automobiles are passive systems like airbags and enhanced safety systems (ESC), such smart cruise controls, blind-spot detection, infrared night vision, collision mitigation systems and rear-view camera systems all the way to ADAS like lane departure warnings and automatic braking to prevent rear-ending the car in front of you.

Market for ADAS

The total addressable market for the ADAS will more than double from just under $300 million today to almost $700 million over the next five years. (Source: IHS)

But for the future, the name of the game will be "predictive safety," according to Morgan. "We will be selling sophisticated vision and image recognition systems—in addition to the radar where we already sell the large majority of systems with one million sold so far—that will be able to classify objects and take evasive action ranging from simple alerts to the driver all the way to taking over control of the car to prevent collisions—especially with pedestrians."

Sensor fusion

Sensor fusion of front-facing, rear-facing, 360-degree view and radar data gives the S32V all the information it needs to do predictive safety, such an anticipate when a pedestrian is going to step in front of the car before he or she does. (Source: Freescale)

The beating heart of Freescale's ADAS is the S32V stereo video processor announced at this spring's Mobile World Congress 2015 (March 2-5, Barcelona), but which is only now becoming widely available as production ramps up. The "V" in S32V stands for vision, which will lead to a new era of smarter of ADAS, according to Matt Johnson, vice president and general manager of automobile microcontrollers at Freescale.

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