VSI In the News

Testing Adaptive Cruise Control using HERE HD Live Map

The necessity of high precision maps for automated driving is becoming clear, and the part those maps play has evolved from convenient to essential. VSI Labs conducted the applied research on Adaptive Cruise Control using HERE HD Live Map. The test results support VSI's working hypothesis that High definition maps increase the performance/safety of ADAS/ACC systems.

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Bosch, Daimler, Nvidia Seal Robotaxi Pact

Phil Magney, founder and principal at VSI Labs, told EE Times, “We have known about the Bosch, Daimler, and Nvidia stuff for a while now.  Now it is official that the architecture will be Nvidia Pegasus and Bosch will be the tier one.”

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Where Do FPGAs Stand in Auto IC Race?

“While everyone would love to claim ownership of an ASIC, the majority of cutting-edge processing is done with FPGAs that give you the chance to apply your proprietary instruction sets on a compute-efficient platform,” Magney told EE Times. “ASICs are nice, but before you lock down your instruction sets, you are going to try lots of variations. FPGAs accommodate changes on the fly, so you can tweak your instruction sets and try new things.”

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Tesla Autopilot System Warned Driver to Put Hands on Wheel, U.S. Investigators Say

A U.S. safety investigation into a fatal crash in March involving Tesla Inc.’s driver-assistance feature confirmed that the driver’s hands weren’t on the wheel in the seconds before the collision while also showing the vehicle sped up just before impact.

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How to Fix Tesla Autopilot

EE Times got the help of Phil Magney, founder of VSI Labs, to break this all down. Further, VSI Labs suggested a few real solutions to some of the problems it observed.

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Tesla Considered Adding Eye Tracking and Steering-Wheel Sensors to Autopilot System

Long before the fatal crash of a Tesla car in March, some developers of the vehicle’s Autopilot system expressed concern there weren’t enough safeguards to ensure drivers remained attentive, people familiar with the discussions said.

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Did Uber Do Enough to Make Test AVs Safe?

The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report on Uber’s fatal crash in Arizona gave us a few insights, and surprises, about what went wrong with Uber’s AV.Least surprising was Uber’s decision to disable Volvo’s factory-equipped ADAS features, including the Automatic Emergency Brake (AEB). Phil Magney, Founder of VSI Labs, told us, “This may be somewhat routine for robo-taxi development, as you don’t want the OEM ADAS systems to conflict with the Uber AV Stack.”

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Can We Trust Autonomous Cars? AutoSens Detroit Examines Critical Concerns, Underscores Great Needs

“I would say the biggest challenge for people is trying to understand the different technologies,” said Phil Magney, Founder and Principal Advisor, Vision Systems Intelligence, also known as VSI Labs. “This conference has been good for us because we meet like-minded people that are facing similar challenges; we talk, we exchange our views, and we learn from each other.”

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Subaru EyeSight Father Returns in Stereo Vision

According to Phil Magney, Founder of VSI Labs. “Eyesight is a pretty solid solution and has been around for some time now.” He added, “Subaru got lots of accolades early on for introducing the forward-facing ADAS solution, which became the cornerstone of Subaru’s safety lineup.”

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Driver Monitoring: 'Shut Up, Mom, I See It!'

VSI has been examining Tesla’s Autopilot for about six months and we definitely see some weaknesses in Tesla’s approach and this leads to system misuse. On the other hand, we recently got some seat time with GM’s Supercruise and we see a substantially different approach. GM’s approach is more rigorous, which is consistent with their conservative implementation

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Siemens to Roll Out New Simulation Platform for Self-Driving Vehicles

Siemens’ end-to-end solution, complete with the ability to feed simulated data to a fusion platform, is believed to be unique in the industry right now. “There are bits and pieces of this out there right now,” Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for VSI Labs, told Design News. “But no one has tried to stitch together and end-to-end solution for automated vehicles.”

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Siemens Making Sense of Autonomous Vehicle Sensors Through Digital Simulation

“Simulation technology is increasingly valuable to developers of automated vehicles as they face mounting pressures to speed development, validation, and performance of their AV solutions,” said Phil Magney, founder and principal for AV researcher VSI Labs. “Siemens now offers simulation solutions for each stage in the development process from sensors, to processors, to sub-systems, to the entire vehicle. Having a greater scope in simulation solutions offers Siemens the ability to play a leading role in the validation and verification of automated vehicle solutions.”

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Robocars: Time to Discuss Safety Validation

Magney says this holds promise for AV developers who might not have had adequate access to computing power or simulation tools. “The key is having access to the computing resources. Nvidia is basically setting up the data center which houses these servers. Customers rent or license seats on these devices which saves them time and money. Furthermore, there is nowhere those developers can go with their simulation needs short of setting up their own servers.” 

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Robocar Testing: It's Simulation, Stupid!

Phil Magney, Founder and Principal at VSI Labs, told EE Times, “Simulation technology is increasingly valuable to developers of automated vehicles as they face mounting pressures to speed development, validation, and performance of their AV solutions.”

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Robo-Uber: What Went Wrong

Phil Magney, founder and principal of VSI Labs, told us, “The fact that the AV stack failed to detect is surprising.” However, he added, “Unless some sensors or features were temporarily disabled for testing or isolating certain functions.” This is the most generous possible interpretation of what might have happened.

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Is Robocar Death the Price of Progress?

Phil Magney, founder and principal of VSI Labs, told us, “This accident comes at an unfortunate time for the AV Start Act, which is trying to make its way through the U.S. Senate.” He explained that the House of Representatives passed a similar bill unanimously in 2017, the SELF DRIVE Act.

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New ICs Put ST in Robocar Race

VSI Labs’ Magney noted, “ST is stepping up in sensors technologies such as radar, camera and Lidar but like other areas, ST is typically a component within a module. In auto, ST Micro is a kind of behind the scenes by supplying selective components that are critical for various applications — such as SiC diodes which are necessary for EVs.”

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Nvidia Partners with Continental on Robocars

“This is one of the first end-to-end production (using all Nvidia stacks) partnerships it made with a tier one,” Danny Kim, director and senior advisor at VSI Labs, told EE Times.

While Kim doesn’t think Continental is locked in with Nvidia, he believes the German company is “betting a lot on Nvidia platforms by investing its resources.”

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Renesas SoC to Double EyeQ5 Efficiency

This reticence led some analysts to believe that Renesas might be more interested in ADAS than aggressively pursuing the nascent robocar market. Danny Kim, director and senior advisor at VSI Labs, for example, wondered if Renesas would consider TI and NXP as more of a direct competitor (with revenue largely earned from lower level safety systems) than Nvidia and Intel.

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Lack of Vision Among Robocar Visionaries

After the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for VSI Labs, noted that “for the first time in the history of V2X, more people were talking about 5G than DSRC.”

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Did Tesla Flunk ‘Interpretation' Test?

Details remain sketchy and there are a lot of unanswered questions, since Tesla and authorities have gone mum. Nonetheless, Tesla holds the key to data that could reveal what exactly happened. “Tesla can give NTSB a ton of information because of the black box recording they do with those vehicles,” said Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for VSI Labs.

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Robocars: What We Saw in Vegas

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor of VSI Labs, observed that, especially in autonomous vehicles (AV), “There are endless claims from component suppliers about faster, cheaper, safer, more efficient and more scalable.” Magney cautioned, “This leads to the availability gaps. What gets presented is not necessarily what is available, or even close to available. At CES, everyone is guilty of this.”

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Visteon Works with DNN Vanguard DeepScale

Phil Magney observed that Visteon, as a tier one, is a bit of laggard behind other tier ones that have announced partnerships and AV solutions. But with the DriveCore, he said, Visteon now has “pretty complete solution that allows OEMs to mix and match sensors depending on the applications they are developing.”

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Intel Springs 'Vision-First' Robocar Plan

Phil Magney, founder and principal at VSI Labs, called Intel’s approach “very pragmatic,” when considering the incremental evolution of automated features.

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Nvidia Hails Uber with Robocar Platform

This vertically integrated, “sensor-agnostic” AV strategy presented by Nvidia’s Drive PX platform is ideal for companies targeting Level 4/Level robo-taxis today, observed Phil Magney, founder and principal of VSI Labs. Robo-taxi companies “will rely on an expensive fleet made of cars loaded with all the assets including lidar-based HD maps,” he said.

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NXP Does Robocars -- Without Qualcomm

Considering that NXP has been around the automotive electronics space for a long time, Phil Magney, founder and principle advisor of VSI Labs, observed that NXP understands the important role of tier ones better than anyone. Magney stressed to never underestimate a vital role that tier ones will play in the era of automated vehicles.

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Quad Cam Vision for Robocars Comes to CES

The combination of infrared and day cameras is an intriguing concept. Phil Magney, founder and principal of VSI Labs, told us, “I cannot think of anyone else that has deployed this approach.”

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The Outlook for Robocar Sensors in 2018

In 2017, we saw a host of advancements in perception technologies. “Perception is a major domain within the AV stack and there is so much innovation going on here,” said Phil Magney, founder and principal of VSI Labs.

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What We Learned About Robocars in 2017

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI Labs), told us, “We’ve seen incremental progress for ADAS and additional sensor technologies for Level 2 cars this year. But as for L4 cars? They are moving much faster” than anyone in the industry expected a year ago.

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Minneapolis Tech Company Building Self-Driving Cars: The Best Way to Predict the Future Is Build It

According to Minneapolis-based VSI Labs, the best way to predict the future is to build it. And that is exactly what VSI is doing.

VSI Labs is building its own autonomous car, not to build a better self-driving car, but rather to support the companies that are. Today, VSI works with major automotive companies and suppliers worldwide to help them design and develop automated vehicle systems.

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Intel’s EyeQ 5 vs. Nvidia’s Xavier: Wrong Debate

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), told EE Times that both Intel and Nvidia “are making a bigger deal out of this than may be necessary.” While all this specsmanship was originally about the power efficiency of the rival SoCs, Magney said, “I would expect most L4/L5 vehicles are going to have electric powertrains so the wattage may be a moot point.”

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Rise of Adaptive Driving Beam

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), told EE Times, “I do take an interest in Adaptive Driving Beam even though it is not directly related to automated driving. What is interesting is that ADB requires the same resources as the safety systems, most notably the front facing camera.”

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Velodyne Pads Lead in Lidar Derby

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI Labs), noted, “Lidar’s advantage over other sensors is for every point you have a precise distance measurement. However, the problem with lidar is its relatively low resolution or its ability to distinguish colors.”

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Waymo, Navya Vie In Robo-Taxi

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI Labs), told EE Times, “The rollout is not too surprising, considering the string of news about Waymo lately.”

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Renovo Develops Robocar-Cloud OS

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), believes that Renovo has “a pretty compelling solution that helps bridge some of the gaps in the cloud eco-system.” He added, “The biggest and most ambitious of them is the openness that will take mobility services from a walled garden to an open eco-system.”

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Elektrobit Targets ECU Overload in Cars

According to Phil Magney, “Adaptive AUTOSAR represents a new architecture that will be necessary to support the software-defined functionality of new vehicles.  And to function properly, highly automated vehicles require number-crunching algorithms that will rely on “services” and “data” while at the same time retain the proven dependability of classic AUTOSAR components.”

Case in point are software defined applications where the vehicle periodically receives new software to enable new applications or improve the performance of existing applications.  While this feature is a nice to have now, highly automated vehicles (L3+) will require this approach.

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Nvidia Outpaces Intel in Robo-car Race

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), said, “Nvidia is developing and learning just like everyone else.” However, he added, Nvidia has “put a lot into developing automated vehicle technologies and their efforts are beginning to pay off.  They have essentially democratized AI in automotive, which is to be commended considering the auto industry's position on AI up until now.”

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DeepScale on Robo-Car: Fuse Raw Data

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), called DeepScale’s approach “very contemporary,” representing “the latest thinking in applying AI to automated driving.” “The DeepScale solution enables OEMs and tier ones to build out an AI-based environmental modeling solution without having to train their own networks and write their own algorithms,” he summed up.

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Robo-car Early-Birds Flock Together

Phil Magney, founder of VSI Labs, said that VSI's event illustrated the “changing balance of power” in the new field of automated vehicles (no longer dominated by big auto), while proving that “the ecosystem of new mobility has many new constituents.”

EE Times thumbnails a few VSI discoveries, what we overheard at the event, and brief interviews with a few of the movers and shakers in the autonomy world. 

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Driverless future gets put to the test at St. Louis Park event

Featuring rides in semi-autonomous vehicles and presentations about the technology, the event came amid a growing conversation in Minnesota about the challenges and opportunities of self-driving cars. It was hosted by VSI Labs, a St. Louis Park-based consulting firm that researches and tests self-driving technology.

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Siemens Doubles Down on Automotive Simulation

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), told EE Times, “This is pretty important acquisition for Siemens because simulation is such as important element of automated vehicle solutions.” He believes that the Tass portfolio “helps companies at various phases in the development of automated vehicle functions.” 

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Intel Probes Man Machine Trust

L4 Trust “is where the challenges lie for human trust, and trust concerns not only the passengers, but surrounding actors as well (passengers in other vehicles, pedestrians on foot, cyclists, etc.).” according to Phil Magney of VSI.  Magney is saying that the automotive industry will need several iterations of trial and error before it can build a reasonable in-vehicle trust with passengers. When it comes to out-of-vehicle trust, though, nothing is ready yet.

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Ford Motor Company: Data and the future of autonomous vehicles

The technology needed to bring autonomous vehicles to life is complex. For example, the following market landscape, from Vision Systems Intelligence, includes these components: Processing, Sensors, Connectivity, Mapping, Algorithms, Security/Safety, and Development Tools.

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Security a Must for Auto GbE Switch: Marvell to roll out 'purpose-built' switch for automotive

VSI’s Magney called the IEEE effort “very important.” IEEE 802.3ch is an amendment to IEEE Standard 802.3 which addresses physical layer specifications and management parameters for greater than 1 Gb/s Automotive Ethernet. “802.3 does not currently support rates greater than 1 Gb/s in the automotive environment,” he noted.

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Fatal Tesla Crash: That’s Not All, Folks

VSI’s Magney was most impressed with Tesla’s Over-the-Air (OTA) capabilities. He noted, “Based on our examinations, it is my opinion that the Tesla vehicle architecture is a proxy for future vehicle platforms.” He noted, “Albeit Tesla is a maverick in this space, their OTA architecture plus event handling and data recording is vital for proper Autonomous Vehicle management.”

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Nvidia Deals Tilt Robo-Car Race

VSI is currently engaged in developing an automated vehicle for its own research purposes. Magney said, "The development of AV functions is very difficult, as we are learning for ourselves. Stitching together all the code bases, synchronizing sensors, calibrating torque signals, controlling latencies, etc. takes massive investments in engineering resources."

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Elektrobit und NXP kooperieren beim autonomen Fahren

"Die Entwicklung automatisierter Fahrzeugfunktionen ist aus vielen Gründen sehr anspruchsvoll. Eine der anspruchsvollsten Aufgaben ist die Zusammenführung von Software-Komponenten mit der Zielplattform. Die Verfügbarkeit von robinos für die BlueBox bedeutet, dass Anwendungen über die offene Schnittstellenspezifikation auf der Hardware ausgeführt werden können. Das spart Zeit und ermöglicht eine zuverlässige Funktionalität ", sagte Phil Magney, Gründer von Vision Systems Intelligence (LLC).

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Elektrobit and NXP Join Forces on Automated Driving

"One of the most challenging tasks for automated vehicle development is interfacing software components with your target platform. The availability of EB robinos for NXP’s BlueBox means that applications can be run on the hardware via the EB robinos open interface specification. This saves time and enables a proper buildup of functionality,” said Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor at Vision Systems Intelligence, LLC.

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TI's Shrewd Robo-Car Strategy

Phil Magney, founder and principal advisor for Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), noted, “TI does not subscribe to massive architectural overhauls.” He pointed out, “For TI, it is all about incremental ADAS features which become the enablers to automation. TI is not concerned with L4 and L5 at the moment. In time their architectures will support advanced levels of automation but for now they are targeting automotive safety and convenience features because that is where the money is.”

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Toyota Going Open-Source in '18 Camry

Danny Kim, a director and partner at Vision Systems Intelligence (VSI), partly agreed. He noted, “AGL’s regional dominance would likely be limited to Asia (or Japan) at the beginning, just like Genivi was to Europe.” However, he described Toyota’s announcement as “a significant endorsement for the standard to be successful as any standardization needs to be led by a major OEM.”

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Robo-car Redraws Auto Landscape

Magney likes to analyze the autonomous vehicle platform at a more granular level, though, by breaking it into chunks, which he describes as “AV (autonomous vehicle) stacks.” AV stacks include pieces like perception, localization/planning, decision/behavior, control and connectivity & I/O, according to his definition. Pushing each of these AV stacks are often major chip companies, said Magney. “And they drive partnerships.”

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Toyota Selects Nvidia, Intel Feels Heat

Phil Magney, founder and principal at VSI (Vision Systems Intelligence), told EE Times that among Nvidia's growing list of automotive partners, some are pilot programs while others are in production. “In the case of Toyota this is a production deal to use the Drive PX (or elements of it) to improve automation and safety in future vehicles.”

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Baidu Battles Google in Robo-Car Derby

"Baidu could have millions of autonomous vehicles using their cloud based Automated Vehicle platform,” Magney said. “Their platform essentially becomes the operating system for managing seas of vehicles sort of like the ‘Internet of Vehicles,’ allowing autonomous vehicles to move seamlessly together.

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Taiwan Eyes Automotive Market

Magney doesn’t think there will be a major disruption in the supply chain. He said, “The big tech companies have been turning to traditional auto suppliers lately for their integration of safety critical systems or other challenging elements of building a vehicle. Taiwan needs to build the integration of safety critical components and strict functional safety practices. Sure, Taiwanese companies may move up the value chain and have the capacity to handle safety elements out of context (SEooC), but a complete system is another matter.”

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Unresolved Issues Facing Robo-Cars

VSI believes AI has the ability to train driverless cars to behave more like people who sometimes, counterintuitively, use “a little bit of aggression to enable an opening to merge into, for example.  Furthermore, data will remain “a big gap.” For AI to be acceptable you need enormous amounts of data to train your behavior models. You can go about collecting as much as you can but you are still not going to be able to test for all edge cases, nor would it be feasible in a safe way. So you have to turn to simulation data in this case.

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Renesas ‘Opens’ Autonomy for Cars

Renesas Electronics emerged from a prolonged silence with a bang Wednesday morning (Japan time), heralding the launch of Renesas Autonomy, a newly-designed advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving platform. VSI explained, “It is a collection of all the processing nodes that make up the ‘AV (automated vehicle) Stack.’ In the case of Renesas they already had some good assets going in to this with their vision IP, their safety controllers, and their diverse collection of eco-system partners.”

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Daimler, Bosch have chosen Nvidia as their partner

The Daimler – Bosch deal announced earlier this week, however, has brought some clarity. Daimler and Bosch said Tuesday (April 4) that they’re partnering to accelerate the production of "robo-taxis.” VSI states, "the building blocks for automation are out there as the push from the tech community has shown. The real challenge is the integration into a total automotive ready platform. There are so many domains within the AV Stack (perception, behavior, control and safety) and nobody owns all those pieces. This is why we see a flurry of activities related to centralized domain control for highly automated driving."

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Mentor in Robo-Car Race with Mobileye, Nvidia

Mentor is rolling out an automated driving platform called DRS360, designed to “directly transmit unfiltered information from all system sensors to a central processing unit, where raw sensor data is fused in real time at all levels,” the company said. Phil Magney, founder & principal advisor at Vision Systems Intelligence, told us, “Sensor fusion is a complex task and doing it with RAW data makes it even harder.” Raw data fusion, Magney explained, enables consolidation of computing resources into a centralized systems more efficiently, despite greater challenges in algorithm integration.

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Uber Rollover in Arizona Points to More Testing

Uber Technologies grounded all of its driverless cars deployed in pilot programs in Tempe, Arizona, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, after a crash Friday in Arizona. “As a general rule, autonomous vehicle systems have to get exposed to as many scenarios as possible. Some of this is only practical in simulation as this situation points out.” 

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Intel Rocks World with $15B Mobileye Buy

As Mobileye’s Dagan explained, autonomous driving needs two complementary technology solutions. One is something like the black box Mobileye has developed for computer vision. Mobileye added more logical layers while the solution itself has become a less configurable and less open computing platform. It’s dense and more power efficient.

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9 Startups with Self-Driven Future (Maybe)

Until 10 days ago when Ford announced a $1 billion investment in Argo AI (Pittsburgh), it was just another anonymous tech startup. And it was really new. Argo AI was founded only last November by two AI robotic experts (Bryan Salesky originally from Google, and Peter Rander from Uber). The company cleverly avoided notice entirely, until Ford came calling.

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Are we getting HMI issues right?

The U.S. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found no defects in Tesla’s Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Autopilot systems. But was that ODI finding, that “braking for crossing path collisions… are outside the expected performance capabilities of the system,” well understood by Tesla drivers?

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What Driving Policy means for autonomous cars

At CES 2017, Mobileye’s co-founder, CTO and chairman Amnon Shashua, has discussed the “three pillars of autonomous driving”–namely, sensing, mapping and driving policy, and how the company is addressing all three. Shashu defined “Driving Policy” as based on “deep network-enabled reinforcement learning algorithms.”

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Predictive vs reactive: Robo-car trends at CES 2017

How best to apply AI for safety in automated driving is a major conundrum for researchers and design engineers the world over. Gil Pratt, CEO at Toyota Research Institute, said his team is working on two tracks of research called Guardian—which basically assists the driver in situations that require quick response—and Chauffeur, which is closer to autonomous driving.

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Facet Technology Launches Its Safe and Secure LiDAR™ Crosstalk Elimination Licensing Program

Industry expert Phil Magney, Founder & Principal Advisor at Vision Systems Intelligence, says “There is a growing awareness in the industry of the LiDAR crosstalk problem. Suppliers are trying to determine the safest and most cost-effective means to manage this issue. Quanergy has announced that they are taking a leading position in solving this problem by leveraging a multi-bit encoding technique for their 2017 solid state product.”

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'Open Source' Robo-Car in '17?

The year 2016 opened the door to a new phase of highly automated driving, moving the discussion away from “wouldn’t it be nice-to-have-a-robo-car” to a more immediate “to-do list” with which regulators, car OEMs and technology companies must grapple if they hope to make self-driving cars commercially viable and safe.

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New Software Aims to Speed Development of Autonomous Cars

A global automotive supplier thinks carmakers are wasting too much time developing software that runs autonomous technology. In working with clients, engineers at Elektrobit, a subsidiary of Continental, say automakers have become adept at creating stand-alone features like adaptive cruise control and active lane-keeping assist.

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