Q&A with Freescale Semiconductor: Advanced driver assistance systems
In this interview, Matthew Beecham talked with Marc Osajda, Automotive Marketing, Freescale Semiconductor about trends in driver assistance systems, dangers of information overload, wonders of traffic sign recognition systems and a world without traffic lights and stop signs.
just-auto: What trends are you seeing in OEMs’ strategies with regard to ADAS functions?
Marc Osajda: We currently observe a willingness to massively deploy ADAS functions in the high volume segments. Radar for collision warning/mitigation systems, lane departure warnings and blind spot detection are becoming available as standard equipment in the C-segment.
What are the most cost-effective driver assistance systems to implement?
Simple park assist functions should be very cost effective. However, the 77 GHz radar technology is also becoming very affordable and enables the deployment of cost effective forward collision warning systems.
Radar-based safety technologies such as advance collision warning and blind-spot detection are becoming common place as optional equipment on new vehicles. While the possibilities to “assist the driver” seem endless, is there a risk of information overload?
The design of the Human Machine Interface will be key as more and more information becomes available. The industry may face a learning curve. Driver feedback will be critical. The worst outcome would be to annoy the driver with constant alarms and warnings.
I remember a story I heard recently from someone who’s not part of the automotive engineering community. He said: “Something must be wrong with my car. I have this yellow ESP light blinking all the time when I’m driving in the snow... I need to get it fixed at the next service station.”
I guess that there is a fine line between helping the driver steer clear from trouble and doing too much?
Yes and helping the driver steer clear from one danger in front of the car may end up creating danger for other vehicles in the side lane. Yes, it’s a very fine line. Making the decision to steer the car without having a perfect understanding of the surrounding vehicle environment is very dangerous in my opinion.
Now that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made collision warning and lane departure alert part of the New Car Assessment Programme requirements for a five-star safety rating, I guess that the market for such technology in North America will grow?
Definitely. As mentioned earlier, we will see a large deployment of ADAS function in the C-Segment.
To what extent does driver acceptance of radar safety systems vary from one geographical market to the next?
Good question. We don’t have any data at present but my analysis would be the following:
Japan has a good acceptance. Japanese people rely on technology, they love robot. Germany also has a good acceptance. People can drive even faster on the Autobahn now that they have collision warning radar.
The US has a mixed acceptance. People who rely on heavy trucks to be safe may be reluctant to adopt the technology however, people that drive smaller cars and family cars could be very fast adopters.
For some time, advanced driver assistance systems were the sole preserve of the luxury vehicle class yet nowadays features such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning systems are being offered on the Ford Focus. How do you see the roll out of such ADAS technologies across all vehicles in Europe?
ADAS is being made available as standard equipment even on the C-Segments. As you have mentioned, the Ford Focus is a great example of a fully-equipped car.
To what extent has the trend toward global platforms enabled new technologies to be introduced in low-tech markets?
I don’t necessarily see a strong correlation between global platforms and low technology markets. The general benefits of a global platform are higher volume, driving the cost down and making solutions affordable for everybody.
As we understand it, traffic sign recognition (TSR) is a relatively new function for camera platforms. While this functionality starts with speed monitoring, could it be developed to embrace other derivatives?
TSR is a very difficult ADAS application. While it’s technically working on the test track, the real usage on roads may not be good enough to provide accurate and usable information to the driver. (Different signage by countries, quality of signage, weather conditions affecting the reading etc.)
I think that communicating traffic sign information to the driver should be done by the navigation system (map) and in the longer term, via Car2infrastructure communication.
With the improvement of ADAS, I guess map data and positioning information of navigation systems require more accurate and extensive location information? e.g. detailed road shape such as curvature, gradient, number of lanes, crossing, lamp, and so on.
Absolutely! This is somewhat similar to the TSR topic above. Most of the information regarding the infrastructure itself should be available from the navigation system. And temporary modification of the infrastructure could be made available to the car ADAS system, thanks to Car2Infrastucture connections.
In an ideal world, if all the vehicles were equipped, you could remove all road signage/indications and rely entirely on the map data, environmental car sensors and car2x data. This might be a long shot, but just imagine cities and roads without traffic lights and stop signs. What a great change this would be to our visual environment.