In this QUBE interview we hear from Delphi's Wilhelm Steger, chief executive, Delphi Germany, managing director Delphi Infotainment & Driver Interface Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Addressing Delphi's recent international electronics and safety event at Porsche's test track in Leipzig, Wilhelm Steger and his specialist team for the connected car outlined Delphi's current and future technology solutions for vehicle connectivity.

just-auto spoke with him and his colleagues about the opportunities and future challenges associated with connecting the car and driver car to car (V2V) and car to infrastructure (V2X).

j-a: You have outlined three megatrends that you see keeping our planet safe, green and connected. Can you explain what you mean by these?

WS: Yes - Safe: As traffic congestion in major metro areas becomes worse there will be more accidents, longer commutes and higher stress levels. Green: Fast growing economies will lead to more fuel required for mobile platforms. Demand for electrical energy and related conventional resources far exceeds current capabilities. Connected: Global demand for broadband access will continue to grow.

j-a: How will Delphi address customer technology needs with respect to these megatrends?

WS: Safe will be met by providing occupant safety through systems development and design and addressing government regulations, Green by providing the latest hybrid electric vehicle technology, reducing mass and product assembly with innovative green design and Connected through offering products that provide information, convenience and protection and innovating to address global and regional trends.

j-a: ...and how will you seek to deliver these solutions?

WS: We are a leader in vehicle systems development and integration. We have advanced expertise in silicon, software and systems, and significant and protected intellectual property. We also collaborate extensively with industry, government and education.

j-a: You have stated that it is your ultimate goal to create a "cocoon of safety" around the vehicle. How will you achieve this?

WS: We will achieve this through advanced safety technologies. Systems development and integration is important as is flexibility to address global demand for safety products. Game-changing technology is bringing affordable safety enhancements for broad application. In the active safety area we are focussing on products for front, rear and side detection, radar and vision sensing and sensor fusion. Connectivity is important in bringing these technologies and driver information and entertainment to the vehicle. We have a portfolio of software and services to enable this. These include MyFi, OBD2 connectivity, workload management and cloud service.

My colleague, Sven Kopetzki, Advanced Engineering will outline the connected vehicle as the pathfinder for cooperative mobility.

SK: Research in the US shows that the vast majority (75%) of accidents are the result of driver distraction. Car to car communications would help reduce the number of accidents. At present we have the video and radar technology to detect blind spots using sensors, but we can not see what is in front around the bend. Through car to car and/or car to infrastructure connectivity we can address this. By making the car a communications centre we can switch to distributed sensor-fusion bringing remote information in to the car. This gives us the capability to improve allround safety. Through using this technology, information can be captured and transmitted to other cars and infrastructure networks from an increased detection range. For example current on-board sensors have a limited range of up to 200 metres whereas V2V communication can extend this to 2,000 metres. Mobile networks extend the range even further.

j-a: How will this car-to-car communication work across the different vehicle brands?

SK: Standards define multiple communication possibilities. Standards across Europe are now common so VW, GM and other manufacturer's vehicles can communicate with each other.

j-a: Can you describe some of the applications that can be implemented by combining mobile networks and car to car communication?

SK: Hybrid communication offers a wide range of applications. Mobile networks enable infotainment through cloud services, traffic information, remote navigation, software downloads and remote diagnostics. V2V communications enable intersection warning, forward collision avoidance and lane change warning. For example forward collision avoidance is possible through receiving the information that a vehicle in front - which may not be visible - is braking. This information can be delivered by integrating the technology into the infotainment system with the head unit used to alert the driver to the danger ahead. This system can be expanded to add navigation and ADAS systems - it is just a matter of processing power. In Europe the Car to Car Consortium which is made up of vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and universities are all working together to expand common standards to enable this.

With this proliferation of technology in the vehicle, ease of use and driver overload/distraction must be key issues for connecting with safety. In order to understand the HMI and vehicle control systems being developed for safer use, just-auto spoke with Delphi's, Rudolf Hammert, manager Product Management/Product Marketing.

j-a: How are you addressing the possible driver information overload situation?

RH: With more and more functionality in the car driver distraction is a huge problem. Today's vehicles offer advanced HMI and vehicle control systems. These include:

  • advanced steering wheel and centre stack controls;
  • dynamic instrument cluster and remote displays;
  • centre stack with multi touch and proximity sensing and;
  • advanced voice recognition - natural and txt/speech/txt.

Adding functionality is not enough. We have to achieve the optimum driver vigilance position. Avoiding both over and under driver stimulation is essential. Active HMI plays a major role in maintaining driver vigilance.

j-a: What are the key elements of active HMI?

RH: The "Workload Manager" function collects and analyses vehicle and driver information to actively manage the HMI. Driver state monitoring provides "closed loop" control of the distracted driver countermeasures.  Situation based HMI enables maximum safe utilisation of the infotainment system features. Information is captured through using cameras and sensors to determine the situation in the vehicle and how the driver is behaving - for example feeling drowsy. The Workload Manager combines: Data Fusion, Risk Assessment, Distracted Driver Assessment, and Connection to braking, engine and steering functions.

j-a: how is active HMI implemented?

RH: Let me give you an example. We need to ensure the HMI system has the right design: Reconfigurable displays need to be positioned in the driver's field of view. The right information must be available in the right place at the right time. The right connectivity: Internet connectivity and app store provides "smart phone" experience designed for the car and the right intelligence: ADAS external situation awareness, threat analysis, and active HMI help ensure the driver's attention is on driving. For example, if a driver is distracted a flash of light comes up on the windscreen. This can be offered as a relatively low cost package by combining radar and camera technology. A cloud based voice recognition system can be used by the driver to respond.

j-a: Can you summarise the current and future situation with regard to Connecting with Safety?

RH: Drivers expect connectivity solutions in their vehicles. Current distracted driver mitigation systems are essentially "open loop" and focus on feature suppression. Advanced driver assistance systems and technologies are mature and are making a difference. Active HMI offers "closed loop control" with verification of the distracted driver countermeasures for all potential scenarios. Workload management and active HMI ties Connectivity and Safety together. This is the next step in terms of technology development.

See also: QUBE connected vehicle technologies intelligence service (annual subscription)

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