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Possibility of Fully Automated Vehicles on Indian roads in the Near Future, Farfetched!

Raghunandan KamathTexas Instruments (TI) is holding a tight grip of innovation s for Level 2 of driving automation, or driver assistance. ADAS is today almost ubiquitous in every other vehicle on the road. Monitoring, braking and steering alongside the driver require an increased level of sensing, which comes with additional power, weight and size requirements. In this interview Niloy talks to Raghunandan Kamath, Radar Software Development Manager at Texas Instruments understanding how TI is meeting the most challenging design requirements and ensure confidence every time a driver hits the open road.

ADAS Technology in India?

Statistics show that around 1000 road crashes occur every day in India, of which 90 percent are caused due to human error. Curbing road accidents have always been a major concern, and almost 50 years ago, research and development in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) began its journey to help improve safety standards, along with comfort, convenience, and energy efficiency.

An increasing number of Electronic Control Units (ECU) are being deployed in vehicles for ADAS functions. These ECUs are a combination of Central Processing Units, sensing units and intelligent software that help take required actions and achieve safety goals. Over the years, this has resulted in  vehicles outfitted with cruise control, parking sensors and navigational systems. It’s interesting to note that a small semiconductor chip is at the heart of ADAS technology. This chip has helped propel developments in the areas of warning, breaking, monitoring, and steering systems that can assist drivers and potentially reduce errors. ADAS functions like Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Blind Spot Detection (BSD), adaptive cruise control, Lane Change Assist (LCA) and Cross Traffic Alerts (CTA) are efforts towards building driver and passenger safety.

While we are progressing in the direction of research and innovation in vehicular safety in India, the possibility of fully automated vehicles on Indian roads in the near future, may be farfetched. There are about 6 levels to vehicular automation, and vehicles driven on Indian roads are largely at SAE Level 0 and 2. While Level 5 fully automated vehicles remain a long-term goal, there is a possibility of seeing semi-autonomous vehicles with dedicated lanes in India. For example, certain countries like UAE, Canada and US  have dedicated bus lanes for semi-autonomous buses that could be adopted for India.

This would of course require government regulations, an automotive ecosystem and more importantly an inculcated mindset and discipline in citizens. A gradual adoption of Level 5 vehicles starting with government-regulated public transportation could pave the way for adopting autonomous driving in India.

Texas Instruments India’s (TI) offerings and product portfolio that caters to ADAS?

The Millimetre Wave (mmWave) radar system is a primary sensing modality and can be seen used in several ADAS applications. It has the ability to detect objects ranging from as close as a few millimetres to as far as several hundred meters, with high accuracy when it comes to distance, angle, and velocity. The system’s accuracy rate has been notable even in environmental conditions that challenge visibility like dust, rain, fog etc.

TI’s AWR1x/AWR2x millimetre wave (mmWave) sensor portfolio helps developers create a safer and easier driving experience. This portfolio supports highly precise sensing applications across ADAS, body and chassis, and in-cabin applications. The portfolio scales from a high-performance radar front end (AWR1243, AWR2243) to single-chip radar solutions (AWR1443, AWR1642, AWR1843).

TI’s work around RADAR and ADAS technologies in autonomous cars?

As the market adapts to ADAS and autonomous vehicles, TI’s mmWave AWR1x sensor portfolio of devices supports different ADAS radar-sensor configurations ranging from Ultra Short-Range Radar (USRR ~ 10-15m detections) and Short-Range Radar (SRR ~ 60-100m) to Medium Range Radar (MRR 120- 180m), and Long-Range Radar (LRR ~ 200-250m). The portfolio also supports imaging.

It further enables a smart sensor architecture, where all radar processing occurs at the edge; and a satellite sensor architecture, where the radar sensor sends object data over CAN-FD to a central processor for further processing and sensor fusion.

All these devices come with fully equipped packages that include hardware and software modules that oversee evaluation, development, and production intents. It makes the customer’s turnaround time to market simple and efficient.

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Niloy Banerjee

A generic movie-buff, passionate and professional with print journalism, serving editorial verticals on Technical and B2B segments, crude rover and writer on business happenings, spare time playing physical and digital forms of games; a love with philosophy is perennial as trying to archive pebbles from the ocean of literature. Lastly, a connoisseur in making and eating palatable cuisines.

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