Self driving cars failed 2020

I was had planned to do a long post on self-driving cars a quite long time. I was planning to do one this spring, but I might not do that, because it seems that predictions that self-driving cars would be here in 2020 were far too rosy. Five years ago, several companies including Nissan and Toyota promised self-driving cars in 2020. So it may be wise to take any new forecasts with a grain of salt. Hare is a worth to check out article of the current status of self-driving cars:

Surprise! 2020 Is Not the Year for Self-Driving Cars
https://spectrum.ieee.org/transportation/self-driving/surprise-2020-is-not-the-year-for-selfdriving-cars

In March, because of the coronavirus, self-driving car companies, including Argo, Aurora, Cruise, Pony, and Waymo, suspended vehicle testing and operations that involved a human driver. Around the same time, Waymo and Ford released open data sets of information collected during autonomous-vehicle tests and challenged developers to use them to come up with faster and smarter self-driving algorithms.

It seems that the self-driving car industry still hopes to make meaningful progress on autonomous vehicles (AVs) this year, but the industry is slowed by the pandemic and facing a set of very hard problems that have gotten no easier to solve over the years.

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29 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Texas Instruments Plans to Build Up Inventory as Uncertainty Looms
    https://www.electronicdesign.com/technologies/analog/article/21129568/texas-instruments-plans-to-build-up-inventory-as-uncertainty-looms?utm_source=EG+ED+Analog+%26+Power+Source&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CPS200417065&o_eid=7211D2691390C9R&rdx.ident%5Bpull%5D=omeda%7C7211D2691390C9R&oly_enc_id=7211D2691390C9R

    Chief executive Rich Templeton said sales of chips used in cars declined in the mid-single digits and decelerated last month as customers shut down production and demand cratered. Moreover, sales to the smartphones industry dipped in the double digits.

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Automotive
    The U.S. FCC has been planning to carve out and auction off some of the spectrum reserved in 1999 for automotive safety communications — such as vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure communications. The automotive industry has never fully been able to use all the spectrum and has disagreement among the ranks which technology to use. The automotive industry is still pushing to hold onto the spectrum, according to a Bloomberg article.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-20/fcc-chief-moving-to-revoke-airwaves-rights-granted-to-automakers

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kirsten Korosec / TechCrunch:
    Ford says it is delaying the commercial launch of its self-driving vehicle services being developed with Argo AI to 2022, to reassess its strategy amid COVID-19 — Ford said Tuesday it will delay plans to launch an autonomous vehicle service to 2022, as the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted …

    Ford postpones autonomous vehicle service until 2022
    https://techcrunch.com/2020/04/28/ford-postpones-autonomous-vehicle-service-until-2022/

    Ford said Tuesday it will delay until 2022 plans to launch an autonomous vehicle service, as the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the company to rethink its go-to-market strategy.

    The news was shared as part of Ford’s quarterly earnings, which was released after the market closed Tuesday. Ford reported a $2 billion loss in the first quarter compared to a profit of $1.1 billion in the same period last year. The company warned that losses during the second quarter will widen as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt its business.

    Reply
  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Can Electric Cars on the Highway Emulate Plane-to-Plane Refueling?
    https://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/energy/batteries-storage/will-electric-cars-on-the-highway-emulate-airtoair-refueling

    Maybe it’s no April Fool’s joke. Maybe sharing charge is the way forward, not just for electric cars and trucks on the highways but for other mobile vehicles. That’s the brief of professor Swarup Bhunia and his colleagues in the department of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida, in Gainesville.

    Reply
  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Autonomous Driving Claims Send BS Meter to 11
    https://www.eetimes.com/autonomous-driving-claims-send-bs-meter-to-11/

    As a skeptic covering the automotive industry, anytime I hear a prediction for something happening in the next two or three years, my thoughts turn to the movie This is Spinal Tap and my BS meter goes to 11.

    The timescale is beguiling: Near enough to get the kudos now, but sufficiently distant so that everyone has forgotten about the prediction in three years. Some celebrity CEOs have played this game for years.

    This might work for a tech company pitching a vision for consumer electronics at CES — where frankly anything goes — but in automotive there is a major problem: A testing and validation process lasting two to three years. Listening to a CEO boast that their widget is going into mass-market series-production vehicles in the next two or three years, my first thought is always: Show me the working prototype now, or stop wasting my time.

    Reply
  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Under the Hood: What Audi A8 Has Taught Us
    https://www.eetimes.com/under-the-hood-what-audi-a8-has-taught-us/

    The teardown conducted by System Plus provides valuable insights into a few questions:

    What does it take to pull off a Level 3 car?
    What’s included in the A8 sensor suite?
    How much processing power does a Level 3 car require?
    Is it GPU, SoC, CPU or FPGA driving Audi’s central driver assistance controller called zFAS?
    How much does zFAS cost?

    It can be instructive how Audi achieved Level 3 functionality using chips that had been on the market, and were already tried and tested in other applications, especially in comparison with Tesla, which two years later (2019) launched its “Full Self Driving Computer” board which relies heavily on two home-grown self-driving chips.

    System Plus teardowns include analyses that go beyond simply reverse engineering and identifying hardware elements. The firm also performs “reverse costing” — estimating how much it must have cost a company to source specific components and build its products. System Plus’ reverse costing of the A8 shows that 60% of the cost of zFAS — estimated to be $290 — is driven by the cost of semiconductors. This is hardly startling, since 80 to 85 percent of the content in modern cars is electronics. That wasn’t the startling thing about the costs, however.

    Margin
    The real shocker to car OEM, said Romain Fraux, CEO at System Plus Consulting, is that no automotive companies were mentally prepared to pay a 50 percent margin per component — as charged by Nvidia, Intel and others for their flagship chip solutions. This opened the door to a whole new world for automotive OEMs, prompting them to rethink the calculus of highly automated vehicles.

    The System Plus teardown/cost estimate does not include the cost of software development for automated vehicles. However, the use of an FPGA (Altera Cyclone) inside zFAS shows Audi’s attempt to preserve the own software assets it had already developed.

    Over the last 18 months, some leading OEMs have begun hinting their desire to design their own autonomous vehicle chips, a la Tesla. This approach enables them to control their own destiny in terms of hardware and software development. However, given the high cost of chip designs, it’s far from clear if car OEMs are better off going it alone.

    Another important aspect of A8 is that Audi brought to the market the first commercial vehicle, among all the car OEMs, to show a path to autonomy.

    Reply
  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Who Owns A Car’s Chip Architecture
    https://semiengineering.com/who-owns-a-cars-chip-architecture/

    Carmakers and their suppliers compete for dominance, creating challenges across the electronics industry.

    Reply
  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Great Auto Race Goes Internal
    https://semiengineering.com/the-great-auto-race-goes-internal/

    Competition is growing from within the supply chain as companies vie for differentiation.

    Reply
  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Solid-State Battery Tech for Electric Cars: Key to Greater Autonomy
    https://www.electronicdesign.com/power-management/whitepaper/21130936/solidstate-battery-tech-for-electric-cars-key-to-greater-autonomy?utm_source=EG+ED+Analog+%26+Power+Source&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CPS200505083&o_eid=7211D2691390C9R&rdx.ident%5Bpull%5D=omeda%7C7211D2691390C9R&oly_enc_id=7211D2691390C9R

    With solid-state batteries, electric vehicles should be able to achieve an autonomy (driving range) matching—and eventually surpassing—that of cars with an internal combustion engine.

    Reply
  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Volvo and Lidar-maker Luminar to Deliver Hands-free Driving by 2022
    https://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/sensors/automotive-sensors/volvo-and-lidarmaker-luminar-to-deliver-handsfree-driving-by-2022

    The race to bring self-driving cars to showrooms may have a new leader: Volvo Cars said it will partner with Silicon Valley-based lidar manufacturer Luminar to deliver genuine hands-free, eyes-off-the-road highway driving beginning in 2022. That so-called “Level 3” capability would be an industry first, as companies from Tesla to Uber thus far have failed to meet lofty promises to make autonomous driving a reality.

    Sweden’s Volvo, owned by Geely Holdings of China, said that models based on its upcoming SPA2 platform (for “Scalable Product Architecture”) will be hardware-enabled for Luminar’s roof-mounted lidar system. That includes the upcoming Polestar 3 from Volvo’s new electric-car division, and a range of Volvo-branded cars and SUVs.

    “At that point, your Volvo takes responsibility for the driving and you can relax, take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel,” Green said. “Over time, updates over-the-air will expand the areas in which the car can drive itself. For us, a safe introduction of autonomy is a gradual introduction.”

    Most experts agree that lidar is a critical linchpin of any truly autonomous car. A high-profile skeptic is Elon Musk, who has no plans to employ lidar in his Teslas, and scoffs at the technology as redundant and unnecessary.

    Austin Russell, founder and chief executive of Luminar, disagrees.

    “If cameras could do everything you can do with lidar, great. But if you really want to get in the autonomous game, this is a clear requirement.”

    Reply
  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    https://tiautomotivefundamentals.com/?o_eid=7211D2691390C9R&rdx_ident%5Bpull%5D=omeda%7C7211D2691390C9R

    Welcome to the Automotive Design Center. Here you will find the resources you need for innovation in electronics to help fast track your automotive designs. This hub will be your key reference center for solutions in ADAS, Infotainment & Cluster, Body Electronics & Lighting, and HEV/EV. Learn more to accelerate the future of automotive systems.

    Reply
  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Solid-State Battery Tech for Electric Cars: Key to Greater Autonomy
    With solid-state batteries, electric vehicles should be able to achieve an autonomy (driving range) matching—and eventually surpassing—that of cars with an internal combustion engine.
    https://www.electronicdesign.com/power-management/whitepaper/21130936/solidstate-battery-tech-for-electric-cars-key-to-greater-autonomy?utm_source=EG+ED+Auto+Electronics&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CPS200508054&o_eid=7211D2691390C9R&rdx.ident%5Bpull%5D=omeda%7C7211D2691390C9R&oly_enc_id=7211D2691390C9R

    Reply
  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    More Power to You: The Auto’s Electrical Overhaul
    Sponsored by Texas Instruments: From 12/48-V systems to sensor advances, automotive electrical platforms are undergoing major changes that bring welcome benefits.
    https://www.electronicdesign.com/markets/automotive/article/21130879/more-power-to-you-the-autos-electrical-overhaul?utm_source=EG+ED+Analog+%26+Power+Source&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CPS200513078&o_eid=7211D2691390C9R&rdx.ident%5Bpull%5D=omeda%7C7211D2691390C9R&oly_enc_id=7211D2691390C9R

    Automotive electrical systems are undergoing a major overhaul as a result of evolving vehicle powertrains and related systems. Three major considerations are the new 12-V plus 48-V electrical systems, complex multiple charging systems in electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs), and the growing demand for better sensors to manage the increasingly complex powertrains.

    12/48-V Systems

    Auto manufacturers are beginning to roll out new vehicles that incorporate an updated electrical system based on the addition of a 48-V battery. Over the past years, the constant stream of new electronic systems and features has basically overwhelmed the traditional 12-V battery and system.

    The new automotive electrical system has two power buses—one from the 12-V battery and another from the 48-V battery. The 12-V system powers the lighting, infotainment, and convenience devices like wipers, windows, doors, seats, and mirrors. The 48-V system takes on the heavy loads, such as the starter generator, air-conditioning compressors, active chassis control, electric super chargers or turbo chargers, as well as various pumps. Overall, the new 48-V addition provides an extra 10 kW of power with sufficient excess to handle future useful and desirable subsystems and devices.

    Only a few of the latest vehicles have the new 48-V systems. Audi has its A6 model and Fiat Chrysler offers its RAM 1500 pickup with this system. And Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz will soon deliver new vehicles with this addition. U.S. manufacturers have models under development; you will see the new 48-V features gradually emerge vehicle by vehicle over the coming years.

    Adding the new 48-V system doesn’t make the vehicle a hybrid or full electric. Most cars will continue to use the standard internal combustion engine (ICE). But the new 48-V power will help improve fuel savings with a revised stop/start system as well as more efficient electric turbochargers.

    Taking Charge of Charging

    PHEVs and full-electric EVs have an entirely different electrical system. The heart of these vehicles is the high-voltage battery and the accompanying battery management system (BMS). The HV batteries deliver 400 to 800 V to power the electric motors that drive the vehicle.

    All PHEVs and EVs have an onboard charger (OBC). This unit connects to the ac power line and generates the dc for charging the battery. The ac source may be at home in the garage or at a local charging station. Home ac can be either 120 V or 240 V. With the low-voltage input, it can take 12 to 17 hours for a full recharge. Using an available 240-V line greatly reduces charge time to about four to eight hours. Charging stations are usually called electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE).

    Virtually every possible type of sensor can be found in modern vehicles. Yesterday’s vehicles had NO sensors, but today, the average car or truck incorporates dozens of them. Some of these sensors include:

    Temperature: Thermocouples are widely used in high-temperature applications. However, for less critical and lower-temperature situations, improved thermistors or solid-state sensors are employed because of their superior linearity.
    Pressure: Variable capacitance or variable resistance.
    Fluid level and concentration: Ultrasonic or capacitive-based.
    Position: They provide speed, angle, velocity, and on/off condition
    Exhaust: Chemical-based, RF, mandated to measure emissions.
    Current: Used in virtually all electrical devices and electronic subassemblies in the 12-, 48-, or 400- to 800-V ranges.

    Reply
  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Automotive
    NXP, hypervisor company OpenSynergy, embedded systems ACTIA and Mobica have demonstrated a hypervisor-based telematics control unit (TCU) reference platform for automobiles, using NXP’s i.MX 8QuadXPlus SoC. OpenSynergy provided a virtualization platform COQOS Hypervisor SDK that runs on ACTIA’s telematics reference hardware. Mobica put the whole thing together. TCUs are used for vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications. The hypervisor makes it possible to partition the domains to run on separate virtual machines. “TCUs are expected to play a key role in autonomous Driving,” says OpenSynergy in a press release. “The automotive industry increasingly looks toward the use of hypervisors.”

    Source:
    https://semiengineering.com/week-in-review-auto-security-pervasive-computing-15/

    Reply
  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Autoonkin jopa 8K-videota USBC-väylästä
    https://etn.fi/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10791&via=n&datum=2020-05-20_15:30:06&mottagare=31202

    Autojen viihde- ja telematiikkajärjestelmissä kuvan tarkkuus kasvaa kovaa vauhtia. Nyt järjestelmät skaalautuvat jo 8K-tasoiseen kuvaan asti, kun Diodes Incorporated on esitellyt autoteollisuuden ensimmäisen AEC-Q100 -kvalifioidun DisplayPort Alt Mode -ajurin.

    Piirin avulla voidaan siirtää DisplayPort-signaalia C-tyypin USB-väylän läpi.

    Reply
  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Free whitepaper about an introduction to the vehicle-to-everything communications service V2X feature in 3GPP release 14
    https://www.electronicdesign.com/resources/white-paper/whitepaper/21131491/free-whitepaper-about-an-introduction-to-the-vehicletoeverything-communications-service-v2x-feature-in-3gpp-release-14

    Are you interested in: – C-IST use cases and applications – System architecture – LTE V2X protocoll stack for out-of-coverage communications Synchronize in out-of-coverage V2X scenarios Then read more in our latest whitepaper.

    In this paper you’ll get an overview on the established system, commonly known as the intelligent transportation system (ITS). Further more this paper introduces the V2X feature in release 14 in some detail, and provides hints for more in-depth reading in the References section. A link to the complementary paper on the earlier IEEE 802.11p based intelligent transportation system may also be found there….

    Reply
  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Scale AI releases free lidar data set to power self-driving car development
    https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/22/scale-ai-releases-free-lidar-dataset-to-power-self-driving-car-development/

    High-quality data is the fuel that powers AI algorithms. Without a continual flow of labeled data, bottlenecks can occur and the algorithm will slowly get worse and add risk to the system.

    It’s why labeled data is so critical for companies like Zoox, Cruise and Waymo, which use it to train machine learning models to develop and deploy autonomous vehicles. That need is what led to the creation of Scale AI, a startup that uses software and people to process and label image, lidar and map data for companies building machine learning algorithms.

    Reply
  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    GaN enables efficient, cost-effective 800V EV traction inverters
    https://www.edn.com/gan-enables-efficient-cost-effective-800v-ev-traction-inverters/?utm_content=buffer4afe7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=edn_facebook&utm_campaign=buffer

    The number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road has increased rapidly over the past few years and continues to accelerate. Industry analysts expect 56 million new EVs will be sold in 2040. The electricity consumption that accompanies this growth will rise to 1,800TWh representing 5% of global power, according to Bloomberg NEF’s Electric Vehicle Outlook, and that assumes an associated boost in electric vehicle efficiency, convenient charging infrastructure, and faster charging solutions. Smaller, lighter-weight electronics are key in creating changes for the EV industry and ecosystem.

    There’s no better example of the need for greater efficiency than the main inverter in an EV. Within an electric drivetrain, the traction inverter converts DC current from the electric vehicle’s battery to AC current to be used by the motor to drive the vehicle’s propulsion system.

    For EVs, the semiconductors used in traction inverters have a significant impact on efficiency, power density, and cooling requirements. The three-phase AC motors used in today’s EVs run at voltages up to 1,000V and switching frequencies up to 20 kHz. This is very close to the operational limits of the silicon-based metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) and insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs) currently used in traction inverters.

    These limits arise from properties inherent to the physics of silicon semiconductors, and the structure of the devices themselves. Large IGBTs and MOSFETs have difficulty switching at high frequencies and suffer from switching losses caused by their slow transition between ON and OFF states.

    These limits can be transcended with the use of alternative materials, known as wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, whose characteristics are better suited for high-power, high-frequency applications. There are several promising WBG semiconductor technologies, with gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) being the most mature and commercially-available today.

    Equally remarkable is GaN’s electron mobility, more than 1,000 times greater than Si. This property gives GaN devices half the RDS(on) (on-resistance) per unit area of an equivalent Si-based MOSFET, which results in 50% lower conduction losses.

    GaN and SiC technologies are largely complementary and will continue to coexist. They currently cover different voltage ranges, with GaN devices best used in applications ranging from tens to hundreds of volts, and SiC better suited for supply voltages from approximately one to many kilovolts. For mid- and low-voltage applications (below 1200V), GaN’s switching losses are at least three times lower than SiC at 650V. SiC has some product availability at 650V, but is generally designed for 1200V and higher.

    GaN device manufacturers’ rapid progress in material and process technologies has resulted in significant improvements in both performance and cost of products for high-voltage (800V+) high-power applications, such as electrified vehicles (EVs, PHEVs, and mild hybrids).

    Reply
  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Volvo Makes Significant Step Toward Autonomy with Lidar
    A partnership with Luminar for low-cost Lidar could make Volvo the industry leader in 2022.
    https://www.designnews.com/sensors/volvo-makes-significant-step-toward-autonomy-lidar/160252414962977?ADTRK=InformaMarkets&elq_mid=13107&elq_cid=876648

    Reply
  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Audi A8 with Level 3 self-drive and LiDAR technology
    https://www.eeweb.com/profile/eeweb/articles/under-the-hood-what-audi-a8-has-taught-us?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=link&utm_medium=EEWebEngInsp-20200528

    When Audi launched its redesigned A8 sedan at the end of 2017, the company touted it as the auto industry’s first Level 3 car. The entire automotive industry is still contending with technological issues and unfamiliar cost structures that confronted Audi back then. The teardown conducted by System Plus provides valuable insights into a few questions:

    What does it take to pull off a Level 3 car?
    What’s included in the A8 sensor suite?
    How much processing power does a Level 3 car require?
    Is it a GPU, SoC, CPU, or FPGA driving Audi’s central driver-assistance controller called zFAS?
    How much does zFAS cost?

    Reply
  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Automotive security
    https://semiengineering.com/week-in-review-auto-security-pervasive-computing-17/

    The security vulnerabilities of the automotive CAN bus is no secret. UltraSoC and Canis Labs are now working together to secure the controller area network (CAN) bus, which often connects various safety-critical systems in a vehicle such as brakes, steering, and engine. According to a press release, two companies are combining some of their products — UltraSoC’s IP for detection and mitigation of cyber threats and Canis Labs’ CAN-HG technology to enable designers to design the security into hardware, have a larger payload and includes bus guardian security features, and has the added benefit of being able to carry payloads twelve times larger than standard CAN frames. The main issues with connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) are detecting intrusions.

    https://www.ultrasoc.com/ultrasoc-and-canis-labs-partner-to-secure-the-can-bus/

    Reply
  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The automotive industry is undergoing a lot of change, with conflicting pressure to cut costs, and innovate faster, all while breaking new ground with technologies that are quite different to those that have gone before.  The AUTOSAR Classic Platform is now widely used and proven in traditional ECU’s. Today, as computing power increases, with it the need to process more data, has resulted in the AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform becoming increasingly important.  The complex new functions associated with features in the ADAS domain, and others, bring with them new types of engineers with different skill sets, when combined with the traditional automotive engineering, there is a need to rapidly build up proof of concept tests to confirm development paths. 

    Mentor engineering teams have developed a set of Python bindings to support the rapid prototyping of new functions, running on an AUTOSAR Adaptive Platform ECU, enabling a pathway to support full production development of the software after the concept is proven.
    https://www.mentor.com/embedded-software/events/rapid-prototyping-using-python-api-and-autosar-adaptive?contactid=1&PC=L&c=2020_06_03_embedded_python_autosar_webina

    Reply
  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Driving Automotive Design to the Virtual Space
    Remote work and virtual collaboration accelerate design opportunities in fundamental ways.
    https://www.electronicdesign.com/markets/automotive/article/21133066/driving-automotive-design-to-the-virtual-space?utm_source=EG+ED+Auto+Electronics&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=CPS200601039&o_eid=7211D2691390C9R&rdx.ident%5Bpull%5D=omeda%7C7211D2691390C9R&oly_enc_id=7211D2691390C9R

    The senior manager for model realization at Nissan Design America said his team was able to make the adjustment to “a 100% virtual office” within a day. “It was really not a major disruption from a hardware infrastructure standpoint; the connectivity that we had in place allowed us to react very quickly,” said Struble, whose home office is set up in his garage.

    The shift to working from a virtual office started ramping up about 18 months ago, Struble, recalled, noting that the automotive manufacturer was primarily desktop-based back then. Before the pandemic, connecting with colleagues at Nissan’s headquarters in Nishi-ku, Yokohama or a plant in Sunderland, UK meant scheduling a virtual conference or meeting with at least 24 hours’ notice.

    Reply

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