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ADAS is all about Sense, Plan, and Act for safe mobility, ET Auto

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In mature markets in the early 2010s, global brands had Level 2 ADAS restricted to the flagship products.

New Delhi: Globally, there has been an enhanced focus on road safety over the past decade. Safety today has undeniably moved to the very top of the customer consideration list when purchasing a car, and automakers have been introducing attractive technological features to secure their products. Since its inception, autonomous driver assist systems (ADAS) have been aiding safe driving. This technology has varying levels ranging from Level 0 (no automation) up to Level 5 (full vehicle autonomy) In mature markets in the early 2010s, global brands had Level 2 ADAS restricted to the flagship products. From the early 2020s, with improved advanced computing and chipsets coming in at affordable prices, the scale improved, and penetration for these systems trickled down even to mass-market brands. The same is seeing mirrored in India with the first premium vehicles (>INR 30 lakh segment) seeing penetration in the 2020 timeframe, however, the trickling down to other segments is anticipated at a much faster rate than the global trajectory. This technology is expected to enter the sub-INR 15 lakh segment within 2 years. But what exactly are these systems, how do they work, and how can we use them the best way? Here is a concise guide to help you understand the key components of ADAS, why it is essential, its realistic challenges and the opportunities that exist, so that we can all collectively make the best of this exciting new feature that promises to revolutionize car safety.

Key components

The majority of ADAS systems now being used in mass-market vehicles combine radar and camera-based perception. To address market-specific use cases, such systems often evolve through increased market-specific training and the development of vision systems. For instance, the environment in underdeveloped nations may differ greatly from that in markets with developed infrastructure and stricter enforcement of traffic laws.

Additionally, a variety of imaging and perception technologies are being used more and more to enhance system capabilities. Examples include incorporating multiple layers of sensing via stereo and surround-view cameras, LiDAR, and differential-GPS-based localization for robust perception in all environments. Advanced driver monitoring systems help monitor drivers’ alertness, weariness, and controllability.

Vision-only based perception is rapidly becoming more capable of sensing and enabling responses for a much wider range of objects and environmental elements, in addition to the normal object classes like vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, animals, and road infrastructure, thanks to increasing algorithm training. Most existing models with ADAS are based on initial levels of automation, which means that even though this technology will greatly reduce accidental damage, it is also necessary to pair it with human reflexes.

The three phases

ADAS works in three phases of sense, plan and act. In its sense phase, the vehicle perceives and analyses its surroundings. Subsequently, in its plan phase, it processes the information and prepares a driving strategy. Finally, in its act stage, it alerts the driver to take necessary measures, and to a degree, utilizes its steering, and braking system interventions to avoid accidents. This tri-step process is the core of ADAS and summarizes exactly how we can make the best of it. Through the car’s camera, radar, ultrasound sensors, and other devices – it will sense, through its intelligence – it will plan, and with its interventions, to some capacity, also act, but the driver must also consciously react with the system through these phases.

Why ADAS ?

When thinking of future-ready safety interventions, ADAS is indeed critical for cars. Far beyond being just a gimmick, ADAS provides real-world solutions depending on varied use-case scenarios. Through significant advancements in simulations, machine learning, and processing technology in cars, ADAS provides intelligent intuition and data-backed processes to alert drivers throughout their journey and interacts with wide-ranging sub-systems to also act, hence covering all grounds.

Consider, for instance, if a collision is about to occur. The Forward Collision Warning in ADAS will provide an audio-visual warning of a probable collision by sensing objects, vehicles, and people from a distance and alerting you just in time to take necessary action. The Autonomous Emergency Braking system, will, if required, apply brakes on its own in time to help prevent the collision in most cases, ensuring safety. Similarly, Lane Departure Warning systems can encourage drivers to stay alert on the road, while features like Blind Spot Detection or High Beam Assistance can automatically identify blind spots and adjust headlights depending on incoming vehicles respectively.

Boosting computing power

Automobile electronics and technology were previously somewhat limited, mostly consisting of infotainment screens and engine management systems. Due to advancements in computing power from allied industries like consumer electronics, automobiles are now equipped with powerful processors that can handle teraflops of data. In modern-day cars, the need for computing power and mobile network requirements has increased significantly with the ACES megatrends.

Autonomous driving has the greatest effect, since it necessitates higher onboard-computing power to analyze massive amounts of sensor data in real-time. Other autonomous technologies, over-the-air (OTA) updates, and integration of third-party services also require high-performance and intelligent connectivity within and outside of the car. The addition of multiple sensors, and cameras with high resolution measuring things like location, performance, physical parameters, and driving behavior, often several times per second could produce data anywhere between 1.4 TB to 19 TB an hour.

The computing power typically referred for ADAS is measured in TOPS (Terra Operation Per Second). The TOPS of a Level 2 ADAS chip is typically between 10 and 100 and will reach 1000+ for Level 5 autonomy. Each level is divided further based on functionality influenced by perception algorithms, motion control, and driving/ perception AI. The major hardware/chip players are moving from processors in vehicles capable of 1 TOPS in 2018 to 2000 TOPS In 2024 to support automated driving and cockpit functionalities.

Challenges and opportunities

From a technological perspective, each level of autonomous driving poses a different set of challenges. The Level 2 autonomy, while now common in the higher-end cars in India, is making the technology affordable, and democratizing this safety element to small cars is a challenge to overcome.

As the levels of autonomy grow further, the challenges grow along with it. The evolution of several sensors/radars/cameras that are a part of the vehicle’s electrical architecture becomes necessary, along with their ability to accurately deal with the varied and unique use cases on Indian roads, including Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs). It is also important to understand that the purchasing power in a market as large as India is still limited and the choice of cars available are still geared towards the lower price segments.

The above challenges create significant opportunities for our talented and undeterred young workers in India who are also exposed to global technologies and know-how. Working on developing a unique resolution to these challenges would give rise to globally competitive systems with the ability to work in any condition across the world.

On the path to a safer future

It is crucial to remember that while current ADAS undoubtedly works for the betterment of all occupants in the car, it certainly is not to resign all control. It is, as mentioned earlier, a very intelligent tool that can substantially secure the vehicle, its occupants, and objects outside the car only if it is utilized in a mindful and responsible manner. In its ‘sense’ phase, it can accurately judge potential threats, but essentially drivers must work with it in the ‘plan’ and ‘act’ phases.

Smart technological interventions like ADAS can go a long way in ensuring safety in everyday driving, and can even encourage positive, mindful driving behaviors by training us to be more aware of our roads. Ultimately, the industry’s endeavor with such promising technologies is to minimize accidents on Indian roads, ushering in a new era of safe mobility.

Disclaimer: Mohan Savarkar is Vice President, Product Line, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Ltd. Views are personal.)

  • Published On Jul 7, 2023 at 01:29 PM IST

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<p>In mature markets in the early 2010s, global brands had Level 2 ADAS restricted to the flagship products.</p>
In mature markets in the early 2010s, global brands had Level 2 ADAS restricted to the flagship products.

New Delhi: Globally, there has been an enhanced focus on road safety over the past decade. Safety today has undeniably moved to the very top of the customer consideration list when purchasing a car, and automakers have been introducing attractive technological features to secure their products. Since its inception, autonomous driver assist systems (ADAS) have been aiding safe driving. This technology has varying levels ranging from Level 0 (no automation) up to Level 5 (full vehicle autonomy) In mature markets in the early 2010s, global brands had Level 2 ADAS restricted to the flagship products. From the early 2020s, with improved advanced computing and chipsets coming in at affordable prices, the scale improved, and penetration for these systems trickled down even to mass-market brands. The same is seeing mirrored in India with the first premium vehicles (>INR 30 lakh segment) seeing penetration in the 2020 timeframe, however, the trickling down to other segments is anticipated at a much faster rate than the global trajectory. This technology is expected to enter the sub-INR 15 lakh segment within 2 years. But what exactly are these systems, how do they work, and how can we use them the best way? Here is a concise guide to help you understand the key components of ADAS, why it is essential, its realistic challenges and the opportunities that exist, so that we can all collectively make the best of this exciting new feature that promises to revolutionize car safety.

Key components

The majority of ADAS systems now being used in mass-market vehicles combine radar and camera-based perception. To address market-specific use cases, such systems often evolve through increased market-specific training and the development of vision systems. For instance, the environment in underdeveloped nations may differ greatly from that in markets with developed infrastructure and stricter enforcement of traffic laws.

Additionally, a variety of imaging and perception technologies are being used more and more to enhance system capabilities. Examples include incorporating multiple layers of sensing via stereo and surround-view cameras, LiDAR, and differential-GPS-based localization for robust perception in all environments. Advanced driver monitoring systems help monitor drivers’ alertness, weariness, and controllability.

Vision-only based perception is rapidly becoming more capable of sensing and enabling responses for a much wider range of objects and environmental elements, in addition to the normal object classes like vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, animals, and road infrastructure, thanks to increasing algorithm training. Most existing models with ADAS are based on initial levels of automation, which means that even though this technology will greatly reduce accidental damage, it is also necessary to pair it with human reflexes.

The three phases

ADAS works in three phases of sense, plan and act. In its sense phase, the vehicle perceives and analyses its surroundings. Subsequently, in its plan phase, it processes the information and prepares a driving strategy. Finally, in its act stage, it alerts the driver to take necessary measures, and to a degree, utilizes its steering, and braking system interventions to avoid accidents. This tri-step process is the core of ADAS and summarizes exactly how we can make the best of it. Through the car’s camera, radar, ultrasound sensors, and other devices – it will sense, through its intelligence – it will plan, and with its interventions, to some capacity, also act, but the driver must also consciously react with the system through these phases.

Why ADAS ?

When thinking of future-ready safety interventions, ADAS is indeed critical for cars. Far beyond being just a gimmick, ADAS provides real-world solutions depending on varied use-case scenarios. Through significant advancements in simulations, machine learning, and processing technology in cars, ADAS provides intelligent intuition and data-backed processes to alert drivers throughout their journey and interacts with wide-ranging sub-systems to also act, hence covering all grounds.

Consider, for instance, if a collision is about to occur. The Forward Collision Warning in ADAS will provide an audio-visual warning of a probable collision by sensing objects, vehicles, and people from a distance and alerting you just in time to take necessary action. The Autonomous Emergency Braking system, will, if required, apply brakes on its own in time to help prevent the collision in most cases, ensuring safety. Similarly, Lane Departure Warning systems can encourage drivers to stay alert on the road, while features like Blind Spot Detection or High Beam Assistance can automatically identify blind spots and adjust headlights depending on incoming vehicles respectively.

Boosting computing power

Automobile electronics and technology were previously somewhat limited, mostly consisting of infotainment screens and engine management systems. Due to advancements in computing power from allied industries like consumer electronics, automobiles are now equipped with powerful processors that can handle teraflops of data. In modern-day cars, the need for computing power and mobile network requirements has increased significantly with the ACES megatrends.

Autonomous driving has the greatest effect, since it necessitates higher onboard-computing power to analyze massive amounts of sensor data in real-time. Other autonomous technologies, over-the-air (OTA) updates, and integration of third-party services also require high-performance and intelligent connectivity within and outside of the car. The addition of multiple sensors, and cameras with high resolution measuring things like location, performance, physical parameters, and driving behavior, often several times per second could produce data anywhere between 1.4 TB to 19 TB an hour.

The computing power typically referred for ADAS is measured in TOPS (Terra Operation Per Second). The TOPS of a Level 2 ADAS chip is typically between 10 and 100 and will reach 1000+ for Level 5 autonomy. Each level is divided further based on functionality influenced by perception algorithms, motion control, and driving/ perception AI. The major hardware/chip players are moving from processors in vehicles capable of 1 TOPS in 2018 to 2000 TOPS In 2024 to support automated driving and cockpit functionalities.

Challenges and opportunities

From a technological perspective, each level of autonomous driving poses a different set of challenges. The Level 2 autonomy, while now common in the higher-end cars in India, is making the technology affordable, and democratizing this safety element to small cars is a challenge to overcome.

As the levels of autonomy grow further, the challenges grow along with it. The evolution of several sensors/radars/cameras that are a part of the vehicle’s electrical architecture becomes necessary, along with their ability to accurately deal with the varied and unique use cases on Indian roads, including Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs). It is also important to understand that the purchasing power in a market as large as India is still limited and the choice of cars available are still geared towards the lower price segments.

The above challenges create significant opportunities for our talented and undeterred young workers in India who are also exposed to global technologies and know-how. Working on developing a unique resolution to these challenges would give rise to globally competitive systems with the ability to work in any condition across the world.

On the path to a safer future

It is crucial to remember that while current ADAS undoubtedly works for the betterment of all occupants in the car, it certainly is not to resign all control. It is, as mentioned earlier, a very intelligent tool that can substantially secure the vehicle, its occupants, and objects outside the car only if it is utilized in a mindful and responsible manner. In its ‘sense’ phase, it can accurately judge potential threats, but essentially drivers must work with it in the ‘plan’ and ‘act’ phases.

Smart technological interventions like ADAS can go a long way in ensuring safety in everyday driving, and can even encourage positive, mindful driving behaviors by training us to be more aware of our roads. Ultimately, the industry’s endeavor with such promising technologies is to minimize accidents on Indian roads, ushering in a new era of safe mobility.

Disclaimer: Mohan Savarkar is Vice President, Product Line, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Ltd. Views are personal.)

  • Published On Jul 7, 2023 at 01:29 PM IST

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