“Whether it’s the Beijing Auto Show, the Frankfurt Auto Show or the Chicago Auto Show, go to any of the world’s major auto shows and you’ll quickly find that major auto companies are working hard to develop smart, intuitive and connected cars.
Whether it’s the Beijing Auto Show, the Frankfurt Auto Show or the Chicago Auto Show, go to any of the world’s major auto shows and you’ll quickly find that major auto companies are working hard to develop smart, intuitive and connected cars.
“Many of the features that are available in cars today were only science fiction a few years ago,” said Hannes Estl, general manager of TI’s automotive ADAS segment and a senior engineer in automotive electronics.
The emergence of the connected car has opened up ideas for future car development. Despite the distraction of talking on the phone while driving, the cars of today and tomorrow won’t give up on communication – and it’s still evolving. The difference is that the communication will be done by the car.
Connected cars for a smarter driving experience
Connected to the cloud via high-speed cellular networks, automotive communications offer the opportunity for significant improvements in comfort, safety and driving performance. With digital connectivity quickly becoming the norm in the automotive industry, technology is reshaping the personal transportation experience. More and more cars are capable of connecting personal Electronic devices, the home and the vast number of connected objects of the Internet of Things.
“Cars today are more computerized than machines,” says Hope Bovenzi, an in-vehicle infotainment engineer. “There’s a lot of advanced technology in these cars, and now there are even more ways we can make cars more entertaining and safer.”
With the advent of the era of autonomous driving, the digital cockpit system is also evolving. Changes in car interior design allow us to experience increasingly richer streaming entertainment content.
“Imagine, on a long road trip, parents can reverse the front seats to have dinner with their kids, or dim the windshield and watch a movie while the family drives on their own,” describes Hannes .
Self-driving connected cars
These capabilities will be implemented with the deployment of 5G mobile networks, which will greatly increase connection speeds, increase bandwidth and improve communication between vehicles. This change will give full play to the ability of collective cooperation between cars, when a car is brought to an emergency stop due to a fallen tree on the road, it will pass this information to other cars about 1.6 kilometers behind. Or, multiple cars in an area communicate traffic flow conditions or severe weather conditions to each other so they can reroute their driving. At the same time, smart city infrastructure will be gradually deployed, with sensor-embedded light poles that can monitor and alert drivers of vacant parking spaces or bridges that are open to traffic.
“These rich connected features will make our cars safer, easier to drive, more comfortable and more fuel efficient,” Hannes noted. “With high technology, who would want to drive or own a car? Just press a button in the app and a robo-taxi will be waiting for you.”
Smart systems for seamless driving
Today we are going through a series of major shifts, and within a decade we will see even more disruptive and gigantic changes. Innovations in connected technologies and advanced driver assistance systems are intertwined to drive the gradual penetration of autonomous driving systems into the automotive market. This will enable new design paradigms that largely redefine how designers and engineers construct cars, and how they provide entertainment and information to their owners.
Anyone looking to buy a new car in the past few years will be more familiar with the intelligent systems on the market today that assist drivers and help cars sense their surroundings. Adaptive cruise control uses the car’s onboard radar, LIDAR or cameras to sense the road ahead of the vehicle and automatically adjust the speed to maintain a safe distance. The camera feeds back lane departure warning information to the processor, alerting the driver that the vehicle is leaving its lane. The lane keeping system is able to take corrective action to keep the car correctly between the two lines. Image processing and computer vision systems already allow cars to understand road traffic signs and automatically adjust their speed within the legal speed range; if the driver does not see a stop sign, the car will automatically brake. The list goes on.
While precise on-road times are still debated, some experts predict that within the next decade, advanced driver-assistance systems will eventually evolve into highly or fully autonomous driving without the need for a driver. Cars will operate seamlessly in smart cities, driving on the highway without the driver having to put their feet on the pedals, hold the steering wheel or keep their eyes on the road.
The common premise for all of these exciting innovations and people reinventing the future of the car is the most fundamental element – the integrated circuits that Texas Instruments is developing to make it all happen.
“In biology class, students talk about cells as the building blocks of life,” Hope said. “Our integrated circuits are the building blocks of electronic systems, and cars are increasingly using integrated circuits. Times are changing. The world of connected cars is so interesting right now.”
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