Electric Vehicles & Autonomy: A Powerful Combination for Greater Safety

July 13, 2021

Dieter Gabriel takes a closer look at lidar in ADAS solutions

The automotive industry is rapidly changing. The increasing use of electric vehicles (EV) is also driving vehicle digitization. When switching to an electric vehicle, customers may naturally expect a higher level of digital convenience, including commerce and entertainments services. The push for technological innovation may further increase the demand for connectivity and shared mobility solutions. Additionally, this endeavor could act as a demand accelerator for more security functions and increase expectations for more Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) functions in general.

From this point of view, it could be assumed that advancing electrification can lead to increasing synergies in the further development of ADAS technology. Both Electric Vehicles and ADAS bring major efficiency and sustainability advantages.

According to a paper released in the MDPI Energies Journal, EV drivetrains are far more efficient than the internal combustion engines used in the vast majority of cars and trucks today. The paper also states that electric power generation and delivery is more efficient than oil extraction, production and delivery needed to fuel gasoline-powered vehicles. This decreases greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants at every level.

As market acceptance of electric vehicles increases, it may be likely that enhanced ADAS solutions will receive more attention from consumers. That’s because ADAS can contribute to more safety for all road users.

A critical component to ADAS and autonomous solutions on all vehicles, including EVs, is lidar technology. In our last article here (vol. 7/ winter 2020), we discussed lidar and ADAS, noting:

“Lidar sensors have the potential to enable automakers to create superior ADAS, addressing edge-cases for current approaches, including winding roads, potholes, on/off ramps and roadways with unclear lane markings. This functionality can be realized in a compact form factor; for example, directional lidar sensors can be situated behind the vehicle’s windshield for streamlined integration, allowing vehicles to maintain their aerodynamic design…

Lidar-powered ADAS is happening now, delivering next level capabilities to protect road users, assist drivers and save lives.”

Let’s take a closer look at lidar in ADAS solutions and how these, including in conjunction with smart roadside lidar, contribute to enhanced safety for all road users.

Lidar sensors are on the path to potentially become a key component of ADAS, helping to enable safer mobility. These sensors can capture high-definition, three-dimensional information, providing vehicles with a more detailed view of their surroundings to maximize roadway safety.

Improving Pedestrian Safety

The majority of pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities occur between dusk and dawn, according to a U.S. Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report. Additionally, during the global pandemic, the U.S. pedestrian fatality rate rose an estimated 20 percent in the first six months of 2020, noted another GHSA report.

Advanced 3D lidar, which can be considered becoming the “eyes” of a vehicle, is capable of performing in a wide variety of lighting conditions. In contrast, cameras may suffer in low lighting and in the dark. For example, whereas cameras may struggle to see beyond a vehicle’s headlights, lidar has the ability to detect a pedestrian or bicyclist at night should either of them enter the roadway. This capability gives the vehicle’s system time to react and avoid a collision. Therefore, it is possible to prevent many deaths and injuries, day and night, by employing autonomous solutions and ADAS that use lidar for perception and object avoidance.

electric vehicles and ADAS
Electric Vehicles & ADAS

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