The AutoTech: Detroit (formerly the TU Automotive) event took place in Novi, Mich. recently and featured about 100 exhibits plus conference tracks on ADAS and autonomous technology, connectivity, and mobility. Also part of the event was the Wards Auto Interiors & UX conference. We had a chance to tour the show floor and in some cases literally kick the tires. Here are some of the noteworthy sights we encountered.
The glamorous interior of an $88.000 EV
One attraction of the AutoTech show floor was that show goers could see winners of Wards Auto’s 10 Best Interiors & UX awards. One winner was the Lucid Air, billed as having a range of 520 miles/charge and able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 sec. Top speed is supposed to be up to 168 mph. The interior sports a 21-speaker Surreal Sound system and Alexa-enabled voice commands. If the $87,400 Air Pure model doesn’t interest you, there’s always the $107,400 Air Touring or $154,000 Air Grand Touring model.
lt’s made out of what??
Continental Industries displayed its Ambienc3 concept car which was designed to show off advanced interior concepts and use of recycled and sustainable materials. One interesting idea: Surfaces that you’d swear were either wood or leather are in fact made from sustainable materials such as recycled plastic. Ambienc3 as well highlighted the integration of buttons and displays directly into the interior surfaces. The speedometer, for example, only appeared when someone touched it. (Left unexplained was why you would want to hide the speedometer from the driver.)
Renesas showed its R-Car S4 platform connected to three infotainment video cameras. This is Renesas’ take on emerging automotive EE architecture. The R-Car S4 supports real-time cores with various drivers and basic software such as Linux BSP and hypervisors. It features eight 1.2 GHz Cortex A55 cores, one 1.0 GHz Cortex R52 dual core (lock-step) and two 400 MHz RH850 G4MH dual cores (lock-step) that deliver up to 27 kDMIPS application performance plus greater than 5.3 kDMIPS real-time performance. Additionally, R-Car S4 complies with ISO-26262 and supports functional safety according to ASIL B and ASIL D.
Centerless wheels for your next EV
Cyclopic in the U.K. demonstrated its Cyclopic drive system platform where each wheel has its own drive unit located in the axle and hub assembly. This architecture makes for some interesting capabilities, as is evident in the video. The car can raise and lower itself, said to be useful for getting close proximity with ground-based induction charging pads and for curbside deliveries and for people who need easy entry/egress. Wheel axles can rotate 90° so urban vehicles can position themselves into cramped parking spaces. Each wheel unit contains three drive motors which a Cyclopic spokesperson said are all off-the-shelf. Not evident here is that each wheel unit has a water cooling line from the central platform.
Who’s in the car?
Vayyar in Israel demonstrated its in-cabin 4D imaging radar which based on a Vayyar-developed chip. This single-chip system replaces seven other sensors and covers three complete seating rows and detects the presence of eight occupants. Features include seatbelt reminders and child detection. The video display at the show was the system in action classifying targets. If it was installed in a real car interior, it would be distinguishing adults from children, babies in blankets, even covering footwells. It also handles intruder detection, optimized airbag deployment, and occupant status.
The software-defined vehicle
There were numerous booths highlighting software-defined vehicle infrastructure. This demo was at the Sonatus stand. Sonatus, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., highlighted its in-vehicle network controller, V2C communication controller, service-oriented communication controller, and in-vehicle network security functions, all aspects of emerging SVD architectures.
Is the driver OK?
What you’re seeing here is transdermal optical imaging at work analyzing my face. This took place at the booth of Nuralogix, based in Toronto. TOI captures images of a subject via a video camera and uses the image to assess the general wellness of the person it sees. To do so, it detects key regions of interest in the face, then examines them for blood flow. Human skin is translucent, so light reflected at different layers below the skin is used to reveal blood flow data in the face. This data gets sent to the cloud for for a prediction of physiological and psychological affects. Results include heart rate, blood pressure, stress, and a guess of your age. In my case, the Nuralogix system guessed that I was 70 years old, which is pretty close.
Look out for that …….!
VSI Labs, based near Minneapolis, provides technical and applied research on the hardware, software and connectivity systems that support advanced safety and automated driving systems. The firm does research, proof of concept testing, and data services for automotive OEMs, Tier 1 & 2 companies, startups, government agencies, and so forth. VSI had one of its test vehicle platforms at the exhibition and showed an interesting loop of a video presumably from one of its tests.