In the quest for fully autonomous vehicles, achieving 360° sensor coverage is a critical milestone, especially for vehicles aspiring to reach Level 3+ autonomy. At this level of automation the necessity of comprehensive sensor coverage is vital to ensure robust and reliable vehicle safety, without driver attention. In this post, we’ll explore various industry approaches to solving the perception challenge, and outline the benefits of our VizioPlex 138 product in providing next generation 360° perception.
The Imperative of 360° Sensor Coverage
360° sensor coverage is crucial for Level 3 autonomous vehicles to ensure complete awareness of their surroundings. This coverage enables the vehicle to detect and react to other vehicles, pedestrians, road signs, and unexpected obstacles, providing a safer and more reliable driving experience.
In today’s market, automakers typically rely on a combination of four different sensing systems to provide a comprehensive 360° view of a vehicle’s surrounding environment.
- LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging): Offers high-resolution 3D mapping of an environment by measuring the distance to objects using laser light. Works best in clear conditions.
- Radar: Provides accurate velocity and range data for objects in various weather conditions.
- Cameras: Offer visual context, crucial for identifying road signs, traffic lights, and other important visual cues. Works best in clear, daylight conditions.
- Ultrasonic Sensors: Typically used for close-range detection and parking assistance.
Since each sensor type has its strengths and limitations, automakers are forced to employ a combination of these sensors to ensure comprehensive coverage and redundancy. However, in doing so, the industry is faced with considerable challenges in creating a scalable system suitable for mass market applications.
Challenges With Existing Systems
- Sensor Integration: Achieving seamless integration of various sensors to create a unified perception of the environment is complex.
- Data Processing: The immense volume of data generated by these sensors requires advanced computing capabilities for real-time processing.
- Weather and Lighting Conditions: Sensors must be reliable under diverse weather and lighting conditions, which is a significant challenge for camera and LiDAR systems.
- Object Recognition: Accurately identifying and categorising various objects (vehicles, pedestrians, animals) remains a challenge, especially in low-light or inclement weather conditions.
- Cost: Integrating multiple different sensor technologies in a single vehicle poses a significant cost barrier for mass market adoption.
Introducing VizioPlex 138
VizioPlex 138 is a unique radar-based solution which offers high-resolution 360° perception, while minimising cost & complexity. Let’s examine how VizioPlex addresses the aforementioned industry challenges:
- Sensor Integration: As a radar-based technology, VizioPlex offers a familiar design which can utilise discreet sensor mountings and locations similar to those used by existing automotive radars.
- Data Processing: VizioPlex leverages powerful on-the-edge compute to provide sensor-level perception capability, dramatically reducing data offload to the rest of the vehicle network.
- Weather and Lighting Conditions: Unlike camera or LiDAR technology, as a radar-based system, VizioPlex is unaffected by low-light or inclement weather conditions.
- Object Recognition: Leveraging Provizio’s 5D Perception technology, VizioPlex provides on-the-edge object recognition capabilities, identifying and categorising objects in even the harshest low-visibility conditions.
- Cost: Despite offering the resolution and 3D mapping capabilities of LiDAR-based sensors, the cost of a VizioPlex sensor is closer to that of a standard radar sensor than even the most affordable LiDAR sensors on the market today.
In addition to addressing the key industry challenges referenced above, VizioPlex offers a plethora of unique advantages over existing industry solutions:
- Low latency: Unlike most market solutions, VizioPlex leverages on-the-edge processing to slash hazard response times from 300ms to under 5ms - an almost 100x improvement! This means vehicles can respond faster to unexpected hazards, ensuring the best possible outcome for passengers.
- Less sensors: Unlike the approaches adopted by many autonomy market leaders, VizioPlex eliminates the need for quad-sensor implementations (Camera, LiDAR, radar, ultrasonics). With high resolution 3D mapping, 350m long range sensing and a 5cm range resolution, VizioPlex can effectively replace both LiDAR and ultrasonic sensors, without compromising performance or safety.
- OTA-updates: With our unique approach to on-the-edge perception, sensor-level updates can be applied over-the-air, enabling enhanced performance and functionality over the lifetime of the vehicle. In addition, OTA updates enable SOTA functionalities, providing automakers even greater flexibility to offer customers a unique purchase experience.
If you’re interested in learning more about our 360 perception solution, visit the VizioPlex 138 product page, where you can find detailed tech specs and demonstration videos. Alternatively, if you’d like to get in touch with us directly, please visit Contact Us.