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EETE OCT 2015

Autonomous driving not a question of technology, managers say By DChristoph Hammerschmidt rivers who summon their vehicles out of the underground garage with their smartphone and then continue their ride in a laid-back manner while the silicon chauffeur direct the car through the traffic: this scenario could be reality in a few years, shows a representative survey among top managers in the automotive industry carried out by German IT industry association Bitkom in the run-up of the IAA motor show. However, the biggest roadblock preventing that autonomous driving will become reality is not technology, the managers said. According to the survey, 48 percent of the respondents expect that autonomous vehicles will prevail within the next 15 years. 2 percent event think that this will be the case earlier. Only 6 percent expressed scepticism in that they said this way of driving will “never” become commonplace. The survey shows that digitisation will fundamentally change individual mobility and lead to new, hitherto unseen ways of travelling. For instance, the car and the smartphone will merge in terms of functionality. The link between car and smartphone makes it possible, for instance, to lock doors remotely or read out status data from the car, such as fuel level. Cars will become integral part of the digital lifestyle. “The car is no longer be just a means of transportation – it will become a mobile data centre that assumes many tasks for us”, says Bitkom president Thorsten Dirks. The vehicle of the future will also be integrated into an intelligent traffic networks infrastructure that enables them to communicate within milliseconds with fellow cars – for instance if a vehicle ahead crashes. Thus, the receiving vehicle can brake automatically, significantly reducing reaction time. This technology will make traffic flowing more efficiently and help reduce accidents and traffic stalls. 86 percent of the respondents expressed their belief that in ten years interconnected traffic safety systems will lead to significantly fewer accidents. A prerequisite of a smart traffic infrastructure however will be that the vehicles will be capable of transmitting data, for example their exact location, direction and speed. 85 percent of the respondents said they would advocate a legal obligation of vehicles to provide such data, with the majority said that such an obligation should be effective for anonymised data. The transition to connected and autonomous driving is also changing car buyers selection criteria. All respondents agreed that internet connection for cars is becoming a buying criterion. 96 percent said they see that consumers increasingly make sure that the HMI in the car cockpit is compatible with the smartphone’s GUI. Other findings were that the vast majority of respondents regard a connected infotainment system as an important buying criterion. Parking assistance systems, environmental properties, car-to-car based services and integrated navigation services will also gain importance. Most of the enterprises regard the shift as positive; 97 percent see digitisation as a chance while only 3 percent believe that the risks outweigh the chances. The most important roadblock for autonomous driving is not a missing technology component. 83 percent of the managers polled said the lack of legislation regarding liability issues is preventing innovation towards autonomous driving. “Liability is indeed the most controversial issue” commented Dirks. For instance, it is unclear if a software vendor can be held responsible in the case of an accident. “In this point, it is absolutely necessary to provide clarity”, the Bitkom president said. Chip scale optics for GaN-on-Si LEDs Plessey has developed a patented technology for Chip Scale Optics (CSO) based on its GaN-on-Silicon MaGIC LEDs. Chip Scale Optics permits design of light emission angles down to ten degrees direct from the LED. Having the primary optics on-chip eliminates the cost of primary optics typically found in packaged LEDs and chip-on-board modules. Furthermore, it significantly lowers the cost and provides for far greater design freedom for secondary optics within a luminaire. The first off applications include retail spot lighting, hospitality lighting, high and low bays, street lighting and stadium lighting. It is estimated that Plessey’s chip scale optics will halve the cost of these lighting applications. “The CSO technology was originally designed as an on-chip phosphor dam. We realised that the original growth silicon, normally sacrificed during LED production, could be shaped and used to form mechanically robust, MEMS-type features on the emitting surface of a vertical LED. The degree of collimation is controlled in part by the mechanical dimensions of these on chip structures and we have demonstrated emission angles as low as 10 degrees”, explained Plessey’s CTO, Dr. Keith Strickland.” Plessey Semiconductors www.plesseysemiconductors 6 Electronic Engineering Times Europe October 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE OCT 2015
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