ITS World Congress 2014: Exhibits and demonstrations

Development of autonomous technologies and support systems continues

2014/10/07

Summary

Aisin Automated Parking System Demonstration

 The 2014 ITS World Congress was held from September 7 through September 11, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. Much like the previous year's World Congress in Tokyo, there was an emphasis on autonomous driving in both exhibits and technological demonstrations. Honda and Toyota showcased autonomous highway driving systems while other companies had autonomous demonstrations on Belle Isle. This year's ITS World Congress also focused on systems such as cameras and sensors that provide information to a human or autonomous driver. General Motors, Honda and Toyota showed various V2X systems which could provide warnings for drivers. Panasonic displayed a variety of cameras providing detailed vision of areas around the vehicle.

 This report is the second of two reports highlighting the 2014 ITS World Congress. This report focuses on exhibits and demonstrations shown at the 2014 World Congress. The first report provided an overview of a plenary session featuring technology officers from major automakers and suppliers.

Related reports:
ITS World Congress 2014 Detroit

CTO Plenary Session Overview: GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda and suppliers discuss future of ITS

ITS World Congress 2013 Tokyo

Autonomous driving technology beyond reality?

Toyota & Honda demonstrate autonomous driving

"Connected vehicle" becomes a new form of safe driving



New technologies provide drivers with increased road awareness

Cameras:

 Cameras and sensing systems were some of the most prevalent technologies featured at the 2014 ITS World Congress. As automated driving technologies require a method to gather information of a vehicle's surroundings, cameras and sensors are necessary tools in the advancement of ITS.

 Panasonic showcased a variety of cameras and imaging systems at their exhibit. The company's Side View Camera attaches to a vehicle's side mirror and produces high quality images of the blind spot adjacent to the vehicle. Mass production of the Side View Camera began in 2012. Currently, ten vehicle models, including models from Honda, are using the camera system.

 Another system displayed by Panasonic was their Surround View Camera system with sensing features. The system integrates a set of cameras and sonar sensors together with an ECU to detect objects and pedestrians in areas around the vehicle. One of the primary uses of the system is to provide a clear view of a vehicle's surroundings while parking.

Panasonic Side View Camera Panasonic Surround View Camera system
Panasonic Side View Camera Panasonic Surround View Camera sample system


 The most sophisticated camera system that Panasonic had in its exhibit was the Pelican Imaging Array. Notable features of the Pelican Imaging Array include its use of multiple cameras to capture images from slightly different angles and its low cost architecture compared to traditional cameras. The multiple cameras in the system provide depth perception for improved distance and object detection.

 Finally, Panasonic displayed an Intelligent Mirror at its booth. The Intelligent Mirror combines a rear-view mirror with a rear-facing camera attached at the back of the vehicle to provide a clear view behind the vehicle. The camera is able to provide clear images to the driver when the rear-view mirror is normally obscured by poor lighting, poor weather conditions, or objects such as luggage in the rear seat.

Panasonic Pelican Imaging Array Panasonic Intelligent Mirror
Panasonic Pelican Imaging Array Panasonic Intelligent Mirror


 Aisin displayed a similar system to Panasonic's Intelligent Mirror called the See-Through Mirror Monitor. However, Aisin's system utilized a camera system in the rear-view mirror along with a rear-facing camera in the back of the vehicle. These two cameras combine to form a display, where the driver could see the framework and adjust the transparency of the car body, to get a clearer view of the area behind the vehicle. Additionally, the two cameras allow the driver to better judge distances of objects behind the car.

Aisin See-Through Mirror Monitor Note how the transparency level of the car body can be adjusted
Aisin See-Through Mirror Monitor Note how the transparency level of the car body can be adjusted


 One of the key systems in Takata's suite of technologies is its Stereo Vision System. The system includes two cameras and can be used in a variety of driver assist functions, such as lane departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking.

 Continental showed a collection of sensors and cameras used for automated driving assist systems. The collection includes short-range and long-range radars, multi-function front-looking cameras, and SurroundView cameras with 185 degree vision cones to reduce blind spots. All of these systems are managed by Continental's Data Fusion ECU.

Toyota Imaging Lidar
Toyota Imaging Lidar

 Toyota displayed an active Imaging Lidar at its exhibit as an example of the various sensors that were needed for automated driving. The Imaging Lidar operates similarly to a radar, except that it emits lasers instead of radio waves. It then analyzes the light reflected from objects to provide a clear sense of depth and height. As seen on the right side of the live demonstration image, objects closer to the ground (such as legs and feet) are shown in shades of red and orange, while objects higher off the ground (such as heads) are seen in shades of blue and green.

Toyota Imaging Lidar in operation Lidar display
Toyota Imaging Lidar in operation Lidar display

V2X systems

 V2X systems had a significant presence at the 2014 ITS World Congress. The potential of increased safety and driving convenience provided by V2X was shown by both automakers and parts suppliers. Multiple companies had live technological demonstrations or simulators displaying V2X technologies.

 Toyota's driving simulator focused on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technologies used in highway scenarios and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technologies used in urban driving. In Toyota's simulation, V2V technologies were used to alert the driver if he or she was about to merge into a lane and collide with another merging vehicle, if a car ahead of the driver suddenly decelerated, or if there was a traffic jam ahead. In all three cases, the driver's vehicle is communicating and studying the status of other vehicles around it. The V2I systems shown primarily involve the vehicle communicating with traffic signals to determine when a traffic light will change. This allows the driver time to prepare and take appropriate actions such as deceleration or maintaining a constant speed.

List of Toyota V2X systems List of Honda V2V systems used in simulator
List of Toyota V2X systems List of Honda V2V systems used in simulator

 

 Honda showcased a driving simulator that displayed V2V technologies as well as a technology demonstration on Belle Isle featuring multiple V2X technologies. The simulator was similar to Toyota's in that it provided warnings for vehicles in blind spots, sudden braking scenarios, and incoming forward collisions. The simulator also issued warnings for taking curves at high speeds, and for cross-traffic at intersections. Honda's Belle Isle demonstration vehicle also had vehicle-to-pedestrian, vehicle-to-bicycle, and vehicle-to-motorcycle systems which communicated either through a smartphone or an onboard DSRC unit. These systems inform the driver of possible obstacles and approximate the vehicle's distance from the obstacle to determine what kind of warning to transmit.

 On Belle Isle, Visteon displayed its V2V Technology Driving Demonstration. There were three scenarios that were enacted in the demonstration. The first two scenarios involved a stopped vehicle or a vehicle needing to make an emergency stop transmitting information to a trailing vehicle in a line of three cars. Ordinarily, the trailing vehicle would have very little time to react to the actions of the transmitting vehicle as its view is blocked by the second vehicle. With V2V, the trailing vehicle is given the status of the transmitting car and has enough time to either brake or switch lanes. The third scenario involves a vehicle traveling over a patch of slippery road, and then informing the trailing vehicle of a dangerous road condition, again giving the driver enough time to prepare.

GM V2X Demonstration

 General Motors' demonstration on Belle Isle featured three vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) scenarios. The first situation featured a skateboarder crossing an intersection at the same time the test vehicle wanted to make a turn. As the vehicle is about to turn, the system gives an audio and visual warning of the possible collision to quickly notify the driver. The second situation involves the driver and pedestrian traveling in the same direction, but in different lanes. In this case, the vehicle merely gives a visual cue informing the driver of a nearby pedestrian but does not make a sound to distract the driver. Finally, the last scenario involves the driver being in the same lane as the pedestrian and driving at a significantly higher speed. The system gradually escalates its warnings the closer the vehicle is to the pedestrian, from warnings on the center display, to audio cues and flashing lights near the instrument cluster.

 

Interfacing systems:

 While it is important for a vehicle to be able to gather information about the area and conditions around the vehicle, it is also important to provide this information in a useful manner to the driver. At the 2014 ITS World Congress, companies displayed components that help communicate information to the driver.

 Denso displayed an interactive communication cockpit with both a Head-up Display (HUD) and communication device. Both of these systems allow the driver to maintain focus on the road, as any relevant driving information would be displayed directly onto the windshield or mentioned through audio.

 

Denso Interactive Communication Cockpit List of systems and technologies used in cockpit
Denso Interactive Communication Cockpit List of systems and technologies used in cockpit


 Denso also showed an Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) locator prototype. The ADAS locator uses sensors and previously gathered map data to provide information about roads beyond a driver's visual range. The ADAS locator is also useful in providing blind spot information.

Denso ADAS Locator prototype Sample display of information provided by ADAS Locator
Denso ADAS Locator prototype Sample display of information provided by ADAS Locator

 

Sample display of Toyota HMI
Sample display of Toyota HMI

 An image of Toyota's Human Machine Interface (HMI) working in conjunction with an on-board unit and antenna used for communicating with infrastructure was shown. The HMI essentially works as an enhanced instrument cluster in that both provide the same information such as speed, fuel levels, and gears. However, Toyota's HMI also provides driving recommendations based on V2X information, such as when to decelerate or brake. The HMI also takes up much less space compared to a standard instrument cluster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 At Aisin's exhibit, an Augmented Reality (AR) lane guidance prototype was on display. The AR lane guidance system uses cameras to capture an image of the road. Combined with information from a navigation system, the AR lane guidance system superimposes arrows onto a display directing the driver into certain lanes. The intuitive nature of the system helps reduce the amount of time the driver spends looking away from the road.

Aisin AR lane guidance prototype Close-up of AR display screen
Aisin AR lane guidance prototype Close-up of AR display screen

Panel of Aisin Human-Friendly Mobility Supporting Child Safety demonstration
Panel of Aisin Human-Friendly Mobility Supporting Child Safety demonstration

 
 Another Aisin demonstration that was showcased on Belle Isle was titled Human-Friendly Mobility Supporting Child Safety. In the demonstration, a car would drive around a course that featured a high number of pedestrians. When approaching an area with multiple children for example, the car display, using video captured by the front-facing camera, would superimpose warning signs over the children and outline them in red.

 Visteon's exhibit had a number of cockpit designs for passenger cars including the Fusion Cockpit and Oasis Cockpit Concept. The Fusion Cockpit integrates a number of systems such as infotainment, cloud information and driver information into a single platform. A driver can then organize his or her display to personalize how information is viewed. The Fusion Cockpit uses multiple hardware cores such that each system is operated in parallel with the other systems.

 Visteon's Oasis Cockpit concept represents a future in which a vehicle is always online and connected. The concept features systems that allow drivers to personalize the vehicle with various user interface options and vehicle settings. The Oasis cockpit also contains security measures to prevent unauthorized tampering with the cockpit.

 

Driver monitoring systems:

 As long as a driver remains in control of a car, it is important that he or she is attentive while driving. Inattentive driving is a crime in many areas of the US and is a major cause of car accidents. In order to prevent this, suppliers have started to develop systems that monitor a driver's focus and attentiveness.

 Takata features two systems designed to keep a driver focused: a Driver Monitoring System and a Hands On Wheel system. The Driver Monitoring System uses a camera focused on the driver's face to track where the driver is looking, while the Hands On Wheel system has grip sensors on specific sections of the steering wheel to determine how the wheel is being held. If the driver's eyes leave the road for period of time, or if the driver's hands leave the steering wheel, a variety of systems will note the change and remind the driver to remain attentive. These reminders include a light bar on the steering wheel turning on, audio warnings, or the tightening of the driver's seat belt.

 Other companies showcased similar products to those displayed by Takata. Panasonic displayed a grip sensor that is able to measure the degree of pressure applied to the steering wheel. Panasonic's sensor is expected to be available to the public in 2018. Aisin's Multi-Function Driver Monitor System operates at high fidelity even when the driver is wearing sunglasses.

Panasonic grip sensor Aisin Multi-Function Driver Monitor System
Panasonic grip sensor Aisin Multi-Function Driver Monitor System

 

Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC) units:

 Both Panasonic and Mitsubishi displayed various DSRC units that allow vehicles to communicate with infrastructure devices at short ranges. These systems allow vehicles to receive information regarding oncoming road conditions from various ITS spots, or receive information from other vehicles.

Mitsubishi DSRC on-board unit Panasonic DSRC on-board unit
Mitsubishi DSRC on-board unit Panasonic DSRC on-board unit

 



Autonomous driving technologies available in controlled situations

Automated Highway Driving Assist (AHDA):

 Throughout the 2014 ITS World Congress, Toyota and Honda had demonstration vehicles with automated driving systems travelling on Detroit's highways. Both companies were able to display technologies that bridged the gap between driver information systems and fully automated driving. While both demonstration vehicles performed the same highway maneuvers of merging, lane maintenance, lane changing, and exiting, Toyota and Honda had different focuses in their demonstration vehicles.

 Honda's vehicle was used to demonstrate the array of sensors and cameras it used to gather information about road conditions. Sensors that the demonstration vehicle had included an integrated GPS and gyro sensor system, a long-range radar, a mid-range radar, a stereo camera, and a 2-D scanner. All of these systems in tandem provide the vehicle with a clear view of its surroundings, as well as the information needed to maintain itself in a lane at a proper speed and following distance.

Panel of Honda's Automated Highway Driving System demonstration Panel of Toyota's Automated Highway Driving Assist demonstration
Panel of Honda's Automated Highway Driving System demonstration Panel of Toyota's Automated Highway Driving Assist demonstration

 

 Toyota's demonstration vehicle focused on the specific systems that assisted the driver, rather than the systems that provided information to the vehicle. The vehicle's Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Trace Control takes information from sensors to ensure the vehicle remains in a specific lane on the highway and a safe distance away from other cars. Another system that the test vehicle had was a driver monitor HMI, which provides an alert should the driver's eyes leave the road or hands leave the steering wheel. Finally, the vehicle contained a system called Preview HMI Advance Alert. The Advance Alert system warned the driver of incoming road conditions which could limit the assistance provided by the AHDA system.

 

Traffic Jam Assist:

 Traffic Jam Assist systems are used in highly-congested, low-speed situations so that the driver can relax. While the driver still needs to be attentive with the traffic jam assist system operational, the system takes some of the responsibilities away from the driver. In case of situations where the driver needs to retake full control of the vehicle, the system will notify the driver of the situation.

 Magna's eyeris traffic jam assist simulator was able to operate at speeds up to 44 mph. The simulated vehicle would trail the vehicle in front at a specific distance and adjust its speed accordingly. What was interesting about Magna's system is that while the driver could still control the vehicle, the traffic jam assist system would provide minimal resistance unless manually shut off.

 Bosch's traffic jam assist demonstration on Belle Isle was similar to Magna's systems, though there were several significant differences. As with Magna's system, Bosch's traffic jam assist would use sensors to scan for lane markers and detect how far ahead a vehicle in front was. However, the system could only be activated if the sensors detected lane markers on both sides of the vehicle. Additionally, the system would automatically deactivate if it could not detect a lane marker on either side. If the system detects lane markers on only one side of the vehicle, it will warn the driver of the situation and attempt to drive based on the single line of markers. Another feature is the ability to preset a maximum speed that the traffic jam assist system will not exceed.

 

Bosch traffic jam assist demonstration Example of traffic jam assist system
Bosch traffic jam assist demonstration. Note that the "driver's" hands are not on the wheel. Also note that the display is informing the driver that the system cannot detect lane markers on the right side. Example of traffic jam assist system deactivating and informing the driver that they need to retake control of vehicle

 

V2V Driving:

Video feed of Honda's medical emergency assist system in operation
Image of video feed of Honda's medical emergency assist system in operation

 During the 2014 ITS World Congress, both Honda and Denso demonstrated systems which used V2V technology. Unlike the V2X technologies mentioned earlier in the report, the V2V systems shown by Honda and Denso were autonomous driving assist systems. The demonstration vehicles communicated with lead vehicles which helped to guide the demonstration vehicles along a route.

 Honda's medical emergency assist system provides a way for a vehicle to be mobile in case the driver becomes incapacitated. When the driver is disabled, the vehicle requests for emergency medical assistance through its DSRC unit and the cellular network. The vehicle then automatically stops at a safe location and waits for another driver to arrive and provide and assistance. The assisting vehicle then wirelessly connects to the disabled vehicle and "tows" the vehicle to meet with medical help.

 


 

Denso Automated Driving with V2V Demonstration

 Denso's V2V demonstration vehicle focused on using DSRC units and GPS data to communicate with a lead vehicle. This equipment allows the demonstration vehicle to detect objects outside its line of sight. This capability was demonstrated by the vehicle's ability to deal with a leading vehicle that had made a sudden stop at a blind curve. Additionally, the demonstration vehicle was able to track the lead vehicle in areas without lane markers, due to the fact that it was not using sensors to track the road.

 

 

 

 



 

Parking Assist Systems:

Valeo Connected Automated Valet Parking Demonstration

Parking assist systems provide an additional level of convenience for drivers. These systems use a variety of sensors and cameras in order to detect the location of an open parking space. The final goal for parking assist systems is to allow drivers to be outside of their car performing other activities while the vehicle parks itself.

 Valeo's automated valet parking system combines a traditional parking assist system with a V2I system that a driver can access through his or her smartphone. After arriving at a destination, the driver can begin the automated valet parking process through an application on a smartphone. The vehicle will then communicate with the parking structure to find an open parking space. Using a series of cameras, ultrasonic sensors and laser scanners, the vehicle is able to maneuver its way through the parking lot and into the parking space which was designated. Note that the driver does not have to be present in the vehicle for any of this to occur. The driver can request for his or her car to be returned through a smartphone application, at which point the car will autonomously drive to a predetermined location at a driver-specified time.

 Aisin's automated parking system requires the driver to pull up next to an empty parking space before the system can begin its operations. However, it works in much the same fashion as Valeo's system as it uses sensors and cameras to identify where the empty parking spot is located, and then adjusts itself to park into the spot.

 



ITS impacting areas outside of driving experience

Smartphone control applications:

Delphi Connect system with plug and play modules
Delphi Connect system with plug and play modules

 The advancement of various technologies within the vehicle has improved other aspects of the car besides the driving experience. Both Delphi and Valeo displayed technologies that allow a smartphone to remotely control certain aspects of a car. This adds another layer of convenience as drivers do not have to be near their car to prepare it.

 Valeo's InBlue Virtual Key System allows a smartphone to remotely operate specific features of the car including remote start, heated seating, window defrosting, and interior vehicle temperature control. The system can also lock and unlock a vehicle. A feature unique to the InBlue Virtual Key System is the ability to send a temporary, virtual key to another smartphone, similar to lending car keys to someone else. This feature allows another person a one-time use of the vehicle during a specific timeframe.

 The Delphi Connect system consists of a plug and play module which connects to a car's OBD-II connector port. Once activated, a user can install an application to his or her smartphone and run various diagnostic features for the car. The application can track the location of the car, provide updates to its fuel status and battery power, show recent trips that the vehicle has taken, as well as set up geo-fences and receive alerts when the vehicle leaves those areas. Delphi Connect also allows a smartphone to act as a key fob for certain vehicles, allowing a driver to lock, unlock and start his or her car without a key.

 Continental showed a similar system that also featured an OBD-II module. Unlike Delphi Connect, Continental's system focuses more on remote diagnostic operations. A driver could use a smartphone and receive information regarding vehicle fault codes. The system could also provide information on a smartphone regarding the nearest repair service, or give predictive maintenance notifications.

Safety and convenience features:

 While not a main focus of the 2014 ITS World Congress, safety technologies utilizing intelligent systems were on display by a few suppliers. Denso's pedestrian collision sensor measured changes in pressure to a vehicle's bumper to determine if a pedestrian had been hit. If so, the system would activate various safety features such as a pop-up hood and pedestrian airbag to mitigate any injuries.

Denso's current and prototype pedestrian collision sensor Aisin ESC unit
Denso's current and prototype pedestrian collision sensor Aisin ESC unit

 

 Aisin showcased a high-performance Electronic Stability Control (ESC) unit. The ESC unit detects and reduces loss of traction by automatically applying brakes. Aisin' version is the only unit of its kind which uses gear pump technology, which has noise levels significantly lower compared to conventional ESC units.

 Takata demonstrated the application of an Active Steering Wheel on its simulator. The Active Steering Wheel alters how much the driver needs to turn the steering wheel to change the steering angle of the vehicle's tires. At low speeds, the system increases the sensitivity of the steering wheel so the driver doesn't have to turn the wheel as much. At high speeds, the system diminishes the sensitivity of the steering wheel to prevent sharper turns from occurring due to a small adjustment of the steering wheel. This technology will be featured on the new Ford Edge, which was displayed at Ford's exhibit. The 2015 Ford Edge will be the first vehicle to integrate the system solely within the steering wheel.

 

Active Steering Wheel system for Ford Edge Ford Edge
Active Steering Wheel system for Ford Edge Ford Edge


 Continental presented a proof of concept model of a connected car at its exhibit. The connected car concept provides connectivity between devices within the car as well as between the car and surrounding infrastructure. One of the features of the concept include the ability to utilize unused bandwidth from surrounding public wi-fi networks to boost the vehicle's own connectivity speed.

Navigation applications:

 The increasing prevalence of smartphones provides customers with another method of interaction with their cars. Aisin and Denso showcased navigation applications for a smartphone that could interact with a vehicle's on-board navigation system. Both Aisin's NAVIelite and Denso's NaviBridge application allow the user to connect and control an on-board navigation system through a smartphone. Denso's NaviBridge system is unique in that it has integration capabilities with other applications which allows it to send navigation data provided from other applications. NaviBridge can also send navigation data based on QR code data.

 

Aisin's NAVIelite application Denso's NaviBridge application
Aisin's NAVIelite application Denso's NaviBridge application

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