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ADAS: paving the way for autonomous vehicles

A recent accidental death of a pedestrian caused by a self-driving vehicle has raised public awareness on the safety of autonomous cars throughout the world. Even though people are concerned and fearful, the development of vehicles which are smart, electric-powered, and interconnected by the automotive industry is a major trend that cannot be reversed. With Tesla, General Motors, and Google leading the charge, the entire industry is heavily promoting the research and development of autonomous vehicle products. In order to realize fully automated driving without human intervention, three conditions must be met - the vehicle must be fully aware of the surrounding environment, be able to respond accordingly when the environment changes, and the security of the vehicle and data must be ensured. In addition to these conditions, the continued evolution of the advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) is an indispensable step which we cannot do without.

Ensuring driver safety is an important function of ADAS. Currently, the main features of ADAS include providing information related to the vehicle's current operating status and changes in the exterior environment to the driver. Data is analyzed simultaneously and advanced warnings are issued when a potentially dangerous situation is detected, which will allow the driver to take early measures to prevent traffic accidents. With ADAS technology becoming more complex each day, its range of coverage has also grown wider. As the technology's degree of automation continues to rise, and the ultimate goal is to achieve fully automated driving. It is a crucial step which we must make on the path to autonomous driving, and it requires significant investment in time and resources.


Taking Aim at the Market and Actively Transforming

As the world's leading electronic components distributor and technology solutions provider, Avnet sees enormous business opportunities in the automotive electronics market. Frederick Fu, Avnet's Asia Pacific President, believes that the global automotive electronics market will maintain its rapid growth rate over the next several years. By 2020, markets for in-car entertainment, automotive electronics, and ADAS are estimated to reach US$150 billion. Driven by the trends of autonomous driving technology development, the future automotive electronics market will surpass the enormous smartphone market of today.

At the same time, as safety awareness increases among users, various countries around the world are starting to establish various vehicle management regulations. The China-New Car Assessment Program, which was implemented this year, also includes a set of safety measures in its specifications. The program has directly driven the continued penetration rate increase of ADAS in the automotive electronics market, and the trend is accelerating.

Utilizing its many years of experience as an electronic components distributor and strong technical capabilities, Avnet has launched an ADAS solution under its own brand. In addition to meeting the related automotive safety requirements established by countries such as China, the solution can also satisfy strong market demands. The most special feature of Avnet's ADAS solution is the ability to provide a customized, differentiated solution based on the client's needs; offering flexible choices for the low-cost ADAS.

 


Independent R&D to Develop Exclusive Algorithms

In addition to providing various smart control features such as lane departure warnings, blind spot detection, surround view, emergency braking, automatic parking assistance, and parking, Avnet's ADAS solution also offers real-time 3D HD surround view images for daytime and nighttime driving, as well as 2D HD surround view images/road sign image recognition to help prevent traffic accidents.

To Avnet, hardware is definitely not an issue. We chose the most competitive components produced by various suppliers as the foundation of Avnet's ADAS solution and camera modules. These suppliers include Amphenol, Integrated Silicon Solution Inc., Maxim, Molex, NXP Semiconductors, On Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and Vishay. Software, algorithms, sensor response time, radar range accuracy, and camera's detection precision are more difficult to achieve. These features must be supported by advanced and sophisticated algorithms, and this is the main point of focus for Avnet as it fully invests in the market.

Since 2015, Avnet's R&D team has begun to concentrate on algorithm development. Different algorithm platforms were used to develop even more applications. For example, distinguishing between dotted lines, solid lines, reflectors, double lines, and curbs; measuring the distance between vehicle tracking lines and tires; recognizing pedestrians and traffic signs up ahead; as well as determining the parameters between the headlights and the moving target. At the same time, Avnet also provides suppliers with advanced software services to help improve component design, ensure optimal performance, and expand client base. Furthermore, clients also rely on Avnet's exclusive camera module technology to eliminate gaps in solution knowledge and drive application development and production.

By integrating hardware, software, and algorithms, Avnet's ADAS solution is gaining popularity in the automotive electronics market. Corresponding investments are made in each phase, including providing support for sensor modules manufactured by different suppliers, as well as organizing and transmitting the data collected to various parts of the system through algorithms, then applying the data to actual driving scenarios. In addition, by working together with partners from Radar, LiDAR, and 5G communication domains, new systems are developed to support our customers. Together, we will welcome the arrival of safe autonomous driving with the high standards offered by our products and services.

Written By: Matthew Wa,
Associate Director of Engineering, Avnet Asia

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