September 6, 2017

Visteon – an Intern’s Point of View
By Courtney Schultz, Communications Intern

Internships are a great way to get a taste of the job field before graduation. Most academic programs require an internship to graduate; however, students usually don’t have time to commit to something more than part-time. Many of my peers in the public relations program at Eastern Michigan University chose internships that only required working 12-15 hours a week. But I didn’t want a cookie-cutter internship – I wanted something full-time where I could really immerse myself.

I wanted an experience.

After spending hours searching, I applied for a communications intern position at Visteon. I was intrigued to learn that Visteon is a Tier 1 automotive supplier and a technology company that is focused on cockpit electronics and autonomous driving. It sounded new and exciting to me.

I went through a two-step interview process – a phone interview followed by an in-person interview. I was especially nervous as this was my first-ever interview for my field of study. My nerves were put to rest during the in-person interview. Visteon had a casual atmosphere, open work environment, and I felt I really meshed with the people interviewing me. I left the interview hopeful, and later that day I was offered the communications intern position.

My tenure at Visteon began on May 8, and I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly never would have thought that I would truly immerse myself into the communications and marketing team. I have been incredibly fortunate to have supervisors who truly care about my growth and development in the communications field and who strive to foster an all-inclusive environment.

The summer has flown by in the blink of an eye, and these four months have been much more than an internship. I’ve had the opportunity to explore areas of communications and marketing that I previously didn’t consider “part of the job.” I’ve attended and participated in many meaningful events that have solidified my passion for community service and diversity.

The biggest project our team is undertaking this summer is the redesign of the company website, Over the years, Visteon has gone through a dynamic transformation. We’ve solidified our position as a technology leader. And our website needs to reflect this. From collaborating on site maps and graphics to drafting web copy and learning about workflows, I have been involved in every step of the website redesign process. And as a millennial, my input was not only requested, it was highly valued. We are working relentlessly to get the new site up and running soon; although I won’t be here for the launch, I’ll be on the lookout for the new site. I never would have imagined that I would be an integral part of such a big project.

This summer, I’ve also had the opportunity to host media. Last month, a reporter from Reuters, as well as a group of Chinese journalists, toured our facilities and interviewed our CEO. It was cool to see the feature videos and news articles that came out of those sessions that I helped coordinate.

Perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of my position was the numerous opportunities for community service. From playing bingo with sick children at the Detroit Children’s Hospital to working with Life Remodeled to clear blight in a Detroit neighborhood – I loved being able to help those who needed it. I had the opportunity to promote these events with photos, video and employee news articles. It was fun to watch the number of “likes” for my work add up on the company intranet!

The internship program at Visteon is a wonderful experience. It’s clear that a lot of thought and effort goes into planning it. This summer, my fellow interns across various functions heard from a LinkedIn representative, attended a Detroit Tigers game, experienced the Ford Rouge factory tour, and met with many company executives and employees who shared valuable insights. 

While my time here is drawing to a close, the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met will remain in my memories forever. The opportunities I’ve had here are ones I will always look back on. I’ve grown tremendously since starting here in May.  I have gained confidence in my abilities and have learned so much.
For that, I’d like to thank every person at Visteon whom I’ve encountered who has truly made me feel a part of this company – not just an intern. It means so much to be truly valued and appreciated.

In the end, I got what I came for – that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Courtney Schultz is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She received her associate’s degree in liberal arts from Washtenaw Community College in 2015. Following her summer internship at Visteon based in Van Buren Township, Michigan, she is moving to the state of Washington, where she will pursue a career in communications and public relations.

August 15, 2017

Bumps and Promises for Automated Driving             
By Timothy Yerdon, Head of Global Marketing and Communications

If you’re navigating the future course of the automotive industry, you’re likely to find insight to help you steer at the annual Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars (MBS) in Traverse City, Michigan. This event consistently has provided a solid perspective and vision of where the global automotive industry is headed. Increasingly, that course leads toward automated driving, a shift that is filled with curves, bumps and promise.

It’s not surprising that more than 1,000 people from across the industry attended the MBS conference a few weeks ago. Executives from OEMs and Tier 1 and 2 suppliers, financial analysts from Wall Street, various industry analysts and automotive media participated in sessions that largely reflected three mega-themes for the industry: automated driving, vehicle electrification, and automotive regulation.

What will the technologies be?

The most widely discussed topic was automated driving and all its ramifications. One prominent financial analyst summarized the road ahead by saying he’s not fixated on what production volumes will be for automated driving. He’s more interested now in what will be the technologies for automated driving that will hit the market sooner and ultimately support fully autonomous vehicles. No one really knows when automated driving will achieve its goals and who will make money at it. This analyst suggested that, instead of focusing on the vehicle, OEMs look at the companies developing vehicle computing platforms, sensors and software. The value will be in the companies that can deliver those advanced technologies. These technologies will embed themselves in more conventional cars and trucks and eventually dovetail into fully automated vehicles.

An un-electrifying prospect for electrification

The second major theme was the continued interest in the electrification of vehicles. Much of the industry’s conversation has centered on pure electric, battery-powered vehicles with no internal combustion engines. Prospects are, however, that even in 2025 only 4 to 6 percent of the overall vehicle market will be fully electric. On a global scale, that’s a lot of cars and trucks, but it’s still a very small proportion of total production. Consumer preferences, legislative hurdles and costs for both automakers and vehicle buyers will combine to keep electric-car volumes low, so companies in the traditional powertrain business will need to reinvent themselves or face major business challenges. 

Standards to drive automated vehicles globally

The final theme follows inevitably from the others: regulation. What regulations will really drive the industry as automated and electric vehicles flow into the marketplace? We will need to develop global standards, as we have with current vehicles, so that the industry doesn’t find itself engineering varying components and systems for different geographies. No one will tolerate curtailing automated mode when their self-driving car crosses a state line because of a regulation. The most important consideration is not to add more complexity atop a technology that already is complex. All parties will need to negotiate and reach agreements to move legislation through more quickly than they have in the past, or risk holding back the autonomous wave.

Michigan as an Innovation Champ

MBS participants also learned why Michigan is such an important focal point for all these developments. A 2017 innovation scorecard from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) designated Michigan as one of its 10 “Innovation Champion” states. Among nearly a dozen reasons the CTA said Michigan earned this recognition were its business-friendly tax policies, a nearly 388,000-person technology workforce, the absence of laws restricting self-driving cars, and the state business community’s high level of investment in venture capital and research and development. Michigan ranks eighth in the nation for combined venture capital investments per capita and R&D per capita.

As I noted during a panel discussion at MBS on the Car of Tomorrow, those of us based in Michigan need to sustain these advantages, by continuing to be innovation- and technology-friendly. While views on how to best navigate the course of the auto industry may vary, ensuring that Michigan remains the hub for developing America’s mobility in the future is something on which just about everyone at MBS could agree.

Tim Yerdon is head of global marketing and communications for Visteon. Leveraging more than 20 years of experience in engineering and thought leadership in innovation, Yerdon fosters collaborative efforts with technology/industry partners and government agencies to advance growth beyond traditional automotive electronics into the future of connected and automated vehicles.

Yerdon serves on the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA™) Board of Industry Leaders and is vice-chair of CTA’s Vehicle Technology Division Board. He also chairs the MICHauto/Detroit Regional Chamber talent committee, and serves on the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Industry Advisory Board.

June 28, 2017

Current sensor data fusion architectures: Visteon’s approach

Sensor fusion is a critical requirement in creating an autonomous vehicle’s “brain,” ensuring it can make intelligent, accurate and timely decisions based on behaviors of other traffic participants. Sensor fusion takes the inputs of different sensors and sensor types and uses the combined information to perceive the environment more accurately. This results in better and safer decisions than independent systems can achieve.

An increasingly complex range of on-board smart sensors like cameras, radar, ultrasonic, infrared, LiDAR and connected sensors for V2X communications, Wi-Fi, 5G, GPS and telematics provides both real-time and rich data that the connected car must be able to process to create a picture of the environment around the car at any moment in time.

To achieve fully autonomous driving – SAE Level 4/5 – it is essential to make judicious use of this sensor data, which is only possible with multi-sensor data fusion. By fusing sensor data, the vehicle forms a more accurate and reliable view of its environment and will have intelligent situational awareness. Sensor data fusion acts as a human brain, providing the car with a complete and accurate picture of its surroundings. 

The techniques that surround multi-sensor data fusion make up a very big and complex topic. Data processing techniques that associate, aggregate and integrate data from different sources help the system to build knowledge about certain events and environments, which is not possible using individual sensors separately. 

There are many ways to fuse the sensor data, and multi-sensor data fusion can be classified in two categories: Homogeneous and heterogeneous sensor data fusion. In homogeneous sensor fusion, sensor data of the same type are fused together, whereas in heterogeneous sensor fusion, data from different sensors are fused together based on the time of arrival of data (synchronization of data based on time stamps).

Multi-sensor data fusion can be performed at four different processing levels, according to the stage at which the fusion takes place: signal, object, feature, or decision level.

Currently all automotive players, be they automakers or Tier 1 suppliers, are extensively using feature-level fusion and decision-level fusion for multi-sensor data fusion. The benefit of this approach is the simplification of the sensor data fusion system as the smart sensors provide the list of features the system needs to make decisions. Almost all Level 2 autonomous systems are now making use of this approach.

But to achieve a Level 4/5 autonomous system, feature level fusion is not sufficient due to its limited sense of environment and loss of contextual information. The application of artificial intelligence (AI) will also have limitations when working on individual sensor data to obtain a feature list because of inherent flaws in this fusion approach.

Visteon is currently working on a signal-based multi-sensor data fusion approach. In this centralized architecture, sensor data from different sources are fused using AI techniques at a raw signal level. The major advantage of this approach is the availability of complete environmental information to the system which, with the help of machine learning techniques, will make informed decisions right from the start of a journey and, subsequently, be able to safely direct the car.

The safe and successful introduction of autonomous driving depends on a robust solution to sensor data fusion – creating a “brain” for the car’s automated body that is able to process huge data sets, apply AI and rapidly transmit information to and from its environment. Visteon’s approach is based on integrated and centralized multi-sensor fusion technology that is built on fault-tolerant hardware and incorporates AI for the most accurate levels of object detection and classification. 

As a lead software engineer, Anshul is involved in the development of SmartCore™ and autonomous driving domain controller platforms. He is focused on self-driving car technologies and the effect of the Internet of Things on the auto industry. Anshul is based in Karlsruhe, Germany.