October 14, 2014

Opportunity to Embrace Emerging Technology Feels Like Déjà Vu 

By Chris Andrews

I love music, sports, news and morning and evening drive radio shows – and I’m not alone. Historically, we were limited in the ways we could obtain this content, so I find it exciting today that I can get all these programs in more ways and in more places than ever before. This is the opportunity for today and beyond. I say opportunity because I feel like this is Déjà vu. Let me explain.

In the ‘80s and ‘90s, I was in the music, advertising, radio, video and film business. All the content was developed on, delivered through, and experienced using analog technology. Because it used analog, there were limited ways to create, deliver and experience these types of media.

As the ‘90s progressed, the digital era changed the music and video industries drastically. I could pick a side and debate the plusses and minuses of digital technology, but I would rather discuss the introspective this ‘game changer’ created. This new capability forced the industry to reexamine itself. Everyone had to adapt or die, because the current business model wasn’t going to survive. There were winners and losers from that era, as there are in any industry. But it was not the death of these industries, it was just evolution. The reality is that you can still get music and videos, but how they are created, delivered and experienced is completely different.

At the beginning of the 21st century I, like many others, adapted. I changed industries to what is now called the mobility industry. For me this was a natural evolution.

2014= Déjà vu.

For roughly the last 10 years, the radio, TV, advertising and film industries have been experiencing a similar digital evolution. Today the pace is accelerating. This digital evolution is often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, the Digital Lifestyle, or even the connected vehicle. Consumers (including me) expect their music, sports, news, AM/FM drive radio shows, and anything else they might want, anytime and everywhere. Today we have traditional radio, satellite radio, Internet radio and video, subscription media services and digital media purchase models – just to name a few. This will continue leading to new opportunities. Industries, companies, and people must once again adapt to survive and excel.

I am excited, intrigued, and inspired every day to face the future. We have the opportunity to improve lives, health, relationships, environments and the world, but only if we do it correctly. The next generation of mobility, electronics, media, content delivery and communities will be different. We have to use our imaginations, collaborate and adapt.

This is not a “younger generation” phenomenon, as some might say. The bar is set higher, and will also address the aging population, all regions and cultures of the world, and new ways that people and organizations will interact.

Adapt or perish. There will be winners and losers from this era just like there were from the last digital evolution.

This is why I am thrilled this week to be part of the DASH connected car conference in Detroit on Oct. 15-16. This event brings together many industries and leaders to discuss the 2014 digital evolution 2014, and the new paradigms it will create. 

Christopher Andrews is Leader of Emerging Technologies at Visteon Corporation. Since joining Visteon in 2000, he has served in various roles in the company, from engineering, program management and business development to his present role. His responsibilities within the emerging technologies group include identifying and developing the next generation of connected vehicles, fusion and mobility solutions. Key to these solutions is the seamless mobility experience that customers will expect in future vehicle environments.

August 28, 2014

Excitement Builds for ITS World Congress in Wake of Proposed V2X Rulemaking

By Brian Daugherty

NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation have been quite busy since February, when they announced plans to proceed with rulemaking to require V2X (Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure, etc.) communication hardware in future U.S. light vehicles. This will be a hot topic at the upcoming Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) World Congress in Detroit.

On Aug. 18, NHTSA followed up its February announcement with an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) that officially gets the process started. This is an important step as the industry moves toward V2X implementation in the U.S.  At the same time, NHTSA released a research report titled “Vehicle to Vehicle Communications: Readiness of V2V Technology for Application,” covering many aspects of V2X technology including readiness, cost and accident-reduction assessments. The report also summarizes the work that still needs to be done. Both the ANPRM and the research report can be accessed here. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and NHTSA are expected to announce similar plans covering heavy vehicles later this year.

In the near future, the FCC is expected to decide whether to share the V2X 5.9 GHz spectrum with unlicensed Wi-Fi® devices. There is concern that interference from these devices could result in blocked or delayed V2X message transmissions that might negatively impact preventable accidents. As we move toward rulemaking and eventual deployment, it is imperative that the V2X 5.9 GHz spectrum remain dedicated to transportation safety uses. 

On Sept. 7, the 21st ITS World Congress will descend on Detroit. In addition to the panel discussions and booth displays, technology demonstrations will be offered on some city streets and nearby Belle Isle. This follows last year’s excellent World Congress in Tokyo, which had a strong emphasis on vehicle-to-vehicle communication and automated/autonomous driving.  

Both of those themes will continue and V2X communications will again be prominently featured among many intelligent transportation technologies, ranging from toll systems and roadway monitoring to advanced intersection sensors and controls.  

Visteon is presenting our V2X system as part of a ride-and-drive Technology Showcase on Belle Isle. The demonstration highlights three applications that provide warnings to drivers: Obstructed Stopped Vehicle Ahead, Emergency Braking Ahead and Slippery Road Conditions Ahead. All three will present information to the driver using an integrated cockpit approach. Visteon also will have an exhibit in booth 801 at Cobo Center, displaying a range of advanced technologies including connected vehicle and infotainment demonstrations.

If you are attending the ITS World Congress, I invite you to visit our booth and our ride-and-drive to experience how V2X and connectivity can improve the safety and convenience of future vehicles. 

Brian Daugherty is an associate director at Visteon Corporation and has global responsibilities for corporate advanced development and intellectual property. Recent projects in his 23-year career include V2X communications, advanced driver awareness systems (ADAS) and the optimization of Visteon’s patent portfolio. Based at Visteon’s corporate offices and innovation center in Van Buren Township, Mich., Daugherty also manages a number of industry and university partnerships.

June 17, 2014

Watching Out for You

By Paul Morris

Cameras are being used in more vehicles every day, and while most current applications look "outward" (like rear-view camera or lane-departure-warning) newer implementations will face "inward" – capturing views of the driver, passengers and cargo. Visteon has been developing driver monitoring applications and recently introduced the "HMEye" demonstration concept.  The name HMEye is a play on the term Human Machine Interaction (HMI) combined with Eye-Tracking.  The concept uses eye-tracking cameras and software that allow the driver to interact with some vehicle controls.

Some in-vehicle camera products available today provide features like drowsy and distracted driver monitoring.  These cameras observe the driver’s eyelid opening, blink rate or head position.  Most of these vehicles use a single camera and some type of infra-red (IR) illumination to work during the day or at night.  For example, Lexus offers a driver monitoring system as part of its Pre-Collision Safety Package and other companies offer aftermarket solutions for large truck fleets.

Near Future
For a system to monitor the driver, it needs to be positioned in front of the driver’s face, which is why wearable trackers can be advantageous (see image below of a wearable tracker).  However, drivers usually won’t be wearing a tracker, so a camera with IR flash system needs to be mounted in the direction the driver intends to use it. Typically, it will be affixed in the forward-looking direction, but could also be positioned to the side, depending on the range of eye/head movement the system is designed to track. Low-cost integrated trackers will be limited in vehicles, because they usually are only configured for a single display on a desktop. The main challenge for the vehicle interior designer will be to package the cameras and flash units in a way that is optically functional, but also aesthetically pleasing.

Once enough camera and flash coverage is provided, a higher-accuracy gaze-tracking function can be added to enable features like gaze-controlled HMI. This feature is demonstrated on Visteon’s HMEye demonstration property. These features would be in addition to the base drowsy and distracted driver features mentioned above.

Further Out
There are many interesting scenarios when capabilities like computer vision with artificial intelligence (AI) are added. Think about the vehicle as an “attentive mobility assistant” that always focuses on its customers: the driver, passengers and cargo in the vehicle. In the past, the vehicle only responded to the sense of touch (a button press, etc.).  A few years ago it evolved into hearing (via microphones) and can now understand vocal commands. Vehicles are integrating sight (via cameras), which initially will be poor, but will improve over time as they are developed to recognize new objects and behaviors. A vehicle will see externally (e.g. pedestrian detection) and internally (e.g. driver monitoring) and will begin to learn patterns from good drivers and share them with drivers who need more help. The system will aid the transition between driver-control and autonomous-control and have context and situational awareness that allows it to adapt its behaviors appropriately. Many new opportunities will emerge as vision technologies continue to develop.

Paul Morris is an innovation project manager in Visteon Electronics. During his 20-plus years in the aerospace and automotive industries, he has applied his electronics, software and systems engineering experience to a variety of projects, from GPS satellites to air pressure sensors. His recent work has ‘focused’ on camera and vision systems for automotive applications.