Wait! Wasn’t AEB already solved?

What’s the difference between Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) in robotaxis and the AEB newly mandated by U.S. safety regulators? – An article written by Junko Yoshida for THE OJO-YOSHIDA REPORT, in collaboration with Pierrick Boulay from Yole Group.

What’s at stake:

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is a safety function already enabled by robotaxis.  It’s also in the ADAS package featured in many new vehicles. So, how come carmakers are suddenly worried about complying with requirements – both on deadline and performance – newly mandated by NHTSA? (…)

Which sensors?

Many industry analysts were puzzled by a NHTSA comment in its final ruling that reads: “NHTSA estimates that systems can achieve the requirements of this final rule primarily through upgraded software, with a limited number of vehicles needing additional hardware.” 

Pierrick Boulay, senior technology and market analyst for automotive semiconductors at Yole Group, questioned whether the prescribed AEB system could spot a pedestrian in dark testing limited to 0.2 lux, “which is roughly full-moon illumination,” without adding new sensors.

Boulay is skeptical that “cameras and radar will meet this mandate only with a software update.” If they cannot, additional sensors such as thermal cameras and LiDAR would be needed.

Boulay said suppliers of thermal cameras “will have a role to play.” LiDAR suppliers (Valeo, Hesai, Robosense, Seyond, Luminar, among others) are also looking at the requirements to adapt their products, he added.

Magney noted, “I think the players in thermal space will see some RFQs (Owl, Flir, or Adasky). For radar he believes  this can include Arbe and some of the others too, but he doesn’t think there is a room for LiDAR to move in, largely because of the cost.

Curiously, NHTSA also noted, “The agency conducted Pedestrian AEB research with six model-year 2023 vehicles (from six different manufacturers) using the proposed performance requirements and test procedures. The results demonstrated that at least one vehicle was able to meet all performance requirements of this final rule.”

The model that passed the AEB performance requirements was not identified. But its maker, simply using cameras and radars, has gained a fair advantage.

The goal for carmakers is to pass NHTSA’s tests not necessarily by devising the ideal sensor package and a compute platform that produces zero false positives. This would be an expensive proposition.

After all, for car OEMs facing the new mandate, the three little words are “cost, cost and cost,” as Barnden pointed out.

Yole Group’s Boulay estimated that the target for thermal cameras is around $300. For LiDARs, he said, “it is possible to find them between $450-$500 today.” He expects the numbers to decrease as volume ramps up.

… Read the full story HERE.