What is the current state of ADAS in production cars?
Tim Dawkins, Autonomous Car Specialist at SBD Automotive North America will be speaking at AutoSens Detroit in May, his second visit. We took the opportunity to catch up with one of the few people whose job allows a unique insight into how finished products compare.
You’ve been keeping busy evaluating the HMI aspects of ADAS in production cars – were there any surprises?
It’s definitely been very busy few months of testing at SBD as we’ve seen more complex systems arrive in the market.
One of our most recent benchmarking activities was a Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise – the first true hands-free driving system. We had to get quite creative with our methodology to make sure we could come up with a broad set of use cases to anticipate how consumers may use (or misuse) the system.
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The thing that continues to surprise me when testing these vehicles is how many OEMs fail to stick to a cohesive colour code for warnings – even something as simple as a red-amber-green logic. There are some very simple HMI mistakes that are being made by some of the most advanced vehicles out there today.
As a result of that, what do you think are the biggest opportunities for OEMs?
If you really want to create a system that makes people comfortable with how it works and what can and can’t be done, we have two simple recommendations to the OEM: present system status (off/on, active/inactive) at all times, and make consistent use of colours, icons and graphics throughout.
When we talk to consumers, some of the most common frustrations with the system are caused by ambiguity, which can be averted with these two golden rules.
When will that report be available?
Our current ADAS HMI benchmarking series is out now! In the last 12 months we’ve tested the Cadillac CT6, Tesla Model S, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E Class. We’ve got plenty more exciting vehicles to come this year, so stay tuned!
Once on-board hardware suites with sensor packs and processing capacity stabilises in the next decade, do you think software-only updates will take over?
I think there’s still a long way to go with sensor processing hardware. There are solutions which can deliver the required performance in the market today from the likes of NVIDIA and Delphi, but these are going to be too costly for 90% of global OEMs to realistically take to series production.
We’ll need to see some improvements in BOM (Bill of Materials) cost and power consumption before these are going to be realistic offerings to the mass-market , but this will come in time as the Tier 2 suppliers bring out their next-generation chipsets.
What do you think is the big topic for 2018 – hi-res Radar, vision standards, whole system validation or something else?
I think whole system validation is going to be the big challenge for the coming year, and demonstrating it in a way which is relatable for an end consumer. I think we can expect many regulators to be paying much more attention to autonomous vehicle development for the near future, which will hopefully foster more transparency and collaboration among industry leaders.
Tell us about your session at AutoSens Detroit 2018 – what are you covering and who should come along?
I’m going to be walking through the creation of a realistic projection for how ADAS will reduce accident frequency here in the USA. There are too many pie-in-the sky projections of “ADAS & Autonomous Vehicles will eliminate all human error in accidents” – this simply isn’t true unfortunately.
At SBD we have tons of data about how ADAS has developed over the years and will be brought to market in the near future, which we’ll combine with our experience of testing and development to create a sensible outlook. Come along if you want to learn more about the projected market for ADAS and how to myth-bust the headlines about autonomous vehicles and ADAS.
You were with us in 2017 at the inaugural AutoSens Detroit, what are you looking forward to most upon our return to Michigan?
I’m really looking forward to being a part of such a focused and technical event, I really learned a lot in 2017 from leaders in many specialist fields. The networking is always fantastic too, plus it will be great to see the rest of the AutoSens team again.
What’s your view on autonomous vehicle racing?
I have a few thoughts on the subject! I happen to have a degree in Motorsport Engineering, but more importantly, I am a die-hard F1 fan. The biggest gripe l have with F1 these days is how it has become predictable.
Now if an autonomous racing series were very open in aspects like propulsion, chassis etc. to the point where the vehicle design were near unrestricted, I think that could make for an interesting (albeit chaotic) series.
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If you look at the great periods of motorsport history, it has been loose restrictions which have fostered the most innovation – take for example the Group B rally era, or F1 in the 70s and early 80s.
Now these periods were also the most dangerous, but if you don’t have a human driver in the vehicle, then I think that might provide the ultimate platform for developers. Bring back six wheel cars and ground effect fans!
As an Englishman in Detroit, one home comfort must be the beer scene – any recent discoveries you’d like to share?
The beer scene is fantastic in Michigan. Detroit has some awesome spots downtown, I can highly recommend the Grand Trunk Pub downtown – its in a converted railway station from the former Grand Trunk Railroad line built in the 1800s – and they have all the local greats on tap.
SBD Automotive produced a report on CES 2018… If our readers would like a copy, how can they get hold of one?
Absolutely! We send a team of 12 people to CES to cover the whole thing, and boil it down to a 12 page executive summary with all the key announcements impacting the automotive industry. If you’d like to receive a copy, contact our team at [email protected] and we’ll send you a copy – alternatively, send me a note on LinkedIn.
Join us at AutoSens in Detroit (14-17 May) and hear Tim’s session on Exploring the Real-World Impact of ADAS on Future Accident Frequency. Book your tickets to attend here >>