Cutting-edge intelligent autonomous technology: sensors for autonomous decision-making can make life smarter

We have all encountered such a situation, but for the person in charge of TI’s industrial radar group, this is a particularly painful experience. Robert knew that by installing a simple radar chip, the signal light could change its color. Our TI millimeter wave (mmWave) sensors can allow traffic lights anywhere to make reasonable decisions based on the on-site situation, and Robert can’t wait for that day to come.

Robert drove to work every morning. Although the distance was short, his commute time was unconsciously extended while he was waiting for the red light.

He said: “It is a red light, but no one passes in other directions. I have to calm down before getting into the car because I know this kind of thing cannot be avoided.”

We have all encountered such a situation, but for the person in charge of TI’s industrial radar group, this is a particularly painful experience. Robert knew that by installing a simple radar chip, the signal light could change its color. Our TI millimeter wave (mmWave) sensors can allow traffic lights anywhere to make reasonable decisions based on the on-site situation, and Robert can’t wait for that day to come.

Cutting-edge intelligent autonomous technology: sensors for autonomous decision-making can make life smarter

In fact, this day is not far away. Millimeter wave technology has already achieved mass production, providing our industrial and automotive customers with advanced radar sensors. TI is the world’s first company to provide the world’s most accurate single-chip CMOS radar sensor. With a microcontroller, radio frequency (RF) front end, hardware accelerator and programmable digital signal processor (DSP), TI millimeter wave sensors can calculate the range, speed and angle of objects (its resolution is higher than other radar sensors on the market three times). Then, it decides what action to take.

Simpler single chip design

The previous generations of radar sensors were large in size and the design was too complicated. They integrate multiple discrete components on a single printed circuit board and connect to the processor on the second board through a high-speed interface, while TI millimeter wave sensors can integrate analog and digital circuits on one chip.

Unlike only analog radar sensors, these sensors do not send data to the processor, server, or cloud to wait for instructions.

Robert said: “All smart functions are integrated in the sensor, which is the intelligent autonomous technology at the edge.”

In addition to shortening Robert’s commuting time, the precise and highly programmable TI millimeter wave sensor may also bring greater benefits. From making houses more comfortable, improving workplace efficiency, to strengthening smart cities, the prediction of its impact covers all aspects of life and work.

Automotive and industrial customers have begun to specify TI’s millimeter wave sensors when designing their products, as do engineers in agriculture, drone development, healthcare, human-machine collaboration, and security.

Kishore, head of TI’s automotive radar group, said, “Our highly programmable sensors integrate analog and digital functions, which are convenient for customers to use.”

Ubiquitous, not rare

To be clear, “edge intelligent autonomous technology” is not synonymous with super artificial intelligence. Whether making decisions on site or online, Robert said: “It is still a processing engine that uses hardware, software, and logic to communicate decisions to a larger network. Our goal in the industrial field is to increase sensing capabilities. Improve certain applications. In some cases, we want to expand other sensing technologies that we believe will bring value proposition to improve certain things, such as optical solutions or lidar.”

In order to achieve autonomous driving of cars, Kishore said that TI millimeter wave sensors must work in conjunction with multiple sensing modes, including cameras, lidar and ultrasonic sensors. He said: “One type of sensing technology may be inadequate, and other sensing technologies can make up for this deficiency.”

Regardless of the method used (using one sensor alone or adding other sensors), the benefits of real-time decision-making, low power consumption, and small size may make TI millimeter-wave sensors widely used, if not ubiquitous.

TI announced the mass production of ultra-wideband automotive and industrial-grade TI millimeter wave sensors in May, and will continue to enhance our product portfolio.

How millimeter wave sensors change everything

Why TI millimeter wave sensors can shorten Robert’s morning commuting time better than cameras or simple motion sensors? First of all, the radar function is more powerful. Cameras and other technologies may be restricted by environmental conditions. But even in dark environments, rainy days, and extreme temperatures, the radar can sense the distance of the car, and the integrated digital processing function allows the millimeter wave sensor to make a decision.

Robert said: “The radar can express,’I have detected a vehicle at a distance of 50 meters on this road and at a distance of 75 meters in that direction, so I need to turn the signal light here to green and change other things. Red’. If there is no such processing capability, the observation results must be sent to a control center, which will forward the instruction to change the light signal lights.”

With this decision-making ability, TI millimeter wave sensors can make decisions on the spot, and then send their selections to the network for tracking and recording.

Several other potentially transformative motion detection application scenarios for millimeter wave sensors include:

Eliminate false alarms of video doorbells. Robert said: “People with these systems usually receive about 30 seconds of useless video on their phones, such as when the camera detects the shaking of trees or sunlight, it will be sent out long distances”, and TI millimeter wave sensors But it can make the doorbell distinguish between humans, animals, and any other moving objects before deciding whether to record a video.

Help first responders. In an office or apartment building accident, TI millimeter wave sensors can detect tiny movements through walls, helping emergency rescuers to rescue people more quickly. Even unconscious people will be noticed by radar, which can sense micron-level movements, such as the stretching and contraction of a person’s chest when breathing.

Optimize the indoor environment. TI millimeter wave sensors can enable intelligent building systems to autonomously adjust cooling, heating, and lighting according to the number of people and flow in the room. Of course, the camera can see how many people are in the room, but regardless of whether the environment is dark or separated by doors and walls, TI millimeter wave sensors can assess the number of people and their movement without infringing on privacy.

Monitor patients and newborns without contact. TI millimeter wave sensors, whether installed on the ceiling, under the mattress or behind the wall, can monitor their heart rate, respiration and other vital signs without touching the patient. When integrated into a medical system, it can monitor highly sensitive groups, such as infants and burn patients, avoiding additional pain due to physical contact or impractical methods of connecting probes and electrodes.

Cutting-edge intelligent autonomous technology: sensors for autonomous decision-making can make life smarter

Autonomous automobile technology embodied in many aspects

Inside and outside the car, the application scenarios of TI millimeter wave sensors are also diverse. Although automotive radars have been around for a while, Kishore said the difference is that TI millimeter-wave sensors can form cascaded radars.

He said: “We can connect multiple radar transceivers in a cascade to enable the car to detect objects as far as 350 meters or more. We can also achieve an accuracy level with an error of less than 1 degree, thus providing a similar lidar. Performance.”

Kishore predicts that by 2025, millimeter waves will become a key technology for the front radar system of autonomous vehicles. It can also be placed in multiple locations inside and outside the car. The benefits include:

It can detect children and pets in the back seat of the car, and remind the driver that there are other passengers in the car.

If the driver is dozing off, he can be gently awakened by the vibrating seat or steering wheel. Even when the driver is wearing sunglasses or the sun is too bright for the camera to work effectively, the millimeter wave sensor can obtain a doze signal.

Sensors that respond to changes in breathing and heart rate can help rescue drivers who suddenly become ill by helping the car navigate and reminding the system to call emergency services.

The door operating system can prevent hands from being caught, avoid hitting passing cyclists and damaging other parked cars.

The ultrasonic parking assist sensor may malfunction due to changing temperature, pressure or co-frequency noise, and TI millimeter-wave sensors can intervene to help automatic parking. Kishore said: “The additional functions of radar sensors will change the way parking applications are implemented. This reliability against harsh environmental conditions is exactly why ADAS applications require radar.”

Our radar-assisted future

Drones, forklifts, and robotic vacuum cleaners are just a few of the hundreds of devices that will directly benefit from edge intelligence, thanks to TI millimeter wave sensors that can detect rapid falling objects, power cords, and other obstacles . Kishore said that there are many applications that can integrate millimeter wave sensors to explore. In the automotive industry, he envisions the use of millimeter wave sensors to achieve vehicle-to-vehicle communication and road hazard warnings.

As for future industrial applications, Robert envisions more automated warehouses and product shipments that rely on radar sensors in the future. He is particularly excited about the potential of mixing the unique features of millimeter wave sensors to realize human-machine collaboration.

He said: “Remember that radar provides you with three data about objects that other technologies cannot provide: range, speed, and angle. Therefore, it can detect movements and recognize gestures at the same time.”

In an automated factory, when someone enters within a few meters of a dangerous machine, the alarm will sound; and if someone approaches at a higher speed, the millimeter wave sensor may sound the alarm faster. Robert said: “It allows us to form a safety protection system to reduce accidents.” Even automatic doors will become smarter. It can recognize whether a person wants to go out or just pass by based on a person’s body angle. Open the door or keep it closed.

Ultimately, the way TI millimeter wave sensors make the world smarter depends only on the imagination of the developers.

Robert said: “We manufacture components used by customers, and they come up with extraordinary ideas that we will see in the real world. At present we are only the tip of the iceberg of the broad application of this technology, and we look forward to seeing customers accept Down the action.”

Check out our white paper: Millimeter Wave: Achieving Smarter Autonomous Technology at the Edge.

Learn how TI millimeter wave sensors make life smarter: Learn more about the world’s most accurate millimeter wave sensors that can be integrated on a single chip.

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