24 Jul 2024

UK tech aims to make self-driving vehicles safer through sound

Self driving vehicles

Calyo, Benedex Robotics and Cranfield University have joined forces to improve safety in self-driving vehicles.

The new partnership, part of the DRIVEN BY SOUND project led by Calyo, will develop a functional safety sensing platform based on 3D ultrasound, capable of operating effectively in even the most challenging environmental conditions.

The new technology allows autonomous vehicles to detect their surroundings in 3D in real time. It complements existing sensing and safety detection systems, providing an additional layer of safety and reliability.

Mihai Caleap, CEO of Calyo, said: “Our partnership is delivering a robust, redundant sensing platform based on 3D ultrasound for autonomous driving and in driver-assist applications. The technology will be applicable across various vehicle platforms, including off-road industrial uses, making it transferable to a broad range of industries.”

The platform will be available to Tier 1 suppliers, automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and start-up mobility ventures as a reliable and functional safety module. It serves as a crucial redundancy mechanism, enabling vehicles to perform minimum risk manoeuvres (MRMs) and safely stop in the event of a fault or severe road conditions.

Snir Benedek, CEO of Benedex Robotics, added: “By integrating this additional layer of functional safety we are introducing innovation, which is transformative in the industry, while cost-effective and easy to implement, establishing the foundation for accessible safe and secure autonomous mobility.”

The collaboration combines Calyo’s 3D ultrasound sensor technology, Calyo Pulse, Benedex’s safety platform expertise, and Cranfield University’s experience in integrating and testing autonomous road vehicles. The end product will provide a crucial redundancy mechanism for enhanced safety in autonomous vehicles.

Marco Cecotti, Lecturer in Driving Automation at Cranfield University, said: “Safety has to be top of the agenda for autonomous vehicle development, and this exciting project will inform a robust solution to deal with extreme environmental conditions, one of the biggest technical challenges to the widespread availability of self-driving vehicles.”

DRIVEN BY SOUND received funding from the Commercialising CAM Supply Chain Competition (CCAMSC). The Commercialising CAM programme is funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, a joint unit between the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and the Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK and Zenzic.

The project is expected to be completed in the first half of 2025, culminating in the demonstration of a vehicle prototype equipped with this technology at Cranfield University’s Multi User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation (MUEAVI) proving ground.