Partnership news: Honeywell, Siemens, Adient, Lear, Autoliv, Renesas, others advancing autonomous driving

Partnership news: Honeywell, Siemens, Adient, Lear, Autoliv, Renesas, others advancing autonomous driving

Several automotive suppliers announced technology deals Tuesday aimed primarily at the self-driving car market.

September 13, 2017
By Robert Schoenberger
Cars/Light trucks Design Electronics

Cleveland, Ohio – A slew of partnership agreements announced Tuesday could speed development of autonomous vehicles, make those self-driving cars safer for passengers, protect critical data, and make it easier for innovators develop new safety and control technologies.

One challenge facing self-driving cars and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) is quality data. Cameras and other sensors can relay what’s going on surrounding cars, but it doesn’t tell vehicles what’s going on bigger picture – where traffic jams are occurring, when a traffic light is about to turn red, etc..

Siemens USA is partnering with Traffic Technology Services (TTS) to solve one small piece of that problem. Siemens collects traffic data for municipalities via its Tactics traffic management system. Through its partnership, it will now share some of that data with TTS’ cloud-based software service.

The TTS service provides traffic data for ADAS systems and autonomous vehicles, letting cars know when traffic lights are about to go from green to yellow and other traffic conditions. Connecting that municipal data with vehicles could allow future autonomous cars to better navigate congested areas.

The joint service will be implemented initially near Denver, Colorado; Fargo, North Dakota; Fremont California; and near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

So, with traffic data in place to help autonomous cars navigate, the next challenge is keeping passengers safe.

Seating producer Adient is partnering with automotive safety systems supplier Autoliv to develop new ideas in that market.

If autonomous cars become popular, experts believe the interiors of vehicles will change. Instead of having all people in the car facing the front windscreen, passengers could face each other, for example.

Adient and Autoliv officials say the companies plan to collaborate on combined seating/safety equipment systems that will differ from traditional, forward-facing seats and restraints. The initial focus will be optimizings Autoliv's safety components into the non-traditional seating arrangements and on enhancing existing seat-mounted airbag systems.

Future plans include the co-development of highly integrated solutions for enhanced safety, comfort, and convenience.

Another partnership announced Tuesday – between Tier 1 suppliers Honeywell and Lear – deals with cybersecurity, a growing concern as more automotive functions become computer controlled (possibly even the entire driving experience at the rate autonomous technologies develop).

Partner companies hope to pair Honeywell’s intrusion-detection software and security systems with Lear’s electrical distribution and communications systems.

Honeywell's software and global security centers monitor in-vehicle network communications. Lear's electrical gateways and security modules can detect and report anomalies preceding a mechanical failure or intentional hack of the vehicle. Captured data can be transmitted in real time to Honeywell security centers for analysis and remediation.

"There are more than a dozen clearly defined attack surfaces which can provide points of entry for hacking into a passenger vehicle, and the number is growing fast,” says Olivier Rabiller, president and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems.

Tuesday’s final partnership announcement is between Renesas Electronics Corp., maker of systems-on-chips (SoCs) that control ADAS and autonomous systems, and Codeplay Software Ltd. The companies have developed ComputeAorta, a Codeplay OpenCL open standard-based software framework for Renesas R-Car system-on-chips (SoCs) – effectively a kit of development tools that will make it easier for safety companies to build systems using Renesas chips.

The software frameworks provide developers with standard development tools and support for a wide range of open source computer vision or open source deep learning software.

Jean-Francois Chouteau, vice president of Renesas Global ADAS Center, says, “Giving access to Renesas’ computer vison hardware with OpenCL and SYCL through collaboration with Codeplay will enable our customers to accelerate time-to-market while achieving an outstanding performance benefit in their ADAS designs.”

About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 17 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.