Autonomous & Self-Driving Vehicle News: Waymo, Phononic, Luminar, Mobileye, Horizon Robotics, STRADVISION, Hesai, Webasto & PreAct

In autonomous and self-driving vehicle news are Waymo, Phononic, Luminar, Mobileye, Horizon Robotics, STRADVISION, Hesai, Webasto and PreAct.

Waymo & Swiss Re Risk Study

Waymo and Swiss Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers, partnered in 2022 to advance risk assessment methodologies and approaches to evaluating safety of autonomous vehicles.

They claim new research led by Swiss Re which shows Waymo’s autonomous vehicles are significantly safer than those driven by humans. In the over 3.8 million miles that Waymo drove without a human behind the steering wheel across San Francisco, CA and Phoenix, AZ, there were zero bodily injury claims and a significant reduction in the property damage claims frequency.

While the research community and general public have long asked whether an autonomous driver is safer than human drivers, the industry has faced challenges in developing a robust and well-calibrated human performance benchmark for comparison. This study addresses these challenges by establishing a comparison baseline based on liability insurance claims data.

The study compares Waymo’s liability claims data with mileage- and zip-code-calibrated private passenger vehicle (human driver) baselines established by Swiss Re. Based on Swiss Re’s data from over 600,000 claims and over 125 billion miles of exposure, these baselines are extremely robust and highly significant.

Phononic to Cool Luminar

Phononic, a global leader in sustainable solid state cooling, today announced a strategic supply agreement to provide thermoelectric cooling devices and related design and engineering services to Luminar, a global automotive technology company ushering in a new era of vehicle safety and autonomy.

Building upon the millions of Phononic thermoelectric devices already cooling optical, telecom, and fiberoptic communications equipment, this first-of-its-kind thermoelectric strategic supply agreement represents the next mission critical deployment of Phononic technology. In addition, this ensures supply chain and manufacturing availability of cooling-integrated solutions that meet the most demanding automotive industry performance, quality, and reliability requirements.

“Phononic is uniquely positioned to support LiDAR’s demanding performance, reliability, and manufacturing specifications needed to realize the next evolution in vehicle safety,” said Jason Ruppert, Device Solutions GM at Phononic. “This strategic supply agreement enables Phononic and Luminar to redefine best practices and create an unparalleled solution for next generation vehicle safety.”

Luminar’s LiDAR systems are already designed-in to multiple OEM passenger vehicles, unlocking next generation automotive safety. Using a combination of high-performance laser emitters and receivers, LiDAR determines the distance and type of objects ahead of a vehicle giving the driver more time to react to dangerous situations.

Optimal LiDAR performance that enables vehicle safety requires consistent temperature control, even in the face of extreme automotive environmental conditions. Leveraging proprietary thermoelectric technology and a scalable device architecture, Phononic is uniquely positioned to reliably deliver high-performance cooling that meets demanding automotive OEM standards.

“Strategic supply agreements have long been used in the automotive industry given its unique, complicated, global supply chain and manufacturing footprint,” said Marco Bracalente, Vice President of Product Development at Luminar. “This agreement enables Phononic and Luminar to ensure the level of supply chain continuity and manufacturing availability expected by today’s major automotive customers.”

ZEEKR OTA for Mobileye SuperVision

Global mobility technology brand ZEEKR has launched a major over-the-air update for 110,000 owners of the ZEEKR 001 electric vehicle with the global debut of new, highly automated driving assistance features built on the Mobileye SuperVision™ platform. The upgraded Navigation ZEEKR Pilot (NZP) driving assistant system has already received strong reviews from over 1,000 beta users, with class-leading performance.

NZP leverages SuperVision’s 11 cameras – including seven 8-megapixel cameras – and surround fisheye cameras, along with a front radar and robust driving policy. Key features of NZP include point-to-point automated highway navigation, lane changes, automated on/off-ramp assist and intelligent traffic safety functions in identified operational design domains.

The system runs on two Mobileye EyeQ™5 systems-on-chip, an advanced custom 7-nanometer ADAS chipset, building on Mobileye’s two decades of experience in applied AI and machine learning to handle AI tasks with high energy efficiency, a key factor for electric vehicles.

Thanks to these enabling technologies, NZP can react similarly as a human driver might to everyday driving scenarios within its operational design domains. It can sense speed limit changes, merge into or overtake traffic, and navigate with an appropriate safety margin for construction zones, pedestrians and other road hazards, even in low-light conditions. It also reacts smartly to the other drivers on the road, understanding their behavior, using human-like motions to efficiently merge and mimicking how drivers tend to negotiate key road features. The functions are well recognized by leading industry media for its safety and efficiency performance.

The system will first be available in the cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou, with multiple cities being added over the next few months. ZEEKR 009 multi-purpose vehicle owners are expected to receive a similar OTA update later this year.

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done with ZEEKR to launch this successful update of NZP built on the Mobileye SuperVision™ platform,” said Prof. Amnon Shashua, President and CEO of Mobileye. “This jump forward points toward the full power of SuperVision that will enable ZEEKR to provide a seamless and reliable highly assisted driving experience in highway and urban settings. From what we’ve seen, NZP powered by SuperVision has become a market leader, raising the bar not only in China but worldwide.”

“As a strategic partner of Mobileye, ZEEKR is pleased to provide the industry-leading NZP solution to users to make travel safer and more efficient,” said Andy An, CEO of ZEEKR. “We will continue to further advance technologies to maintain our industry leadership globally.”

The SuperVision platform enables advanced driver-assist features at up to 130 kilometers per hour, on all road types, as monitored by the driver. It builds on Mobileye’s heritage for automotive safety features and driver assist technologies like automatic emergency braking, and lays the pathway towards fully autonomous consumer vehicles and robotaxis in the near future.

Under the expanded collaboration with Geely Group, three additional brands under Geely Group’s umbrella are due to leverage Mobileye SuperVision for advanced ADAS, including Polestar. ZEEKR’s new ZEEKR 001 FR quad-motor sports car, which can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph with just 2.08 seconds with rolling start, is the latest model launched to be equipped with Mobileye SuperVision™ platform.

Mobileye SuperVision for smart

smart, the new-premium intelligent all-electric auto brand, announced  a special upcoming model will feature Navigation smart Pilot (NSP) and a series of highly advanced driver-assistance features built upon the Mobileye SuperVision™ system.  

The special edition EV will offer smart Pilot Assist 2.0 version, which will be designed to gradually enable point-to-point automatic navigation on highways and urban expressways, automated lane changes, automated on/off-ramp assist and intelligent traffic safety functions within identified operational design domains, building off the existing strong safety performance in the smart #1. This special edition will also highlight smart’s global ambitions. 

Mr. Yang Jun, Vice President of Global Research and Development at smart Automobile, said: “Since the birth of the brand, smart has always been led by the vision of exploring the best solutions for future urban mobility. We believe that the smarter ADAS technology, will further enhance the competitiveness of the new generation of smart all-electric product family. Leveraging the R&D capability and the collaboration with industry leading partners, such as Mobileye, smart will continue elevating the brand’s technology label, providing more intelligent, safer urban mobility experience to the users.” 

The SuperVision-based system leverages 11 cameras – including seven 8-megapixel cameras – and radar, along with a robust driving policy. The system runs on two Mobileye EyeQ5™ system-on-chips, an advanced custom 7-nanometer ADAS chipset, building on Mobileye’s two decades of experience in applied AI and machine learning to handle AI tasks with high energy efficiency, a key consideration for electric vehicles. 

“We’re excited to launch this new era of collaboration with the smart brand, offering new capabilities built from the foundation of our SuperVision technology,” said Johann Jungwirth, senior vice president of autonomous driving at Mobileye. “SuperVision complements smart’s commitment to offering the future of urban mobility globally.”  

Horizon Robotics & STRADVISION Partner

Horizon Robotics, a leading provider of energy-efficient computing solutions for consumer vehicles, and STRADVISION, an automotive industry pioneer in deep learning-based vision perception technology, recently formed a strategic partnership. The collaboration focuses on the production-quality implementation of STRADVISION’s perception technology, SVNet, on Horizon’s Journey™ series computing solutions, aiming to provide high-quality driving assistance solutions for the Tier 1s and OEMs.

STRADVISION’s SVNet provides cutting-edge vision-based object detection and recognition, even in challenging weather conditions, and has been optimized on Horizon’s Journey computing solutions via its easy-to-use Horizon OpenExplorer™ software development toolkit. With two market-competitive companies joining hands, the combined solutions offer best-in-class performance, power and cost efficiency in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) solutions to the Tier 1s and OEMs, and ultimately bring safety and convenience to the end-consumers and their families during their journey.

“The automotive landscape is undergoing a rapid transformation,” said Dr. Yu Kai, founder and CEO of Horizon Robotics, “STRADVISION’s production-proven perception solution enables market-competitive ADAS implementation. Through its optimization on Horizon’s energy-efficient computing solutions, we will together bring safer and more competitive products, and promote the digital transformation of automotive industry.”

“Horizon’s Journey computing solutions, renowned for their industry-leading compute efficiency and minimal power consumption, have been meticulously crafted for ADAS/AD applications,” remarked Dr. Junhwan Kim, CEO of STRADVISION. He further emphasized, “This strategic collaboration underscores STRADVISION’s commitment to our mission of delivering highly adaptable vision perception technology. We empower automotive players to seamlessly integrate our technology with a spectrum of hardware options, thereby expediting the evolution towards software-defined vehicles.”

STRADVISION’s SVNet is now available on Horizon Robotics Journey series computing solutions. Together, both companies will work together to accelerate the mobility transformation of the automobile industry and bring more value to consumers with an enhanced driving experience that prioritizes safety, convenience and enjoyment.

Hesai & Webasto

Hesai Technology (Nasdaq: HSAI), the global leader in automotive lidar, announced a partnership with Webasto, the leading global automotive supplier of roof systems. Hesai will provide automotive lidar sensors to Webasto for its Roof Sensor Module for passenger cars with ADAS.

Hesai’s AT128 long range lidar has been integrated in Webasto’s current Roof Sensor Module, which features several cameras and lidars. Webasto system includes an entire sensor set, together with other antennas, concealed under a full-surface polycarbonate cover that blends with the vehicle’s silhouette. This innovative panoramic car roof has a compact, sleek design that balances functionality and aesthetics.

Lidar can capture the most accurate information about the size, shape, location, and movements of surrounding objects, and is therefore becoming a key component in new ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) technologies designed to improve safety performance. By actively emitting infrared laser light into its surroundings, lidar functions well in dark, bright, and changing lighting environments. Additionally, lidar can directly capture the 3D positions of objects, giving it an advantage in detecting objects directly, rather than needing to be trained to recognize objects, like cameras.

Hesai’s long-range automotive lidar sensors are ideal for rooftop integration. Its flagship long-range lidar AT128 generates ultra-high resolution point clouds and perceives objects as far as 200 meters away. Whether it’s vehicles, pedestrians, or tires and traffic cones that are easily overlooked, AT128 will capture all objects in great detail, ensuring accurate decision-making to avoid risks. This automotive-grade lidar has proven its success with 11 OEM wins and over 130,000 units shipped.

Hesai’s new ET25 long-range lidar is only 25 mm thick, which makes it ideal for both rooftop and behind-the-windshield installation. ET25’s range can reach a stunning 225 meters even behind the windshield, with the finest angular resolution reaching 0.05° x 0.05°. The sensor uses just 12 W of power to avoid overheating, and it also stays extremely quiet. At lower than 25 dB, its noise level is less than that of a quiet library.

“The autonomous driving field has seen impressive technological progress, and we are now looking to create something that combines functionality with visual appeal for the mass market,” explains Thomas Schütt, VP R&D Roof at Webasto. “We are thrilled to collaborate Hesai in the field of lidar integration and look forward to exploring even more possibilities in the near future.”

“At Hesai we are excited to partner with Webasto to explore new and innovative design with lidar,” shares Bob in den Bosch, Senior VP of Global Sales at Hesai Technology. “We want to see our cutting-edge lidar technology adopted by leading automotive OEMs and become a mainstream component in series-production vehicles. That means reliably delivering at the highest quality with the best price points. We hope to push boundaries once more in this new collaboration. With the integrated solution, people can now enjoy the safety and comfort of lidar without sacrificing the look of the vehicle.”

PreAct Intros Mojave

PreAct Technologies (PreAct), an Oregon-based developer of near-field flash LiDAR technology, announced the availability of its Mojave LiDAR, a high-performance, low-cost sensor solution to address a variety of applications including smart cities, robotics, cargo monitoring, education & university research, building monitoring, patient monitoring, agricultural, and much more.   The PreAct Mojave LiDAR is distributed globally by DigiKey Electronics and Amazon.

“I am incredibly proud of our team for getting Mojave ready to be available to the mass market, and these distribution partnerships are a major milestone for our company,” said Paul Drysch, CEO of PreAct. “As more industries are discovering the power of LiDAR sensors to provide high quality data while also maintaining individual privacy, we knew we had to make Mojave as widely available as possible. Now anyone – not just large companies – can purchase the highest performing near-field sensor on the market and customize it for a wide variety of use cases. The availability of such powerful technology at an affordable price is a game changer.”

Introduced to the sensor market in August, Mojave is the only flash LiDAR designed to meet the needs of non-automotive industries, as well as automotive applications. With its software-definable capabilities, depth accuracy error of less than 2%, and a single unit retail cost of $350, Mojave is the first truly mass-market LiDAR.

Mojave meets the stringent needs of sensors in robotics, agriculture and other industrial applications. It has superior cliff and edge detection over any other sensor on the market, can provide over 1.4 million points per second of depth information and has the ability to detect floor slope and camber. Mojave comes fully calibrated from the factory and both the software and firmware are upgradable, allowing companies to invest once in the hardware and continue to improve the sensor performance over time.

Mojave is now available to companies, organizations and individuals looking to purchase single Mojave units or in volume through DigiKey and Amazon.

DigiKey is recognized as the global leader and continuous innovator in the cutting-edge commerce distribution of electronic components and automation products worldwide. Amazon is known for its fast, efficient distribution of products across the globe.