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A look into the future of the automobile: smart and connected

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A look into the future of the automobile: smart and connected

Three types of sensors and a few months of training artificial intelligenceallowed Teoresi to put on the road a prototype of the self-driving city car YoYo, an electric vehicle made by XEV, an innovative Turin car manufacturer, and recently part of the Enjoy fleet in Turin.

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Turn left and stop in case of crossing a pedestrian on the pedestrian crossing were the two test benches of the “newly licensed” vehicle. In fact, the training phase ended only last March, passed through an autonomous driving simulator, which allowed baptism on the road. At the moment, still private. The maneuvers, repeated over and over again, were perfectly successful, without requiring the intervention of the engineer who remained on board the vehicle in an emergency.

The next step for Teoresi, which recently became a partner of Torino City Lab, will be the tests on the Turin Smart Road circuit, a route of about 35 km designed to favor the experimentation of connected and autonomous cars.

Teoresi’s presentation on autonomous driving involved two types of tests in particular: turning left and stopping at a pedestrian crossing when a pedestrian crosses the road. Operations possible thanks to HD maps that allow the vehicle to study its own route, minimizing unforeseen events and surprises. To manage the latter there are the on-board sensors: three cameras, three LIDAR (laser pulse radar) and the Gps. During the test phase, one of the engineers who contributed to the realization of the prototype remained on board, to intervene in case of need.

On the occasion of the test, the president Valter Brasso announced that Teoresi will be among the partners of the newly established National Center for Sustainable Mobility, which will have the task of accompanying the green and digital transition from a sustainable perspective, focusing on the theme of 360 degrees mobility. Thanks to long-standing collaborations with large international automotive customers, the Turin-based company is able to offer ready-to-use solutions in the automotive, railway and aerospace sectors.

The challenge of mobility

The experimentation started with XEV aims at studying efficient solutions in the field of self-driving vehicles and at acquiring skills in a sector that will be crucial in the near future. “We worked to develop the brain of the car – explained Fabio Gadda, Marketing Manager – and to do so our autonomous driving simulator was fundamental, which allowed us to train the artificial intelligence of the vehicle, which moves autonomously thanks to references of the territory it possesses through its own high-definition maps, thanks to which it knows the positioning of obstacles, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings. Then, through a series of sensors, three cameras and three Lidars, laser pulse radars, it is able to monitor the space that surrounds it, integrating the information from the maps “.

The first challenge for contemporary cars it is represented by the software. The code behind it has become more and more complex, just think that 100 million lines of code are required for a modern luxury vehicle. 6.5 million is enough for a Boeing 787. And it is expected that by 2030, the electronic system will account for 50% of the final cost of the vehicle.

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Given the complexity of the code, it is not surprising that the percentage of vehicles recalled for electronic component defects has grown over the past decade. Update release times are reduced, to overcome the obsolescence of the applications, it therefore becomes necessary to continuously update, even after the release on the market. And this aspect recalls another element that has become central to vehicles in recent years: connectivity. Necessary to allow updates or the addition of new applications, even after the sale. But also to develop applications that can be released in service mode, to be activated only when needed.

Cars more and more like a smartphone

Connected, smart, an access channel to an ever-increasing number of services: cars are becoming more and more like a smartphone. The issue of connectivity brings with it that of cybersecurity, as highlighted by Gianluca Cerio, Technology Project Manager Leader of Teoresi: remote attacks on vehicles increased significantly between 2015 and 2019. On the other hand, access doors have grown exponentially, especially with the evolution of on-board infotainment systems.

Cooperative guide

Difficult to make a prediction on when they can start driving in traffic self-driving cars. “What we can venture is that it will happen in small steps – observes Valter Brasso – and we will start from the motorways, where it is easier to ensure good connectivity to vehicles and where the traffic is more irregular. When we arrive on the motorway, we will be able to leave the controls. and be transported in complete safety: compliance with speed limits will be guaranteed and driving will be optimized for greater energy savings “. The most complex phase will be that of coexistence between autonomous vehicles and vehicles with driver, with the unpredictability of human behavior.

Once the infrastructure is adequate and the connected vehicles will be able to communicate with each other, the phase defined by cooperative driving will be entered: each vehicle will be able to receive information not only from its sensors and HD maps, updated in real time, but also from the others. vehicles, traffic lights and potential sensors distributed along the road network.

But even before that, an essential enabling element is needed: “100% electrification of vehicles – concludes Fabio Gadda – and this brings with it the topic of batteries and their life cycle. Recycling is still complex, energy-intensive and toxic; it would be preferable to resort to reuse, for example by using them as energy accumulators in smart greeds, thus giving life to a virtuous system of circular economy “.

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