Now, I would never admit to doing this myself, but I know people who know people who camp out in front of a store to be one of the first to purchase a new product. Typically, the product is an electronic device with new or advanced capabilities. Apparently, there is something about having the device with the best features that some of us simply cannot resist.
Vehicles are also defined by their capabilities, and it is not surprising that the best autonomous cars typically also have the most advanced features. Over the last few decades, the capabilities of cars have advanced to the point where there are Level 4 autonomous vehicles on the road. Let’s examine some of the features that define the best autonomous cars on the road today and then discuss how to design and manufacture PCBs for them.
Features of Today’s Best Autonomous Cars
The automotive industry has had a long tradition for vehicle manufacturers to produce a new version of their models each year. More often than not, the annual change involves the enhancement or addition of features that elevate the driving experience by improving performance and/or increasing safety. For autonomous vehicles (AVs), the primary focus of feature enhancement or addition is safety in pursuit of achieving a fully driverless car. The most advanced or best of these cars incorporate some or all of the features listed below.
Lane Control - This is the ability to stay safely within the lane, which is achieved by monitoring distances to lane markers, road edges and adjacent vehicles. Some of these systems utilize the global positioning system (GPS) to pinpoint locations.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) - This feature is an enhancement of the common cruise control that maintains a constant speed. ACC, by contrast, is a safety feature, dedicated to maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
Automatic Emergency Braking System (AEBS) - This safety feature is essential for fully autonomous vehicles as it automatically stops the vehicle to avoid a collision.
Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) - This technology is used for distance determination and object identification. Standalone mountable units are used on drones as well as road vehicles.
Street Sign Recognition - This feature is a software program that is able to process sensor data and identify road signs. Although viable products do exist, this technology will be the subject of research and development for some time to come.
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communication - This feature is at the heart of a connected-vehicle technology where vehicles work together to improve the safety of the roadway system, including the vehicles on it.
Object or Collision Avoidance System (CAS) - An object avoidance system typically integrates multiple features, such as object detection or identification and AEBS to avoid a collision.
The list above does not include every feature found in autonomous cars; however, it is representative of the advanced features that will be foundational for Level 5 AVs.
PCB Design and Manufacturing for the Best Autonomous Cars
After decades of making improvements to vehicles to assist drivers and improve safety, a large segment of the automobile industry considers autonomous vehicles to be the best hope of truly making the roads safe. This prospect justifies the continuous expansion of research and development to enhance and improve AV features. At the heart of these systems are electronics and PCBs, which ultimately determine the reliability of the features.
The design and manufacturing or development of the boards on which these systems are based requires the designer and contract manufacturer (CM) to make a commitment to quality and reliability that exceeds the obligations typically required for other commercial PCB development. This begins with stringently following all pertinent automotive industry standards and regulations and adopting a comprehensive quality management system (QMS) based upon the requirements and guidelines of IATF 16949.
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Although a segment of the general public has expressed some apprehension, the days when autonomous cars will dominate our roadways is on the horizon. The inability to lower the accident and fatality rates on our roads demands that we develop an alternative to the system we have now. At Tempo Automation, we are committed to building boards quickly that meet or exceed the standards required for utilization in autonomous vehicles.
And to help you get started on the best path, we furnish information for your DFM checks and enable you to easily view and download DRC files. If you’re an Altium user, you can simply add these files to your PCB design software.
If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on the features of the best autonomous cars or development requirements for them, contact us.