DENSE overall objective is to develop and validate a sensor suite for driver assistance and automated driving working 24/7 – in all weather. The extended perception capability based on a smart, reliable and cost-efficient sensing system is necessary to meet the targets of upcoming autonomous driving. This new sensor set needs to combine three technologies:
None of these three sensors could deal with all sorts of weather conditions individually; they must therefore be combined and used together in order to ensure the technology complies with the high safety requirements for autonomous driving.
DENSE will start by analysing the contributing factors to car accidents in severe weather. This knowledge will allow for deﬁning the functional and operational requirements needed to build an innovative all-weather sensor suite yielding outline speciﬁcations and system architecture needed for the actual sensor development and integration in cars.
Only a combination of different sensors and the integration of the newest sensor technologies will fulfil the high safety requirements. While conventional radar technology works in bad weather, it does not provide sufficient information to ensure safe autonomous driving.
The project will develop advanced radar with a high angular resolution operating in the 77-81 GHz automotive band, a Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) gated camera sensor with pulsed laser illuminator, and a new LIDAR for improved performance in adverse weather. The sensor suite will also allow for the assessment of road surface conditions.
DENSE will use a smart fusion functionality based on artificial neural networks to fuse all sensor information at pixel level, leading to an enriched and enhanced multi spectral image. For maximizing their efficiency DENSE is planning to implement a high-level fusion platform integration between the single sensors.
Ultimately, the system will be integrated in a test vehicle and demonstrated under controlled conditions in a weather chamber as well as under real life conditions, especially autumn and winter conditions, in Central and Northern European.
In order to achieve the overall project goal – to develop and validate an all-weather sensor suite – DENSE will execute research and development in these specific technical fields: