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Technology

TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGE

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:

  • radar,
  • gated short-wave infrared camera
  • short-wave infrared LIDAR.

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.

TECHNOLOGICAL APPROACH

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.

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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.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

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:

  • Define functional requirements for a miniaturized sensor suite capable of operating in all weather and ambient lighting conditions throughout the year.
  • Define specifications and a system architecture to fullfil the requirements for an automotive implementation.
  • Develop a radar operating in the 77-81 GHz automotive band by increasing the angular resolution to a sub-degree level as a part of the adverse weather sensing system.
  • Develop a Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) gated camera sensor with pulsed laser illuminator as a part of adverse weather imaging system.
  • Develop a Short Wave Infrared LIDAR as a part of adverse weather imaging system.
  • Integrate the Short Wave Infrared SWIR camera, the SWIR Lidar and MIMO radar sensors by cognitive scene labelling, understanding and sparse sensing algorithms.
  • Develop a Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) multispectral detection scheme for remote road surface condition measurements to assist traction estimation and object identification.
  • Integrate the novel sensor hardwares in mimimum size, low manufacturing costs, the fusion platform and facilitate their integration in a vehicle.
  • Test, validate and demonstrate the novel adverse weather sensor system in real life conditions showing the potential for enhanced driver support.
  • Promote DENSE all-weather sensor system to facilitate and speed up the market introduction.