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Infineon and Reality AI Teach Cars How to Hear for Improved Road Safety

May 19, 2021
Machine learning also ensures that the country-specific sirens of emergency vehicles are recognized in all parts of the world.

This article appeared in Evaluation Engineering and has been published here with permission.

Today's advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are based on cameras, radar, or LiDAR. As a result, their target objects need to be within the line-of-sight to be recognized by the system. This, however, turns into a weakness when it comes to emergency vehicles, as they can be heard much earlier than they can be seen and thus are invisible to ADAS for a longer time.

To address this challenge, Infineon Technologies and Reality AI created an advanced sensing solution to give vehicles the sense of hearing. This solution adds XENSIV MEMS microphones to existing sensor systems, enabling cars to “see” around the corner and to warn about moving objects hidden in the blind spot, or approaching emergency vehicles that are still too distant to see.

The sensing solution will be showcased at Infineon’s Virtual Sensor Experience, using XENSIV MEMS microphones in combination with AURIX MCUs and Reality AI’s Automotive See-With-Sound (SWS) system. Using machine-learning-based algorithms, the system is able to detect emergency vehicles, cars, and other road participantseven if they cannot be seen by drivers or detected by the sensors incorporated in the vehicles’ ADAS. Machine learning also ensures that the country-specific sirens of emergency vehicles are recognized in all parts of the world.

The automotive-qualified XENSIV MEMS microphone IM67D130A has an increased operating temperature range from 40 to +105°C, allowing for various use cases in harsh automotive environments. The low distortions (THD) and the high acoustic overload point (AOP) of 130-dB SPL enable the microphone to capture distortion-free audio signals in loud environments. This permits a reliable classification, even if the siren sound is hidden in high background or wind noise. The sound-base sensing technology also canenable other applications in vehicles such as road condition monitoring, damage detection or even predictive maintenance.

For audio-signal processing, the Reality AI software leverages Infineon’s AURIX TC3x family of MCUs, which is widely used across multiple automotive applications. The scalable MCU family offers a range from one to six cores and up to 16 MB of flash with functional safety up to ASIL-D according to the ISO26262 2018 standard and EVITA full cybersecurity. AURIX TC3x gives customers the performance and flexibility to implement XENSIV MEMS microphones in ADAS use cases.

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