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‘High Automation’ Autonomous Cars on Roads by 2020

Self-driving automotive technology took a big step forward this week, as NXP Semiconductors rolled out a pizza-box-sized module that could bring production-level, “high automation” to the roads by 2020.

Known as BlueBox, the new module contains the electronics for radar-, lidar-, and vision-based processing, as well as control of the autonomous steering, brakes, engine, and gearbox. The unit promises to take vehicles to Level 4 autonomy, in which the car operates itself but requires a driver to be present in the front seat. NXP said that four of the world’s top five automakers are already developing vehicles on BlueBox.

At the NXP FTF in Austin, TX this week, NXP showed off its BlueBox autonomous vehicle technology on a 3D-printed car built by Local Motors.   (Source: Design News)

At the NXP FTF in Austin, TX this week, NXP showed off its BlueBox autonomous vehicle technology on a 3D-printed car built by Local Motors.
(Source: Design News)

“This is an architecture for production and mass deployment,” Allan McAuslin, product line manager for vision and automated drive at NXP, told Design News .

The introduction is important because it brings the automotive world closer to the ultimate goal of full autonomy. The auto industry currently recognizes five levels of automated driving:

  • Level 1 , which includes adaptive cruise control, lanekeeping, and automatic braking, is already on the roads in many newer vehicles.
  • Level 2 , or partial automation, includes emergency braking with steering.
  • Level 3 , known as conditional automation, adds chauffeuring capability for highway driving, but not for heavy traffic.
  • Level 4, calls for a driver to be present in the front seat, but enables the vehicle to drive itself.
  • Level 5 , which allows the “driver” to sit in rear seat, is the only higher level of automation.

NXP said that automakers currently deploying BlueBox are targeting Level 4, but not Level 5.

To read the rest of this article and see a slideshow on NXP's Bluebox tech, visit EBN sister site Design News.

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