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Automotive safety - where do we go from here?

Road safety is often high on the agenda for authorities in Europe, but despite the number of measures introduced within the past 20 years to improve the situation, accidents and deaths still occur in their thousands. For example, in 2018, 23,400 people died as a result of road accidents in Europe, and road deaths have only decreased by 6% over the past five years.

So what can we do? Many car manufacturers are already investing in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), which add a layer of safety to a driver’s world. ADAS sensors and cameras on a car detect nearby obstacles and hazards, enabling the car to avoid anything that could compromise safety. And while the investment in ADAS is great news for safety, the technology behind it is evolving quickly over the next few years.

Here’s how Samsung is driving that evolution.

Advanced memory

One way that ADAS is evolving is through a significant upgrade to the memory technology involved. For example, Samsung’s universal flash storage (UFS) underpins the next level of dashboards and infotainment systems, providing an extensive range of connected features for drivers and passengers. Moreover, Samsung’s LPDDR5 DRAM component uses an advanced, speed-optimised and energy-efficient circuit architecture to transfer data from automobile sensors instantaneously, while the ultra-high bandwidth of Samsung’s GDDR6 DRAM paves the way for AI deep learning. And on top of that, Samsung’s AutoSSD stores map data for autonomous driving at the highest bandwidth. When combined together, these technologies ensure that feedback loops between driver and vehicle are as fast and as intelligent as possible.

Adaptive driving beam headlights

Safety during the darker hours of the day is clearly imperative, and advanced adaptive driving beam (ADB) technology is helping to improve car headlights of the future. Samsung’s PixCell LED for ADB solutions include a scalable chip, customisable to manufacturer needs and guaranteed to work in all kinds of optical, electronic, thermal and mechanical stress. With Samsung’s PixCell LED technology, ADB systems can automatically adjust the direction of the full beam around oncoming vehicles as not to blind them, while maintaining full beam and full visibility on the road ahead for the first driver.

Eyes for cars

The last way ADAS is evolving will make it appropriate for autonomous cars one day. Autonomous cars require dozens of image sensors, and the total bandwidth needed to process the video from these sensors surpasses conventional processing techniques. Samsung’s dynamic vision sensor (DVS) addresses these needs directly. An innovative image sensor, Samsung’s DVS mimics the capabilities of the human retina to instantly register changes in the nearby environment. It provides an optimal balance between resolution, sensing speed, and low power consumption both in daylight and in near darkness — while also dramatically reducing the data bandwidth by capturing the data that matters.

But what about fully autonomous vehicles?

While advanced driver-assist systems vastly improve current standards of safety, they cannot alone pave the way fully autonomous vehicles. Technologies like 5G, IoT, artificial intelligence and machine learning all need to work seamlessly and reliably and at scale for autonomous vehicles to work.

The good news though is that these technologies are advancing quickly and advancing to a point where governments around the world can now push for a common framework for autonomous vehicle safety. Once a standard and subsequent legislation is in place, we’ll see autonomous vehicles go into production in earnest, and the world can finally eliminate road traffic accidents and deaths for good.