The sensors can distinguish between adults and children while detecting body shape and movement, optimising air bag usage
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Spotted: As cars become more electronically sophisticated, they need to contain more sensors. For example, just to manage airbag deployment, many cars contain separate internal sensors to sense body position, body size and movement. Now, Israeli company Vayyar has developed a “4D radar” unit the size of a credit card that can contain multiple sensors, greatly simplifying the vehicles’ sensor systems.
Vayyars’ multifunction radar-on-a-chip (ROC) packs 48 radar transceivers onto a single coin-sized chip. The chip is able to produce a high-resolution 3D-point cloud map of the vehicle’s interior. At this resolution, the sensors can not only distinguish between an adult and a child but can tell the shape of the body and its position, as well as movement.
This information is used for airbag optimisation, as well as to detect back seat passengers – a requirement on new vehicles from 2023. Moreover, as the software is quicker to use than on multiple sensors, manufacturers will be able to adapt the ROC to new uses. For example, it can be used for gesture control, to analyse the drivers’ head position, or to determine if they are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel.
Vayyar says that its chip will be embedded into various models from 2023. Vayyar’s Director of Business Development, Ian Podkamien points out that the company has a lot of experience in sensor development. “Our solution is already automotive-grade qualified. … Practically, there will be a requirement for radar technology in the interiors of vehicles from 2023 and beyond. … you can expect to see this Vayyar solution embedded in vehicles in the 2023 models.”
Sensor technology is key to the internet of things, and as a result we are seeing a constant stream of innovative uses for sensors. Recent concepts include a silk needle sensor that can detect food spoilage and a sensor sheet that can track respiration while the user sleeps.
Written By: Lisa Magloff