Autonomy promises the ideal driver for any vehicle

From safety to fuel economy, self-driving technology brings many improvements to fleets.megan lampinen

Automation and self-driving promise many benefits in terms of road safety, user experience and vehicle fuel economy. Today’s developer is trying to apply his case to every conceivable kind of use, from mining applications and his tractors in yards to city taxis and lorries.

The ideal driver is not human

Fusion Processing boasts that it “can make vehicles of any size autonomous, powered by electric, hybrid or ICE (internal combustion engines).” The company’s CAVstar control system serves as the brain of the self-driving car, utilizing data from cameras, radar and LiDAR sensors. The controller processes the data to form a complete picture of the vehicle’s environment and to plan safe routes. Jim Fleming, his director of marketing at Fusion Processing, said:

The ideal driver doesn’t fall asleep or get distracted by their phone while driving. It also avoids speeding and unnecessary sudden braking. For fleets operating on tight margins, these improvements can mean big savings. “The automaker reports he has a 25% variability in fuel consumption between the best and worst drivers in the fleet,” says Fleming. automotive world“This is a significant cost savings waiting to be realized with our AV technology. It can also provide manufacturers with smaller batteries, higher payloads and longer range .”

The tech developer has made a range of vehicles autonomous, including small electric vehicles like the Renault Twizy, off-highway electric pods, a 12-meter bus for Stagecoach and a 9-meter minibus for First Group. . Today’s main focus is his SAE Level 4 application for commercial vehicles.

Fusion technology powers testing of UK’s first full-size self-driving bus

This includes buses. The CAVstar system is now proving its worth. CAV Force Scottish self-driving bus pilot, capable of self-driving buses on pre-selected roads. “In the second half of 2022, the two bus operators will start passenger service using different vehicles, but both vehicle types will be equipped with our CAVStar system,” said Fleming. increase.

For this project, Fusion Processing provided a complete facility, including sensors, antennas and processors, and worked with automakers and key suppliers to achieve redundancy in steering, braking and powertrain systems. “We pride ourselves on being more than just a software provider,” he clarifies. “Yes, we use all in-house developed software, but we also develop processing and sensor hardware to create the most optimized low-latency system possible. Not only do they offer extremely high levels of performance, but both heat and power consumption are minimized, eliminating the need for things like forced air cooling, making automotive grade reliability easier to achieve. is also expressed.”

Cargo vehicles

The company also wants to show that its technology can be used effectively on freight vehicles. “We are interested in hub-to-hub automated transport, automated depots, automated distribution centers and store-to-consumer delivery systems,” adds Fleming. Fusion has two new projects he has in these segments, due to be announced in September 2022.

The company expects two different modes of operation to emerge in the field of automated freight forwarding. One has a driver in the driver’s seat, but comes with an AV system that allows the vehicle to be driven on certain sections of the route, such as along highways. Even this limited application can have a large impact on your fleet. “For freight operations, the driver’s working hours are even more complicated,” he points out Fleming. But with an automated system, the entire operation can be optimized so that the truck does not stop on the side of the road because the driver has reached the time limit.

A second possible operational model places the driver in a remote operational hub instead of in the driver’s seat. This remote his driver can work efficiently in the office instead of on the go. The job requires monitoring multiple vehicles and intervening only when necessary, for example when a route is diverted or a collision occurs. “This type of vehicle can dramatically improve aerodynamics and fuel economy, reduce tractor weight, and increase payload and range,” says Fleming.


Fusion is also exploring applications in platooning. Platooning uses connected technology and autonomous driving to link two or more trucks together in a platoon. Both trucks can reduce fuel consumption by automatically maintaining a set proximity distance for part of their travel. It can also reduce the burden on drivers and improve traffic flow on roads.

The UK government’s HelmUK project was first announced in August 2017 and has only recently been completed. Sponsored by Highways England and led by TRL, the objective was to operate a platoon of trucks on highways in a real commercial environment. Fusion Processing was one of his project partners along with DAF, Ricardo and DHL. Its role in the project was to measure and analyze the position and movement of other vehicles around the platoon, in addition to recording platoon vehicle data on speed, position, fuel consumption, and vehicle condition. Fusion CEO Jim Hutchinson said: .

The Helm project aimed to understand what it would take to safely deploy an HGV platoon on UK roads

Data is HelmUK’s main focus and project partners gather insights to support several research objectives. These include providing safety and cybersecurity evidence regarding drivers, other vehicles, and V2V communications. Quantify environmental benefits in terms of fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. Evaluate commercial compatibility; evaluate impact on infrastructure and traffic management. Providing information to standards and regulatory bodies.

By analyzing some of the data, Fusion was able to flag where there might have been a safety hazard, such as a hard braking event on one of the surrounding vehicles. To achieve this, Fusion added its own radar and camera sensors to each platoon vehicle and accessed CAN bus data from the truck’s own system. This range of information was processed by his CAVstar control unit on board the vehicle. As Hutchinson explains, each type of sensor (radar, LiDAR, camera) has different benefits and different limitations. “We have always been interested in the opportunity to combine information streams from different types of sensors, which is why we call ourselves Fusion Processing,” he says.

what’s next?

In particular, platooning is not a fully automated driving application. With his SAE Levels 4 and 5 automated driving, where human intervention is not possible, Hutchinson said, “It’s important that the sensor data is reliable, and if a sensor component fails, the system can detect this and have sufficient It has redundancy,” he points out. Built in to ensure a safe transition. “

Going forward, Fusion will step up its activities on level 4 autonomous driving in commercial applications. “While the media often focuses on self-driving passenger cars, we believe commercial vehicles will be the first commercial vehicles for this technology,” says Fleming. “Our commercial vehicle fleet is professionally operated, offering increased safety, lower fuel costs, lower tire emissions, lower operating costs, and enhanced optimization of driver time and vehicle use. The technology to do it is very attractive.” Autonomy promises the ideal driver for any vehicle

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