Autonomous car developers need to use different kinds of sensors to detect lane markings, traffic lights, pedestrians, movement of other vehicles, and speed of other vehicles. The key sensing technologies which have huge potential in the future are image sensors, LIDAR, RADAR sensors, ultrasonic sensors, battery sensors, and self-healing sensors.
• Image Sensors: Image sensors convert light or a visual image into an electronic or digital signal. The waves can be composed of visible light or other forms of electromagnetic radiation. The image sensor industry has become highly dynamic, with developments focused on the automotive domain. Innovations in image sensor technology are leading to the next revolution in the imaging industry and setting new standards in capturing images.
• RADAR (Radio Direction and Ranging) Sensors: Radar sensors employ frequency modulated continuous wave to reliably detect stationary or moving targets such as trucks, cars, cargos, and others in extreme weather conditions. Radar sensors are ideal for various automotive applications such as collision avoidance, warning and mitigation, blind spot monitoring, lane change assistance, and others.
• LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging): A LIDAR is a system which employs the same operational principle of RADAR, but instead of radio waves, the system uses light from the near-infrared laser to detect stationary or moving targets. To measure the range of an object, light from the LIDAR is employed in pulses to generate precise information about the environment.
• Ultrasonic Sensors: To measure the distance of the object, sound waves are employed by ultrasonic sensors. The transmission and reception of the sound waves help determine the distance of moving or stationary objects.
• Self Healing Sensors: Self-healing sensors are a combination of sensors and advanced materials. When damage is inflicted to an autonomic healing compound, an immediate trigger response helps prevent further material loss, which is somewhat similar to blood clotting. This step is followed by material transportation, which is necessary for the actual healing to take place. Healing can be performed in a variety of ways, depending on the application, and across different time frames. Materials contribute to the real magic behind sensing and self-healing applications and help transform different markets and industries. Self-Healing sensor enable high-performance devices, increase lifetime, and reduce the cost for condition maintenance
• Battery Sensors: An EV battery is comprised of an individual block of approximately 12 lithium cells. The cell of a battery, when overcharged or heated, is easily flammable and requires continuous monitoring. So EVs employ voltage and current sensors to continuously monitor the voltage and current fluctuation in the battery.
Glass cannot be sensed by LIDAR, whereas metals can be sensed with the help of radar. Thus, images can very easily fool the camera. For this kind of issues, many different kinds of sensors are required to predict and analyze a perfect path for the Electric Vehicle. Currently, OEMs have achieved L2 autonomy and as this would increase, the requirements and advancements in the sensors market would also grow exponentially.
The visual fields are interpreted in detail with the help of radar technology to assess the anticipated outcome such as vehicle collision with other objects. The technology can detect markings on the road, such as barriers, lanes, and traffic lights and also provide real-time data for precise localization and high-definition lane information. This would increase the demand for autonomous commercial vehicles post-2025.
In electric vehicles, current sensors also play an important role in helping drivers sense the charge of the vehicle and the outage of battery. Essential information such as charging cycles of the battery is sensed by the current sensors. New approaches are being used with the help of different sensors to make self-driving cars more reliable for the future. The OEMs are also incorporating Artificial intelligence using varies ranges of high-power sensors to easily gauge the distance of objects on the road and the surroundings. Acknowledging the above factors, car manufacturing companies are partnering with sensor manufacturers to produce customized sensors to provide a high-quality driving experience.
North American countries, especially the U.S. and Canada, with the rapid adoption of these systems, would drive the market. Governments across regions are imposing mandates on the ban of petrol and diesel engine vehicles. This will further lead to a scenario where only electric vehicles will be available in the future. Developments in autonomous vehicles will be restricted to electric vehicles in the long run. Thus, the aforementioned key sensing technologies will play a crucial role in the development of electric vehicles.