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Week In Review: Auto, Security, Pervasive Computing

CES 2022 offers up autonomous tractor; next-gen sensors; Mobileye Drive, chips; Infineon AIROC Wi-Fi win.

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Automotive
As part of its in-cabin monitoring wares at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022, U.S.-based Gentex demonstrated the Vaporsens gas sensors, a nanofiber chemical sensor technology that monitors cabin air quality and can ID airborne contaminants. One use would be to monitor if outside contaminants get into the cabin, the sensor could trigger the car to turn on the recirculation of air inside the cabin. Gentex acquired Vaporsens in January 2021.

Speaking of air contamination sensors, Infineon displayed its new CO2 sensor family for detecting CO2 concentrations in buildings or enclosed spaces by mounting the sensors to the air conditioning system or via monitors. The sensor, XENSIV PAS CO2 sensor — which is a quarter the size of NDIR sensors — is also making it in portable air sensing devices that will be available this month. There’s a COVID-19 detection connection, too. The company cites a known correlation between CO2 and aerosol concentrations, which is a transmission route for viruses. The sensor can be linked to a smart phone and be used to control ventilation in a room. Infineon used its PAS (photoacoustic spectroscopy) technology converts the CO 2 measurement into a ppm value, data available through serial I²C, UART, and PWM interfaces.

Zero emission vehicles
Infineon uncorked its TC4x family of AURIX MCUs for automotive at CES 2022. The MCU family supports both electric vehicles and the advancement of automated driving. The TC4x adds SOTA (software over the air) features for secure car-to-cloud connection, in-field updates, and diagnosis and analysis of how the vehicle is performing.

Autonomous vehicles
John Deere unveiled an autonomous tractor at CES 2022.

Volvo Cars plans to debut its autonomous driving feature Ride Pilot in the U.S.state of California as an add-on subscription in Volvo’s fully electric SUV. The Ride Pilot still needs to be verified as highway safe. Zenseact, a software company, developed the autonomous driving (AD) software with a team of Volvo Cars and Luminar developers. The Luminar Iris lidar sensor is installed, among over 24 other sensors. Volvo Cars is apready testing Ride Pilot in Sweden.

Mobileye introduced its EyeQ Ultra, described as an AV-on-chip super-computer for autonomous driving that holds down power use by running AI at 176 TOPS. The single package EyeQ Ultra has 10 EyeQ5s made on 5 nanometer process. First silicon is expected in late 2023 with full automotive-grade production in 2025.

Udelv unveiled at CES 2022 the Transporter, a self-driving delivery vehicle driven by Mobileye Drive, which includes the Mobileye EyeQ 5 system-on-chip for automotive and cameras, lidars, and radars. The Transporter has an automated, hot-swappable modular cargo space that can carry up to 2,000 pounds of cargo and make up to 80 stops per run.

Electric driverless vehicle company EasyMile is using Ansys software to model the level-4 vehicle safety. The French company used Ansys’ medini analyze to examine and check the electronically-controlled safety-related functions on driverless vehicles. “It has been difficult in the past to demonstrate the safety of our products to clients,” says Romain Dupont, R&D for EasyMile in a press release. “Ansys medini analyze really helps us to streamline the process and bring it all together in a way that our clients can understand.”

Innoviz Technologies is using an array of simulation tools from Ansys on its automotive-grade lidar sensor and to help customers simulate, integrate, and test lidar in Level 3–5 autonomous vehicle projects. Innoviz used Ansys Mechanical, Ansys Fluent, Zemax and Ansys Maxwell simulation software. “We use many types of simulations in the Ansys ecosystem across the entire design chain of our product,” said Oren Buskila, chief R&D officer and co-founder at Innoviz in a press release. “We rely on Ansys capabilities to run structural analysis to understand the stresses and temperature variations of our chips. We also use Ansys for dynamic simulation to understand vibration characteristics, and thermal simulation to see if we can dissipate the amount of power from the main components inside, like the laser.”

Pervasive computing, 5G
Designed for AI, edge, and IoT, Intel’s new 12th Gen Intel Core processors (code-named Alder Lake S-series and H-series) announced this week have a performance hybrid architecture uses Performance-cores and Efficient-cores with Intel Thread Director. The target customers are manufacturing, retail, banking, healthcare, and security systems companies that need display walls with AI in the edge. The chips support 4k and 8k video. Intel says 80 IoT customers from Intel’s Early Access Program are using the 12th Gen Core processors. Alder Lake S-series will be available this month; Alder Lake H-series in April 2022.

Location-as-a-service (LaaS) company Deeyook is using its precise location algorithms on Infineon’s low power AIROC Wi-Fi portfolio to create an indoor/outdoor tracking system that helps system users locate all their things (and employees) via the Internet of Things. The tracking system uses wireless signal processing to connect to the ubiquitous Wi-Fi/4G/5G modem base. “There are many challenges when companies implement real-time location systems, primarily because tracking solutions, such as RFID, are not really ubiquitous. This is particularly acute with GPS, which has many shortcomings,” said Gideon Rottem, CEO and co-founder of Deeyook in a press release. “We created Deeyook to address these challenges – technology that is ubiquitous and can track things with the utmost precision indoors, outdoors and in bad weather.” The firmware extracts angles of wireless transmissions, known as direction finding. The accuracy of the location information is within 10cm/4in, according to Deeyook.

U.S. company Brewer Science showed off some very flexible items and new sensors from its Smart Devices and Printed Electronics Foundry at the CES 2022, Brewer Science offers services to make printed and flexible hybrid electronics for customers. New sensors are InFlect 4-Pixel Temperature Sensor Evaluation Kit, InFlect 300-mm, 100-Pixel Temperature Sensor Array, and the InFlect Bend / Strain Sensors.

More sensors: TDK announced new sensors at CES 2022 in their SmartSensing product line that can be used for IoT, robotics, drones, wearables, and AR/VR, among other uses. A robotics kit — RoboKit1 — puts together TDK components (sensors, controllers, batteries, discrete components) to help robotics teams of differing skill levels prototype and develop robots. A platform and board are available that have robot operating system (ROS)1- and ROS2-compliant drivers and algorithms, 6-axis sensors consisting of a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer, an inertial measuring unit (IMU), and a time of flight (TOF) sensor. Separately announced were the three sensor types: the SmartMotion ICM-45xxx 6-axis Series sensors to track motion, the ICU-10201/20201 — a second gen SmartSonic platform of ultrasonic ToF sensors with an embedded processor, and T58xx Series MEMS microphones —high-performance, ultra-low power, high SNR, multi-mode PDM SmartSound microphones, an example of which is the T5828 MIPI SoundWire-compliant MEMS microphone.

Security
The O-RAN ALLIANCE Security Focus Group (SFG) updated its progress on O-RAN specifications. The specs will help mobile network operators deploy and operate secure open radio access networks (RANs) with O-RAN security specs that play well with the 3GPP specs. The SFG identified four security specs, of which three are currently available on its website: O-RAN Security Requirements Specifications 1.0, O-RAN Security Threat Modeling and Remediation Analysis 2.0, and O-RAN Security Protocols Specifications 2.0.

Patrick Wardle of Objective-See published a list of all of the malware attacks on Macs in the past year, showing that the Mac is now a target of interest to malicious actors. Jaron Bradley, MacOS detections manager at Jamf, quoted in a Dark Reading article, said threat actors are now putting in the significant amount of effort needed to attack Macs because the attacks are lucrative.

Companies, people
AMD and Xilinx updated the status of AMD’s proposed acquisition of Xilinx, saying that “We continue making good progress on the required regulatory approvals to close our transaction. While we had previously expected that we would secure all approvals by the end of 2021, we have not yet completed the process and we now expect the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2022. Our conversations with regulators continue to progress productively, and we expect to secure all required approvals.”

Mitchell Mlinar is now vice president of engineering at the IC security verification company Tortuga Logic.

Network-on-chip company Arteris IP is now on the Russell 2000 Index. The company recently went public.


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