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First, Software-Defined Sensors, Then SDVs

The driving force behind software-defined sensors is the federal safety agency’s Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) mandate. Can carmakers offer nighttime Pedestrian AEB without hardware changes?
First, Software-Defined Sensors, Then SDVs
NXP sees "distributed radar" opening up new possibilities (Image: NXP Semiconductors)

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By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
The concept of software-defined vehicles for whole-vehicle architecture is the automotive industry’s hot topic. But SDVs, for most OEMs, are still in early development. Nonetheless, “software-defined sensors” appear to have traction among carmakers. Why?

Software-defined sensors are going commercial way ahead of software-defined vehicles. This is because OEMs are now required to develop cars compliant with federally mandated Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) rules, including Pedestrian AEB in low light.

Carmakers must pass tests of minimum performance criteria and meet a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) timeline.

OEMs are seeking an answer in “software-defined” sensors, largely because it might enable them to pass AEB tests without adding new sensor hardware such as thermal cameras or lidars.

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