Hitachi to Cut Cost of Automatic Driving System by Reducing Sensors

Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd exhibited a new milliwave radar device and stereo camera to be used for “level 3” and more advanced automatic driving systems at Automotive Engineering Exposition 2019.

The milliwave radar device supports the 77GHz frequency band. It has a wider horizontal detection angle than the existing product employed for Hino Motors Ltd’s truck. While the horizontal detection angle of the existing product is 100°, that of the new milliwave radar device is 150° (±75°).

With the wider detection angle, it becomes easier to detect obstacles located in front of the vehicle. The detection range of the new device is about 100m, which is the same as that of the existing product.

The exhibited stereo camera is the second-generation product used for Suzuki Motor Corp’s “Solio” compact car. Its recognition performance during nighttime hours was improved by applying machine learning to its image recognition process. Also, its size and weight were reduced by more than 50%, compared with the previous product.

The cost of the stereo camera is equivalent to that of cameras. With the low cost, it can be easily used for compact and light cars.

For the automatic driving system being developed by Hitachi Automotive Systems, the company plans to use a monocular camera (surround view camera) of Clarion Co Ltd (which is affiliated with France-based Faurecia SA) in addition to the new milliwave radar device and compact stereo camera, as sensors for monitoring the area surrounding the vehicle.

Four units of the milliwave radar device are attached to the four corners of a vehicle while the stereo camera is set up on the inner side of the upper part of the windshield. Also, four units of Clarion’s monocular camera are attached to the center-front and center-rear parts and the right and left door mirrors.

The monocular cameras are used only for automatic parking. So, only the milliwave radar devices and the stereo camera are used for automatic driving. At this point, Hitachi Automotive Systems does not plan to use an LIDAR (light detection and ranging) device, which has a high cost.

“We will reduce the kinds of sensors as much as possible to lower the system cost for having the system employed for mass-produced cars,” said Kimiya Yamaashi, executive officer, CTO & general manager, Technology Development Div, Hitachi Automotive Systems.

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