‘Hearing’ sensors that could put self-driving vehicles safely on the road developed by Bristol firms

July 5, 2024

Two Bristol-based tech firms working on developing self-driving vehicles have teamed up with Cranfield University to improve their safety by using 3D ultrasound.

Calyo and Benedex Robotics have joined forces with Cranfield University in the new partnership, which aims to develop a functional safety sensing platform capable of operating effectively in the most challenging environmental conditions. 

Part of the DRIVEN BY SOUND project led by Calyo, the new technology allows autonomous vehicles to detect their surroundings in 3D in real time.

It complements existing sensing and safety detection systems, providing an additional layer of safety and reliability.

The collaboration combines Calyo’s 3D ultrasound sensor technology, Calyo Pulse, Benedex’s safety platform expertise, and Cranfield University’s experience in integrating and testing autonomous road vehicles.

The end product will provide a crucial redundancy mechanism for enhanced safety in autonomous vehicles.

Calyo is based in the Future Space innovation hub on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay campus, while Benedex Robotics is located in the neighbouring Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

Calyo CEO Mihai Caleap said: “Our partnership is delivering a robust, redundant sensing platform based on 3D ultrasound for autonomous driving and in driver-assist applications. The technology will be applicable across various vehicle platforms, including off-road industrial uses, making it transferable to a broad range of industries.”

The platform will be available to Tier 1 suppliers, automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and start-up mobility ventures as a reliable and functional safety module.

It serves as a crucial redundancy mechanism, enabling vehicles to perform minimum risk manoeuvres (MRMs) and safely stop in the event of a fault or severe road conditions.

Benedex Robotics CEO Snir Benedek added: “By integrating this additional layer of functional safety we are introducing innovation, which is transformative in the industry, while cost-effective and easy to implement, establishing the foundation for accessible safe and secure autonomous mobility.”

Cranfield Lecturer in Driving Automation Marco Cecotti said: “Safety has to be top of the agenda for autonomous vehicle development, and this exciting project will inform a robust solution to deal with extreme environmental conditions, one of the biggest technical challenges to the widespread availability of self-driving vehicles.”

The project is expected to be completed in the first half of next year culminating in the demonstration of a vehicle prototype equipped with this technology at Cranfield University’s Multi User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation (MUEAVI) proving ground.

Established in 2020 in Bristol, UK, Calyo is a leading specialist in AI-enabled deep ultrasound technology, driving advancements in safe autonomous mobility.

With its unique and novel low-energy, high-performance hardware and software stack based on 3D ultrasound, Calyo provides unparalleled flexibility for its customers and partners, ushering in a new era of perception solutions in the industry.

Benedex, which also launched in 2020, specialises in the development and design of electric-powered autonomous platforms.

Its patented Modular Mobility system is an interconnecting block-based system for assembling industrial grade, functionally safe mobile platforms.

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