NPS white paper asserts US target of zero road deaths achievable with autonomous vehicles

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California-based Neural Propulsion Systems (NPS), a developer of autonomous sensing platforms, has released a white paper detailing what it says are new innovations to enable vehicles with or without human supervision to see soon enough, clear enough and far enough to eliminate roadway deaths, a key goal of the recently released US National Roadway Safety Strategy.

The paper asserts that the goal of zero deaths requires sensing and processing a peak data rate in the order of 100TB per second for vehicles to safely operate under the worst roadway conditions. It notes that this requirement is 10 million times greater than the sensory data rate from the human eyes to brain.

The paper also suggests that sensing and processing 100Tb/s can be accomplished by combining analytics, advanced multi-band radar, solid state lidar, and advanced system-on-a-chip (SoC) technology. Such an approach will enable companies developing advanced human driver assistance systems (ADAS) and fully autonomous driving systems to accelerate progress.

NPS says it achieved pilot scale proof-of-concept of the core sensor element required for zero roadway deaths at a Northern California airfield in December 2021. This, it states, was thanks to the Atomic Norm, a recently discovered mathematical framework that changes how sensor data is processed and understood. Atomic Norm was developed at Caltech and MIT and further developed specifically for autonomous driving by NPS.

“Based on principles from physics and information theory, it is possible for sensors to see well enough to enable zero roadway deaths. This is not wishful thinking — it’s possible today,” said Dr Behrooz Rezvani, founder and CEO of NPS. “We are solely focused on rolling out this historic technology that sees everything sooner, clearer and farther to provide autonomous vehicles with the stopping distance and time needed to reach zero preventable accidents. Henry Ford said his goal was for every working family to own a car. Our goal is to have nobody lose a loved one in a car crash.”

“The key question for companies developing autonomous driving systems should be ‘What must be true to get to zero roadway deaths?'” added Dr Babak Hassibi, founder and CTO of NPS. “We have concluded that sensing and processing about 100Tb/s is one of these necessary requirements and this is indeed possible.”

The full paper can be read here.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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