When you were a kid, there is a good chance you wished that magic was real so you’d have the ability to make charms, fly with a broom and maybe even drive while you’re sleeping. Amazingly for us, one of these is actually happening and it doesn’t even require a magic wand. Thanks to the continued development of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), with the turn of a key (or push of a button), a seemingly inanimate object now has a mind of its own. Through a combination of sophisticated technology, incorporating key benefits from Flash memory, a future consisting of driverless cars is no longer out of the realm of possibility.
Analysts predict that the market for ADAS will grow at a rapid pace, to over 163 million different types of systems by 2019. Flash will play a significant role. Subaru, for example, recently introduced its EyeSightdriver assistance system available on models of the Forester and Liberty. EyeSight acts as a pair of eyes that monitors the road and recognizes potentially dangerous driving situations.
Ford’s Fusion is another example of a car model which features an ADAS, boasting park assist functionality, a driver alert system and blind spot indicators.
This technology relies on complex embedded systems, which in turn are reliant on memory architecture and design implementation. Designers are being challenged to create innovative solutions to control costs, while at the same time delivering critical performance capabilities and ensuring long-term product reliability. Spansion’s NOR Flash memory is the ideal solution to meet these requirements.
Out of all other non-volatile memory products, NOR Flash memory has the lowest initial latency, highest data integrity and fastest data throughput. To give you an idea of what that means for the car, let’s examine one feature in particular; the blind spot detector. The faster read speeds of NOR flash enable nearly instant-on capability for cameras and sensors to detect and alert the driver to things that would otherwise be blocked from view, including pedestrians, signs and other objects near the car.
Here’s a sample of other key features enabled by ADAS:
- Collision avoidance systems that utilize sensors to detect an imminent crash.
- Adaptive cruise control that adjusts throttle and brake input to maintain the driver’s desired speed and distance from any vehicles traveling up ahead.
- Lane-departure warning systems, which alert drivers when they drift into another lane without using a turn signal.
- Traffic sign detection, which can be used to notify and warn the driver when they approach different road signs.
- Automatic parking systems that park vehicles without input from the driver.
Looking at the features above, it’s clear to see that ADAS technology has come a long way. Features that we could have only dreamed about 10 years ago are quickly becoming the norm. However, with that said, the reality is that today’s smart cars are really just the beginning. In the future, cars will be connected to everything around them including smartphones & tablets, traffic signals, pavement-embedded sensors and even other cars on the road.
Imagine the convenience of knowing exactly where open meters are without having to drive around aimlessly looking for them. How about having the ability to monitor your heart rate just by touching your steering wheel? All of this is on the way and memory will continue to be the key enabler of this connected technology. Designers will rely on embedded Flash memory to ease the complexity of the car network and enable the reliable and secure data connections that promote these features.
NOR Flash Drives Ahead
While fully-autonomous driving cars aren’t legal to operate on the roads just yet, that’s truly the ultimate evolution with these technologies. Given the enormous safety and consumer experience benefits, we expect this market to continue to grow. With that, we’ll see the industry continue to rely on NOR Flash memory to extend the magic of this technology, and we look forward to answering that need.