Sensors Expo & Conference 2019: Open-architecture Sensing Provides Safe AV Operations

Autonomous vehicles, from tiny drones to large freight trucks, all require advanced sensor inputs to localize, perceive, and navigate the environment. At the same time, the combination of AI and Sensing must provide safe, hazard-free operations in challenging environments. 

Today's solution to this challenge is to combine a set of traditionally expensive high-performance sensors such as Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), Lidar, Camera, GPS/GNSS, and Radar.  This sensor data is then fused together with handcrafted software algorithms.  In addition, safety certification requires autonomous teams to do significant additional development, because most of the underlying sensor technology today is not ISO26262 ASIL compliant. 

However, the coming wave of more sophisticated consumer-facing autonomous devices such as self-driving cars and commercial drones require new disruptive technology approaches for both hardware and software for these safety-critical to really reach mass production volumes.  These new approaches must significantly reduce both recurring and development cost alike for sensor technologies such as the IMU.

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One solution to this challenge is the use of an open, high-integrity, ISO26262 ASIL compliant IMU platform that is both compact and high-performance.  An open platform IMU provides the major benefits of easy simulation and the ability to host customer algorithms.  High-integrity means that through the use of redundancy and extra software test and validation, the IMU becomes certified to ISO26262 ASIL requirements, e.g., ASIL B.  One such platform is the Aceinna OpenIMU330 which is Aceinna's second generation of OpenIMU technology.

With OpenIMU330, simulation and algorithm development is done with a combination of ACEINNA’s open-source Python-based simulator, GNSS-INS-SIM, and the OpenIMU embedded firmware development stack.  Using GNSS-INS-SIM, an inertial measurement unit's performance and accuracy tradeoffs as well as Kalman-Filter algorithm tuning are quickly explored without expensive reference-systems or field-testing.  Once performance requirements are finalized, customized code and settings can be downloaded to any of the OpenIMU hardware modules using the OpenIMU embedded software stack.

The ISO26262 ASIL B safety requirement is met with the OpenIMU330 triple-redundant embedded surface-mount IMU module.  This small device combines three fully independent six-axis MEMS inertial measurement units.  The triple redundancy prevents stiction failure or other anomalous IMU behavior from impacting system performance, while at the same time delivering superior bias-drift and ARW performance as compared to a single IMU-based solution.

In addition to the redundancy and performance improvements from the OpenIMU330, the device hardware and software combination is being certified to the rigorous ISO26262 Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) B standard.  This capability is built on top of the redundant architecture and OpenIMU firmware stack. ISO26262 employs techniques such as fault-tree analysis and static code analysis to ensure the OpenIMU330 will consistently provide high-accuracy inertial measurement for safety critical applications. The unique combination of certified low-cost IMU hardware, with a flexible open software environment, gives navigation system designers a faster way to meet the complex navigation requirements for the autonomous vehicle future.

In summary, the OpenIMU330 is an example of how an open-architecture component that supports the safety-compliance can support rapid development and certification in self-driving as well as other autonomous markets such as drones.  Advanced algorithms, such as a Kalman-Filter based GNSS/INS sensor fusion algorithms, integrate directly on top of the safety-certified IMU hardware and processor minimizing overall system risk, cost and size.

For more information, please attend Mike’s presentation “High Integrity, Fault Tolerant Open Inertial Measurement platform for AI Based Vehicle Automation” at the Sensors Expo & Conference on June 26th, 2019 in San Jose, CA. Mike Horton – 3:30pm to 4:20 pm – Executive Ballroom A. If you have not done so already, REGISTER NOW.

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