Autonomous Vehicle Engineering - April 2022 - 17

Smart Mobility
Vaporsens, based in Salt Lake
City, pioneered nanofiber sensing
technology through advanced sensor
research from the University of Utah's
Materials Science Department. The
sensing mechanism is based on a
chemiresistor approach: Nanofiber
sensors change electrical resistance
in response to changes in a proximate
chemical environment. When arranged
in an array, the sensors' combined
responses form a unique signature or
" fingerprint " for each target chemical.
Nanofibers used as chemiresistor
sensors can outperform other chemical
sensor technologies in terms of operating
conditions (humidity, temperature),
recovery time, selectivity, and
sensitivity, the companies claim.
Modular engineering
At CES 2022, Gentex demonstrated its
holistic driver-and-cabin monitoring
system that also includes in-cabin infotainment
capabilities using a full-size
vehicle interior buck. The system's core
hardware is a compact (about 5 x 1.5 x
1 in./127 x 38 x 25 mm) module, still in
prototype form, developed by Guardian.
The module includes a camera and a
laser projection system with infrared
illuminators that create 3D imaging.
The module can be packaged in the
rear-view mirror (Gentex's specialty,
although packaging the laser has been
a challenge) or disbursed in other locations,
according to OEM preference.
" The system operates on a concept
known as Structural Light, " Boehm
explained. One form of Structured
Light is Vertical Cavity Surface
Emitting Laser (VCSEL), a type of laser
diode that emits light from its surface,
rather than its edge, but the Guardian
tech uses " more of a single-mode light
source, " he said. " Think of it like two
lasers that have an optical 'random'
pattern of dots in front of them. But
unlike an iPhone camera VCSEL that
is putting more than 30,000 dots on
your face, this is going to do roughly
7,000 dots each in two regions. Besides
creating the 3D depth map, it also can
pick up micro movements based on
how those dots change. So, when we
catch the corner of a third-row seat, the
breathing of a baby covered in a blanket
can be picked up in the seat movement. "
Some companies are developing
radars for inside the vehicle, noted
Boehm, who added that Gentex is
doing the same benchmarking and
evaluation. " There is still work to do
on it, " he said. " But the technology is
showing a lot of promise for detecting
small movements that could be life
savers. It's really intriguing. " ■
Automating Next
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Autonomous Vehicle Engineering - April 2022

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