To improve road safety, many countries around the globe are introducing rules and regulations that state that road users should actively yield their right of way to emergency service vehicles. As the number of autonomous vehicles on roadways increases, these rulings are expected to include self-driving vehicles that can detect and respond to emergency vehicles while adhering to safety regulations. To do so, audible and visual warning signals will need to be given.
To achieve this, Infineon Technologies is working with Cerence to develop a solution based on automotive-qualified XENSIV MEMS microphones from Infineon and Cerence’s Emergency Vehicle Detection (EVD) software. The solution will enable normal vehicles to detect approaching emergency vehicles even when they are not in sight.
The pair’s emergency siren detection system provides AVs with detection modality and enhanced perception capabilities. The system consists of several XENSIV MEMS microphones on the exterior of the vehicle working in combination with Cerence’s EVD.
The microphones are qualified to AEC-Q103-003 and can operate in temperatures between -40°C and +105°C, enabling use in a variety of environments. With a total harmonic distortion of less than 0.5% at a sound pressure level (SPL) of 94dB and a high acoustic overload point of 130dBSPL, the microphones can capture distortion-free audio signals in noisy conditions, enabling signals to be accurately classified even when background noise blocks the siren tone.
Cerence’s EVD can be integrated into an automotive assistant or on separate controllers. The solution uses microphones to accurately detect the sound of sirens, in addition to estimating the sound source location of an emergency vehicle.
Upon identifying a siren, the driver or automated driving assistant is informed to enable a safe reaction. Human drivers can be notified via a reduction in the volume of radio or other forms of media. Alternatively, a visual warning can appear, or an acoustic warning can be provided by the in-vehicle assistant.
“As autonomous vehicles quickly become a reality, emergency vehicle detection will be critical to provide drivers with the information they need in emergency situations,” said Christophe Couvreur, senior vice president and general manager of core products at Cerence. “By partnering with Infineon, a global leader in MEMS microphone technology with a strong presence in automotive, we provide OEMs with an integrated hardware- and software-based emergency vehicle detection solution that will enhance road safety around the globe.”
Frank Findeis, senior vice president and general manager of automotive sense and control at Infineon, added, “We are committed to collaborating with industry leaders for next-generation innovations. Cerence is a global provider of AI-powered software solutions for vehicles and a great ecosystem partner. We are able to bring Cerence Emergency Vehicle Detection together with our high-performance MEMS microphones to provide automotive manufacturers with a best-in-class solution to meet demanding market needs.”