Piaggio Fast Forward has developed new sensor modules to be implemented in scooters and motorbikes and in consumer and business robots.
Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF) presented new sensor modules to be implemented in scooters and motorbikes and in consumer and business robots. This 4D imaging radar supplied by Vayyar provides the RoC (Radar-on-Chip) for the sensor package developed, built, and provided by PFF for the scale production of Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS).
With Vayyar’s 4D imaging radar technology, PFF’s hardware-software modules offer robust monitoring in all environmental and lighting conditions. The complete sensor package is the foundation of a lifesaving motorcycle safety platform for Piaggio Group’s motorbikes.
In an interview with EE Times Europe, Ian Podkamien, VP and head of Automotive at Vayyar, said ARAS applications are at the forefront of the battle to prevent collisions and protect motorcyclists. ARAS technology has to meet the stringent technical requirements of traditional driver assistance functions but takes care of additional challenges such as vehicle maneuverability.
“ARAS is a version of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) adapted to meet the specific needs of motorcyclists,” said Podkamien. “Advanced Rider Assistance Systems are collections of features, functions and applications designed to improve rider safety. The challenges of ARAS, as opposed to ADAS, relate to factors unique to motorcycles, such as high tilt angles, rapid maneuvers in traffic, higher speeds, and longer stopping distances. ARAS sensors are usually positioned on the front and rear of the motorcycle and severely limited real estate is also a significant hurdle to overcome.”
The PFF sensors utilize Vayyar’s mmWave 4D Radar-on-Chip (RoC) imaging RFIC, enabling multiple ARAS functions with a single chip that supports a range of over 100m and an ultra-wide field of view. The technology supports a large Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) array that enables ultra-high resolution point cloud imaging for holistic monitoring of a robot’s and vehicle’s surroundings.
Greg Lynn, CEO of Piaggio Fast Forward, said PFF is creating advanced technology products for robots and motorbikes that detect and measure objects in the surrounding environment to provide the information we need for mapping, object detection and control, regardless of lighting, weather and other environmental factors.
“Piaggio selected Vayyar for several key reasons,” said Podkamien. “Our ability to offer an ultra-high-resolution 4D point cloud over a wide field of view, enabling multiple applications with the same hardware, was crucial. Other key factors included the high maturity level of our automotive-grade RFIC system, which meets all industry standards such as AECQ-100 and ASIL-B, as well as supporting future system requirements and upgrades. Our platform’s very small form factor and power-efficient design also make it ideally suited for mounting on motorcycles and scooters. Overall, we’re able to provide an affordable system which offers the perfect price-performance balance.”
Motorbikes and ARAS
“Euro NCAP is the leading automotive safety entity, and its upcoming roadmap places a greater focus than ever before on rider safety, not only in terms of promoting passenger car solutions that protect motorcyclists but also Intelligent Transport Systems and V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) technologies that permit real-time communication between vehicles,” said Podkamien.
Podkamien highlighted main safety requirements for a motorbike, that help the rider cruise safely on a motorway, such as Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Automatic Brake Assist, as well as those supporting the rider’s ability to maneuver quickly between lanes, such as Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist. “Riders also need to reverse safely without hitting low or high obstacles such as poles, curbs, and parked cars, especially since motorcycles and scooters often park in odd places, rather than dedicated parking spots,” commented Podkamien.
He added, “Designing a system that will complement the rider’s perception without generating ‘alert fatigue’ is a core challenge that demands reliable hardware and intelligent software. Providing a high-end 4D imaging radar platform with such a small form factor and competitive price point is also tough since motorcycles are much more price-sensitive than cars due to the lower average selling price of the end product. But perhaps the biggest challenge is dealing with the special requirements and unique nature of motorcycle dynamics, such as high tilt angles, which require faster response than passenger cars and demand more complex algorithms.”
The significance of ADAS/ARAS goes way beyond today’s human-operated automobiles and motorcycles, where sensing technology is designed to complement the driver or rider. “These systems are also the basis of full vehicle autonomy, where sensors will be the primary means of perception, with no driver or rider in the loop. Sensors, therefore, need to provide the highest possible resolution and reveal the most granular detail, while ensuring reliable operation in all weather conditions. Vayyar’s 4D imaging radar offers that with an affordable system design suitable for mass deployment across multiple vehicle categories,” concluded Podkamien.
This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.
Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio holds a Ph.D. in Physics and is a telecommunication engineer and journalist. He has worked on various international projects in the field of gravitational wave research. He collaborates with research institutions to design data acquisition and control systems for space applications. He is the author of several books published by Springer, as well as numerous scientific and technical publications on electronics design.