Kneron, an AI chip and software developer, has entered the autonomous car race with a number of strategic partnerships. Kneron has partnered with Weltrend, a leading semiconductor company and Elan/Avisonic, a human interface solutions provider. As part of this partnership, Weltrend has made a strategic investment in Kneron. Kneron has also partnered with OTUS, a leading camera solutions provider. These partnerships mean that Kneron provides AI solutions for both consumer products that can be used off the shelf and the aftermarket segment of the supply chain.
The autonomous vehicle market was valued at over $1 billion in 2019 and is predicted to grow to over $12 billion by 2026. This opportunity encourages innovative startups like Kneron to make a big play in this high growth vertical.
Kneron, Weltrend and Elan/Avisonic have combined their expertise to make market-leading Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) for use in autonomous vehicles (AVs).
ADAS use sensors in the vehicle such as radar and cameras to perceive the world around it and within the car. It then either provides information to the driver or takes automatic action based on what it perceives.
Albert Liu, Founder and CEO of Kneron, says “We are pleased to announce another major partnership in the automotive industry, as we welcome strategic investment from Weltrend. This follows our announcement in January that we have partnered with and received investment from Foxconn to work on implementing our low-power, low-cost AI solutions in the automotive industry. Autonomous vehicles are a fertile innovation that can be positively impacted by the introduction of edge AI technologies, increasing driver and passenger safety.”
Kneron is providing its first-generation AI chip, the KL520 for the ADAS, and this is combined with Weltrend’s own smart camera chip which powers optical flow computing algorithms, and Elan/Avisonic’s object detection algorithms. The KL520 is used in a full spectrum of IoT and smart devices. It can power everything from a Tesla to a toaster. The KL520 has a small power footprint which is vital in the automotive industry, where power efficiency is a key component. Kneron’s AI solutions combine low-latency and instant inferencing which makes them perfect for ADAS.
The new ADAS resulted in a 70% improvement in the distance of detection. They are now able to identify not just an object, but also whether the object is coming closer, moving farther away or staying static. The ADAS can also now send an early alert if an object is moving towards the vehicle and decrease false alarms. This will demonstrably improve ease of parking and reduce crashes, increasing driver and passenger safety.
Sam Lin, CEO of Weltrend, says “We are excited to partner with Kneron as we work to improve our ADAS for autonomous vehicles. Implementing Kneron’s AI technology will allow us to improve the efficacy of our systems while reducing the cost, thereby promoting wider adoption and increasing the performance and safety of autonomous vehicles.”
Kneron has also partnered with OTUS, a leading camera solutions provider to offer an off the shelf solution for cars that do not come equipped with ADAS. OTUS provides a 360° dash cam that did not come equipped with ADAS. OTUS upgraded the dash cam by equipping it with the KL520. The OTUS dash cam could then identify objects and alert the driver. The Kneron-OTUS partnership gives more drivers the opportunity to benefit from AI assistance.
Currently, a big auto industry issue with sensors is being able to tell the difference between a vehicle and a pedestrian. Most also use millimeter wave solutions that are on average 30% more expensive and often struggle in poorer weather conditions such as heavy rain.
By utilising AI solutions instead, these new ADAS solve all of those problems. They are better, faster and cheaper.
The rollout of 5G will accelerate the development and the adoption of AVs. AVs need a consistent 5G or high-speed internet connection to allow cars to communicate with each other and to gather information about driving conditions and traffic jams or potential obstacles blocking the road.
Kneron’s Edge AI solutions are advantageous for AV manufacturers because Edge AI is faster than cloud-reliant AI. Edge AI allows data to be processed on the low-power chips in the car, rather than needing to be sent to the cloud and back. Speed is an important factor for decision making while in traffic. The faster that information is processed and decisions are made the safer the journey will be. The time saved could be the difference between life and death.