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aXiom – a first of its kind Human-Machine Interface Chip designed for the automotive industry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HMI4auto (aXiom – a first of its kind Human-Machine Interface Chip designed for the automotive industry)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-09-30

The HMI4auto project’s overall objective is to optimize, develop and industrialize our product family of four aXiom silicon chips. These aXiom chips will support touchscreen solutions with display sizes ranging from 5” to over 35”. Successfully implementing and executing the HMI4auto project will qualify MyWo as a full-range supplier of touchscreen Human-Machine Interface chips (HMI) for the automotive industry.

Road and traffic accidents are a major concern and a public security problem with a heavy financial burden for both global and national economies. Driver distraction is a growing problem responsible for 10-20%, due to the increasing connectivity and automation in current vehicles leading to higher levels of both qualitative and quantitative information that drivers need to deal with while driving. To avoid distractions, the automotive industry needs to develop new and more intuitive HMI combining complementary technologies such as advanced functionalities in touchscreens, voice recognition systems, and head-up displays. Safety-enhancing functionalities for touchscreens are requested by the automotive industry, such as 3D proximity, 3D hover, 3D surface guided touch, force sensing, and haptic feedback.

Our innovative and market disruptive aXiom chip products have been developed from inception using a new holistic approach tailored for the automotive market requirements. aXiom will enable the following value-adding features: 1) up to 30 times higher Signal-to-Noise Ratio, enabling distance sensing, specifically; a) 3D proximity detecting the driver’s hand or finger at 10-15 cm outside the screen that triggers the user interface (UI) to change or add relevant menu selections; b) 3D hover detecting the driver’s finger 5-6 cm above the screen and identifies its position, for the UI to highlight or enlarge an icon/symbol or a key; and c) 3D surface touch allowing touchscreens to be built using finger-guiding overlays or curved displays. 2) closed-loop haptic for low latency user feedback, optimized for automotive use; 3) force sensing providing a two-level touch system where icons are activated only after a certain pressure is applied. 4) wide support for larger touchscreens; 5) freedom in display design and flexible aspect ratios (e.g. 1:1 - 16:10 - 15:1).

The HMI4auto objectives are to bring the first TRL7 prototype of aXiom to full market readiness (industrialisation, qualification (to TRL8; WP1-2), expand the product portfolio to four aXiom chip products (TRL8; WP1-2). aXiom shall be verified in an operational environment (to TRL9; WP3)) following technology validation in a real automotive OEM program. Our business experts will support commercial viability as they will conduct a wide range of market maturation activities planned in WP4 while our experienced management team will oversee the full project implementation and assure the objectives are reached (WP5).
During the first 12 month of the HMI4auto project (from start to first periodic report), the first aXiom product is progressing from prototype through industrialization and qualification for volume production. The second aXiom silicon chip constituting the next two products of portfolio expansion has been prototyped and is being validated. The design and development of the third aXiom silicon chip to constitute the fourth and last product family member is on-going and expected to be prototyped within the next six months.

MyWo has won and engaged in the first real automotive OEM program to verify the technology and solution in an operating environment. Furthermore, we have engaged and are working with Tier 1s/OEMs on about eight additional demonstrator, piloting and proof-of-concept products and platforms. We anticipate multiple of these to transform into real automotive programs for qualification and production.
With the positive customer feedback and strong customer engagement, we experience that the request for safety-enhancing and more intuitive touchscreen HMI solutions from the automotive industry are genuine. At the end of the HMI4auto project we expect to complete the product portfolio of four unique aXiom chips covering a wide range of touchscreen display sizes and formats. At this time, we expect to be progressing multiple real automotive projects towards launch and mass production at the OEM. Ultimately, the first real-life and launched to end-market cars will showcase the enhanced safety of touchscreen HMI interaction, and thus support reducing driver distraction.

As a parallel track to the automotive business, MyWo has developed and showcased a new Touchless User Interface (UI) solution with its go-to-market partner TouchNetix Ltd. (UK). The Touchless UI is based on the unique aXiom chip technology developed within the HMI4auto project. Public and multi-user touch and touch surfaces can constitute a serious spread of bacteria and viruses. Examples of such touch HMIs are payment terminals, ticketing machines and food/drink-ordering kiosks. The Covid-19 pandemic has highly increased the request for Touchless UI solutions for such products. MyWo and TouchNetix are currently working with over a dozen touchscreen display and solutions providers world-wide to enable the aXiom based Touchless UI for a wide range of industrial and consumer market use-cases.

The MyWo/TouchNetix Touchless UI solution can be seen on videos at:
Picture of aXiom chips