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3D ULTRASONIC SENSORS FOR AUTOMOTIVE – DEMOCRATIZING 3D VISION THROUGH SOUND

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TOPOSENS (3D ULTRASONIC SENSORS FOR AUTOMOTIVE – DEMOCRATIZING 3D VISION THROUGH SOUND)

Reporting period: 2020-06-01 to 2021-05-31

Toposens is the first company to commercialize 3D ultrasonic sensors for autonomous applications. The Munich-based company offers a patented sensor technology, enabling close-distance environment monitoring for self-driving vehicles and robotic applications. The innovative technology is allowing the highest degrees of autonomy and increases safety.
Unlike existing sensor technologies, Toposens products are robust to reflections, lighting, and weather conditions. Based on the proprietary 3D ultrasonic technology, these sensors are using time-of-flight echolocation data for a precise multi-object detection, even in the most difficult environments. Markets are familiar with standard 1D ultrasonic sensors, but Toposens wants to compete with extended functions for autonomous use cases. Competitive technologies include radar, lidar and cameras. Toposens technology will become an important puzzle piece in the future of mobility.
After 5+ years of basic technology development accompanied with several automotive and robotics proof of concept (PoC) projects, Toposens has received funding by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The goal is to develop and produce a first sensor batch with a sufficient performance for automotive applications.
The new sensor shall offer a full point cloud/ communication functionality, fully compatible with the Toposens ROS post-processing unit. The system functionality shall be proven in two main pilots, accompanied by the development of a safety concept to reach ASIL B (Automotive Safety Integrity Level) later. The requirement of a waterproof housing is linked to almost all concept decisions since the housing has a major influence on the acoustic properties of the sensor. The attached image shows the functional diagram of our sensor technology.
Toposens has made great achievements in the first twelve months of the project. A project roadmap with appropriate KPIs has been created to continuously assess the development progress. The developed prototype shows improved functionality with a waterproof concept. Core components were improved and implemented in an advanced mechanical design. The software which now has been optimized with respect to signal processing was enabled for CAN (controller area network) communication. Currently, Toposens is interacting with several autonomous market players which substantiates that there is great interest in the new sensor. The entire team is looking forward to the first pilot evaluations with target customers. The attached picture shows the first manufactured prototype.
Toposens is thrilled about the test results of the first industrialized prototypes. These internal lab-test results validated the new sensor concept by indicating that the pilot customer requirements can be met. It is expected that the development team can achieve further improvements by both, appropriate embedded software and post-processing features. This new sensor platform shall enable autonomous applications to maneuver safely, even in the most difficult environments. Toposens has prepared and already implemented the first parts of an industry-specific quality management system, which takes the professional way of working to the next level. Despite the challenging market situation in the aftermath of the pandemic, Toposens is still confident that the team can conduct great pilot projects as reference for later development projects.
Functional Diagram
First Manufactured Prototype