UST 031

82 T he move to driverless vehicles is fundamentally changing the way they are used. That in turn is having an impact on system architecture and design. The key change in vehicle use is in the human-centric information and entertainment – or infotainment – systems. Concept designs of autonomous vehicles show multiple large screens for entertainment, or even screens replacing windows. The screens will show ultra-high resolution streaming media such as films, the latest news or act as an interface for videoconferencing. There are even plans for interactive virtual reality to entertain passengers, which will require high data rates and low-latency connections over a 5G wireless link. And that’s just for traditional car passengers. Some concepts see the vehicles as mobile hotel rooms, with similar entertainment facilities to those in existing hotels. At the same time, the audio environment inside the cabin is also changing, with multi-channel sound, active noise cancellation (ANC) of outside noise and even noise cancellation techniques to create individual ‘cocoons’ of quiet for each passenger. Car audio systems that use analogue wiring require dedicated, expensive, shielded cables for each audio signal or channel. For high-specification infotainment systems in autonomous vehicles, this can mean multi-channel Dolby (5.1 or 7.1) or DTS decoding, where the size and weight of the wiring harness and connectors rapidly increases. The Nick Flaherty reports on the audio and video systems set to feature in autonomous vehicles, and the technologies that underpin them Vision of sound and vision April/May 2020 | Unmanned Systems Technology