CRANFIELD, England—Engineers at Cranfield University are partnering with Benedex Robotics and Calyo to create ultrasonic-based sensing technology for autonomous vehicles. The goal of the Driven By Sound project is to develop a functional safety sensing platform based on 3D ultrasound that is capable of operating effectively in even the most challenging environmental conditions.

The new technology allows autonomous vehicles to detect their surroundings in 3D in real time. It complements existing sensing and safety detection systems, providing an additional layer of safety and reliability.

The initiative combines Calyo's 3D ultrasound sensor technology, Calyo Pulse, Benedex’s safety platform expertise, and Cranfield University’s experience in integrating and testing autonomous road vehicles. The end product will provide a crucial redundancy mechanism for enhanced safety in autonomous vehicles. It will serve as a crucial redundancy mechanism, enabling vehicles to perform minimum risk maneuvers and safely stops in the event of a fault or severe road conditions.

“Safety has to be top of the agenda for autonomous vehicle development, and this exciting project will inform a robust solution to deal with extreme environmental conditions, one of the biggest technical challenges to the widespread availability of self-driving vehicles,” says Marco Cecotti, lecturer in driving automation at Cranfield University.

“By integrating this additional layer of functional safety, we are introducing innovation, which is transformative in the industry, while cost-effective and easy to implement, establishing the foundation for accessible safe and secure autonomous mobility,” adds Snir Benedek, CEO of Benedex Robotics.

The Driven By Sound project is expected to be completed in the first half of 2025, culminating in the demonstration of a vehicle prototype equipped with this technology at Cranfield University’s MUEAVI proving ground.