Autonomous Vehicle

Zero Roadway Deaths Means Seeing Everything Sooner, Clearer and Farther with Breakthrough Technology

New Paper Concludes Commercially Scalable Technology Exists for Sensors to Enable Zero Roadway Deaths

Neural Propulsion Systems (NPS), a pioneer in autonomous sensing platforms, issued a paper revealing that compelling new innovations enable vehicles with or without human supervision to see soon enough, clear enough and far enough to eliminate roadway deaths.

Achieving zero roadway deaths is necessary for universal adoption of autonomous driving and is the objective of the recently released U.S. National Roadway Safety Strategy. 

The paper finds that zero deaths require sensing and processing a peak data rate on the order of 100 X 1012 bits per second (100 Terabits per second) for vehicles to safely operate under worst roadway conditions. This immense requirement is 10 million times greater than the sensory data rate from our eyes to our brains.

The paper also shows that sensing and processing 100 Tb/s can be accomplished by combining breakthrough analytics, advanced multi-band radar, solid state LiDAR, and advanced system on a chip (SoC) technology. Such an approach will allow companies developing advanced human driver assistance systems (ADAS) and fully autonomous driving systems to accelerate progress. 

NPS achieved pilot scale proof-of-concept of the core sensor element required for zero roadway deaths at a Northern California airfield in December 2021. One reason for this successful historic event is the Atomic Norm, a recently discovered mathematical framework that radically changes how sensor data is processed and understood. Atomic Norm was developed at Caltech and MIT and further developed specifically for autonomous driving by NPS.

“Based on principles from physics and information theory, it is possible for sensors to see well enough to enable zero roadway deaths.  This is not wishful thinking — it’s possible today,” said Dr. Behrooz Rezvani, founder and CEO of NPS. “We are solely focused on rolling out this historic technology that sees everything sooner, clearer and farther to provide autonomous vehicles with the stopping distance and time needed to reach zero preventable accidents. Henry Ford said his goal was for every working family to own a car. Our goal is to have nobody lose a loved one in a car crash.”

“The key question for companies developing autonomous driving systems should be ‘What must be true to get to zero roadway deaths?'” said Dr. Babak Hassibi, founder and CTO of NPS. “We have concluded that sensing and processing about 100 Tb/s is one of these necessary requirements and this is indeed possible.”

“While roadway safety has improved over the past several decades, all countries continue to face formidable challenges,” said Dr. Lawrence Burns, Executive Advisor to NPS. “Today, roadway accidents account for over 1.3 million fatalities and 50 million injuries per year, with half being pedestrians and cyclists. We now have the vehicle sensing and processing technology to see well enough to enable an end this epidemic.”

About the Authors

  • Dr. Behrooz Rezvani is a serial entrepreneur and currently founder and CEO of NPS. Companies founded by Rezvani shipped billions of products and had a major influence on the telecommunications industry, including Ikanos (acquired by Qualcomm) and Quantenna (acquired by ON Semiconductor Corp).
  • Dr. Babak Hassibi is co-founder and Chief Technologist at NPS. He is also the inaugural Mose and Lillian S. Bohn Professor of Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he has been since 2001.
  • Dr. Lawrence Burns is former Corporate Vice President of Research & Development and Planning at General Motors. He advises organizations on the future of mobility, logistics, innovation, manufacturing and energy – including Google Self-Driving Cars/Waymo for over a decade. His most recent book is Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car and How it Will Reshape Our World.

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