Maker Pro

NXP and Momenta Partner Up to Design DMS Applications That Monitor Driver Alertness

July 11, 2019 by Luke James

The system will enable vehicles to monitor their drivers' alertness in a move that brings the automobile industry one step closer to the next level of autonomy.

Momenta, a Chinese start-up specialising in driver-monitoring technology and NXP, a semiconductor manufacturing firm, last month announced their intention to come together to develop their automotive Driver Monitoring Solution, or DMS.

NXP is a Dutch global semiconductor manufacturer and the largest supplier of semiconductors to the automotive industry. Momenta is a start-up, considered by many as a rising star and pioneer in self-driving software solutions. The joint effort between the two is expected to enable automobile manufacturers to deploy DMS software applications into their vehicles.

Using Momenta's neural network technology, the goal of this partnership is to boost the transition of the automobile industry from Level 2 to Level 3 autonomy.


What is a Driver Monitoring System?

DMSs are one of the core parts of an advanced driving assistance system (ADAS) and are crucial for Level 3 (and beyond) driving systems. They use neural networks and deep learning algorithms to monitor and detect when a driver is not paying attention to the road.


Image courtesy of NXP.


The European New Car Assessment Programme (ENCAP), creator of the five-star safety rating, has made DMSs a core safety feature. ENCAP has signalled that the DMSs will be a part of vehicular safety evaluations for new cars beginning next year.


Essential for Level 3 Autonomy

Vehicular autonomy is measured on a scale of levels, one through five; created by the Society of Automotive Engineers, this lexicon of autonomy looks at the presence of particular elements and systems.

Currently, vehicles are at Level 2: present vehicles include self-parking features, lane changing modes, and driver monitoring; however, humans remain hands-on.

With the addition of DMSs, vehicles will be able to handle safety-critical functions and allow the driver to remain 'hands-off' (but still in the drivers' seat) for extended periods of time. This is Level 3 autonomy.

For those of you who are curious, Level 4 autonomy will be achieved when vehicles can be fully autonomous in controlled areas, and Level 5 autonomy will be achieved when (and if) vehicles can be driven without any form of human intervention (think 'robo taxis', and so on). 


NXP and Momenta's partnership has been made with the aim to help carmakers address upcoming New Car Assesment Programme requirements. Image courtesy of Momenta.


The NXP, Momenta Partnership

Given that Strategy Analytics' 2019 forecasts predict that the market will be worth more than $1 billion by 2026, it is hardly surprising that such a partnership has formed. The two companies are clearly anticipating that the market, even if not at the $1 billion mark, is going to be very lucrative and are jumping on board early.

Initially, NXP and Momenta will combine in its first solution NXP's power efficient S32V2 Open Vision Platform with Momenta's deep learning software with a view to optimising and compressing deep neural networks for efficient deployment on an embedded DMS platform.

Vice president of ADAS at NXP, Kamal Khouri, said: "The combination of Momenta’s deep learning software and our S32V2 platform is a compelling solution for DMS applications aimed at increasing road safety for society.”

He added: “The integrated automotive-grade hardware accelerators in the NXP S32V2 are ideal for deep neural network processing because they can reduce CPU usage and save computing resources. This can offer more performance for other vision processing tasks within the vehicle and reduce costs for our customers”.

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