September, 2017 | Visteon

Artificial Intelligence Emerges from Data Rooms to Help Drive Autonomous Cars

By Vijay Nadkarni

A century ago, many large businesses ran their operations with rooms full of skilled clerks rapidly entering figures into a comptometer, a type of mechanical calculator considered very efficient for the times. After many decades, the comptometer proved too limiting for a rapidly advancing marketplace and was replaced by teams of data entry clerks feeding powerful mainframes. Technology continued to accelerate to the point where the calculating and data entry power of an entire corps of workers could be managed by a laptop. Today, apps have generated brilliant machinery and pocket-sized communications devices, thanks to innovative programmers and billions of lines of code.

In considering the challenge of autonomous vehicles, however, yet another level of technology will be required. Conventional programming and computational approaches to problem-solving will be far outpaced by the speed and complexity needed for automated driving.

The programming approaches for autonomous driving that are currently getting the lion’s share of attention – high-speed cameras, LIDAR and ultrasonic sensors – are unable to incorporate all potential driving scenarios while staying up-to-the-minute with traffic conditions, weather, construction zones and other driving issues. There is an approach, however, that will allow cars and trucks to learn and respond quickly and accurately to their constantly changing surroundings. That approach involves artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence allows the vehicle to analyze in real time the massive amounts of data – gigabytes per second – received by its cameras, LIDAR and other sensors to avoid objects and plan the vehicle’s path. Applying AI in an optimal manner involves using neural networks for object classification and reinforcement learning for path planning.

Consumers already are bringing AI into their vehicles via their smartphones. Voice-based search engines and in-car navigation depend on a level of AI from off-board servers, and more infotainment systems are integrating connected features from outside servers that use AI in the background.

To manage an autonomous vehicle, engineers will need to transform AI from its typical location in a room full of servers for computer and Internet access to a self-contained location in the vehicle that, for the most part, does not need to depend on outside data connections. They also will have to solve the challenge of AI’s huge demand for power, resulting in heat generation that must be dissipated, contributing to higher fuel consumption.

Another area that needs to be addressed is which type of microprocessor will prove most efficient. Should it be a central processing unit (CPU), a graphics processing unit (GPU) or an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC)? Each has benefits and drawbacks in terms of power, performance and cost. This issue is complicated by the need to decide between a CPU, where all information is received and processed, and a decentralized system with several smaller processors. Both have value, depending on how the vehicle manufacturer wishes to establish the architecture.

To meet this demand, Visteon is developing a scalable autonomous driving solution applying AI – specifically neural networks and machine learning. This approach can support either centralized or decentralized processing and can greatly improve the accuracy of detecting and classifying objects in a vehicle’s path. This approach holds much promise for moving autonomous driving from a few real-world examples among a roomful of innovators to an everyday reality on our roads and highways.

Vijay Nadkarni is the global head of artificial intelligence and deep learning technology for Visteon’s product lines, including autonomous driving/ADAS and infotainment. He is based in Santa Clara where he has management oversight of Visteon’s Silicon Valley technology center. Vijay is a hands-on technology veteran whose current focus is machine learning, Cloud computing and mobile apps. Prior to joining Visteon, he founded Chalkzen, which developed a novel Cloud platform for vehicular safety.

Visteon – an Intern’s Point of View

By Courtney Schultz, Communications Intern

Internships are a great way to get a taste of the job field before graduation. Most academic programs require an internship to graduate; however, students usually don’t have time to commit to something more than part-time. Many of my peers in the public relations program at Eastern Michigan University chose internships that only required working 12-15 hours a week. But I didn’t want a cookie-cutter internship – I wanted something full-time where I could really immerse myself.

I wanted an experience.

After spending hours searching, I applied for a communications intern position at Visteon. I was intrigued to learn that Visteon is a Tier 1 automotive supplier and a technology company that is focused on cockpit electronics and autonomous driving. It sounded new and exciting to me.

I went through a two-step interview process – a phone interview followed by an in-person interview. I was especially nervous as this was my first-ever interview for my field of study. My nerves were put to rest during the in-person interview. Visteon had a casual atmosphere, open work environment, and I felt I really meshed with the people interviewing me. I left the interview hopeful, and later that day I was offered the communications intern position.

My tenure at Visteon began on May 8, and I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly never would have thought that I would truly immerse myself into the communications and marketing team. I have been incredibly fortunate to have supervisors who truly care about my growth and development in the communications field and who strive to foster an all-inclusive environment.

The summer has flown by in the blink of an eye, and these four months have been much more than an internship. I’ve had the opportunity to explore areas of communications and marketing that I previously didn’t consider “part of the job.” I’ve attended and participated in many meaningful events that have solidified my passion for community service and diversity.

The biggest project our team is undertaking this summer is the redesign of the company website, visteon.com. Over the years, Visteon has gone through a dynamic transformation. We’ve solidified our position as a technology leader. And our website needs to reflect this. From collaborating on site maps and graphics to drafting web copy and learning about workflows, I have been involved in every step of the website redesign process. And as a millennial, my input was not only requested, it was highly valued. We are working relentlessly to get the new site up and running soon; although I won’t be here for the launch, I’ll be on the lookout for the new site. I never would have imagined that I would be an integral part of such a big project.

This summer, I’ve also had the opportunity to host media. Last month, a reporter from Reuters, as well as a group of Chinese journalists, toured our facilities and interviewed our CEO. It was cool to see the feature videos and news articles that came out of those sessions that I helped coordinate.

Perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of my position was the numerous opportunities for community service. From playing bingo with sick children at the Detroit Children’s Hospital to working with Life Remodeled to clear blight in a Detroit neighborhood – I loved being able to help those who needed it. I had the opportunity to promote these events with photos, video and employee news articles. It was fun to watch the number of “likes” for my work add up on the company intranet!

The internship program at Visteon is a wonderful experience. It’s clear that a lot of thought and effort goes into planning it. This summer, my fellow interns across various functions heard from a LinkedIn representative, attended a Detroit Tigers game, experienced the Ford Rouge factory tour, and met with many company executives and employees who shared valuable insights.

While my time here is drawing to a close, the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met will remain in my memories forever. The opportunities I’ve had here are ones I will always look back on. I’ve grown tremendously since starting here in May.  I have gained confidence in my abilities and have learned so much.

For that, I’d like to thank every person at Visteon whom I’ve encountered who has truly made me feel a part of this company – not just an intern. It means so much to be truly valued and appreciated.

In the end, I got what I came for – that once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Courtney Schultz is a recent graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She received her associate’s degree in liberal arts from Washtenaw Community College in 2015. Following her summer internship at Visteon based in Van Buren Township, Michigan, she is moving to the state of Washington, where she will pursue a career in communications and public relations.

Privacy Preference Center