Swedish AV software developer Zenuity has become the first automotive supplier to team up with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, to enhance the way machine learning algorithms are used by autonomous vehicles.
One of the fundamental challenges in the development of AVs is the interpretation of the huge quantities of data generated by normal driving conditions, such as identifying pedestrians and vehicles with the sensors on the car, including cameras, lidar and radars.
As part of its studies into particle physics, CERN has to collect large quantities of data originating from particle collisions produced by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
CERN has approached this challenge by using field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), an integrated circuit that can be configured after manufacturing to execute complex decision-taking algorithms in micro-seconds. The synergy between Zenuity and CERN aims to use FPGAs for fast machine learning applications, to be used in the AV industry and in particle physics experiments.
Dr Dennis Nobelius, Zenuity’s chief executive, said, “I think it says something important about the collaborative nature of science that an organization like CERN that conducts high-energy particle collisions can work with a company that is dedicated to completely eliminating collisions… in traffic.”
The research to be conducted under the collaboration concerns so-called ‘deep learning’, which is a class of machine learning algorithms. In recent years, such algorithms, commonly referred to as AI, have been applied to a multitude of fields with great success, even exceeding human performance on certain tasks.
Zenuity hopes that their collaboration with CERN will push the frontiers of this technology by reducing the runtime and memory footprint of the relevant deep learning algorithms without reducing accuracy, while simultaneously minimizing energy consumption and cost.
“I personally view this collaboration as a manifestation of the fact that this rapidly developing technology not only spans across different industries, but also across the boundary between scientific research and industry, and this kind of cross-disciplinary collaboration is needed to reach ambitious goals,” added Nobelius.
The collaboration forms part of CERN’s knowledge-transfer activities to engage with experts in technology and industry, in order to maximize the positive contribution of CERN technologies on society.