THE SHOP

March '21

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38 THE SHOP MARCH 2021 "The other expensive part of a lidar sensor is the optics," he adds. "We have come up with new technologies such as diffractive optics that reduce the size and cost of the sensor immensely." The biggest hurdle with lidar (besides making the units smaller) is getting the technology to a price point where manu- facturers can include a reliable system on every new vehicle. MODIFYING ADAS-EQUIPPED VEHICLES SEMA recently presented case studies on modifying ADAS-equipped vehicles, including one from Transamerican/4WP, which modified a 2019 Ram 1500 truck to make sure the OEM sensors would work with various aftermarket upgrades. "We jumped on the opportunity last year to get on this ADAS adventure, as we call it, because we not only develop house brands, suspensions and accessories that we want compliant and safe, but we also outfit thou- sands of vehicles a month through our 95 store locations using third-party brands," explains Kris Hernandez, director of sus- pension engineering, Transamerican/4WP. The Ram truck featured adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, adaptive LED headlights, braking assist, blind-spot monitoring and front and rear parking sen- sors. It was upgraded with a Pro Comp 6-inch suspension lift, Pro Comp 37-inch Extreme Mud Terrain tires, Pro Comp 20x9 wheels, Smittybilt front and rear bumpers and Smittybilt side steps. Technicians then went to work, making sure all of the ADAS safety systems still func- tioned properly with the added accessories. "Our evaluations were performed on a documented local test loop, with all typical scenarios and road types," Hernandez says. "On top of the standard test-loop evalua- tions, we performed two extended evalu- ations, (driving) from our R&D facility in San Diego to our corporate facility in Los Angeles during typical California traffic. For this particular Ram 1500, the long- distance evaluation was accomplished on the freeway, with no brake or accelerator input once radar cruise was activated." If you know California traffic, you know that's a pretty convenient feature. "The Ram system is probably one of the nicer-performing systems that I've devel- oped product for," he continues. "Testing and mapping were repeated, and correc- tions were made until the systems met the OE range measured when the vehicle was first delivered to us 100% stock." Hernandez notes that 4 Wheel Parts rou- tinely clocks 300 to 500 miles in its drive evaluations, and in this case, the results were of interest to asTech, a company that evaluates vehicle safety performance and sensor compliance. "There were a lot of things we learned on this Ram truck," says Jake Rodenroth, asTech director of industry relations. "It's a little bit different than some of the other vehicles we've seen. The integration of sensor fusion, where you've got sensors working as a team, is very true in the Ram's case, so you have a radar and a camera system mounted in the windshield. In a lot of other vehicles, the radar is typically lower in the vehicle, behind a grille or a bumper cover." The higher mounting in the Ram's case Tom Jellicoe and a team at TTP are pursuing cleaning technology using ultrasonic waves to keep lidar sensors working in all conditions. Seeing the Future

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