Magna unveils SAE Level 4 autonomous driving platform


Canadian global automotive supplier Magna has unveiled MAX4, a fully integrated, customizable and scalable self-driving sensing and computing platform that can enable up to SAE Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities in both urban and highway environments.

MAX4 combines cameras, radar, lidar and ultrasonic sensors with a computing platform, which are designed for easy integration with any auto makers’ existing and future platforms, including hybrid and electric vehicles. Magna’s computing platform, which is scalable for high-volume production, is also flexible, upgradeable and fully functional with a fraction of power requirements as compared to alternative systems.

The company has used its full-vehicle expertise in its design of MAX4 to overcome traditional obstacles in the development and production of an autonomous driving platform. Crucially, integration of MAX4 retains an auto maker’s existing design and styling freedom for their vehicle, including not taking up cargo space in the rear of the vehicle and personal space in the main compartment.

One of the targets for Magna was to simplify the way drivers engage with autonomous driving systems, including the option of an intuitive and familiar cruise-control-like user interface that is controlled through the press of a button. A lighted display indicates the vehicle is in autonomous mode, and drivers can disengage that mode via brake pedal or an emergency button.

According to SAE International, Level 4 automation includes vehicles that can perform all safety-critical functions for the duration of a trip in a specified operational design domain with no input from a driver, save for destination or navigation input. In comparison, most of the vehicles currently on the road that are equipped with some automation features are classified by SAE as Level 1 or Level 2, requiring active monitoring by the driver.

Magna has recently made a strategic investment to expand its existing collaboration with Innoviz Technologies, a pioneer in solid-state lidar technology. MAX4 uses Innoviz’s solid-state lidar to provide high-definition, 3D, real-time images of the vehicle’s surroundings regardless of changing light and weather conditions.

“At the heart of this development is a desire to show the market our breadth of capabilities and an autonomous driving enabling platform with subsystems that do not compromise the interior and exterior of a vehicle,” said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna’s chief technology officer. “Our focus is on developing production-ready solutions that offer flexibility to integrate, and the framework to enable Level 4 technology for when the market is ready.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).