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Torc Robotics links up with NXP on self-driving car technology

Torc Robotics is partnering with NXP Semiconductors to integrate next-generation radar into its self-driving vehicle fleet.

NXP is one of the world’s largest chip suppliers to the automotive industry, for advanced driver assistance systems.

Torc CEO Michael Fleming says: “For over a decade, Torc has been working with partners across multiple industries to make the world a safer place through the commercialization of our autonomous technology.

“Combining our end-to-end software stack with NXP’s innovative radar hardware is another step towards reaching that goal.” 

Torc’s self-driving system for consumer cars was unveiled earlier this year, and already incorporates NXP TEF810x and MPC577xK radar chips.

Torc says the tiny, unobtrusive sensors incorporated into the car’s radar boost its perception capabilities by enhancing 360-degree vision and providing real-time information about objects around the car.

Kamal Khouri, vice president and general manager, NXP ADAS product line, says: “The partnership between Torc Robotics and NXP will bring further innovations and differentiation for next-generation sensing solutions for L4 and L5 autonomy.”

NXP technology played an integral role in helping the Torc car autonomously drive 4,300 miles coast-to-coast and back, said Fleming, who adds that a key benefit is the ability to integrate Torc’s proven algorithms using raw data across multiple sensors.

Fleming says: “Access to raw sensor data is a key differentiator between us and the competition. It helps us push the envelope on sensing while maintaining the reliability needed to test in real-world environments.”

Torc’s self-driving cars use multiple radar sensors in the front and back. They are part of a multi-sensor system that includes cameras and lidar, which enable Torc’s perception software to detect objects in complex driving environments.

Fleming adds: “We still strongly believe in the multi-modal approach that helped our team cross the finish line 10 years ago in the historic Darpa Urban Challenge.

“It uses the strength of each sensor across the broad range of challenging driving environments. Radar excels in situations where cameras would not, such as rain, fog, or night driving.”

Fleming says NXP’s radar hardware is and will continue to be a key component of Torc’s self-driving vehicle fleet. As part of their partnership, Torc and NXP will collaborate on testing results and new developments in radar technology.

Fleming says: “We look forward to continuing to work with NXP and our other automotive partners to advance self-driving technology and drive the requirements for future hardware products.

“This is an exciting time to be in the market, and we’re humbled to be a guide in the transportation revolution.”