Automotive, Industrial, and Medical Electronics

FIT expects that the demand for connectors applied in the automotive end market will be driven by, among others, connectors applied in autonomous driving, increasing demand for vehicles and increasing popularity of in-vehicle infotainment. FIT is investing in the development of interconnect solutions and other products that can be utilized in a wide variety of applications in the automotive industry. At the same time, FIT and Illinois recognize that we are at the forefront of an automotive revolution. C-NICE is intent at exploring various research avenues that must be pursued successfully to enable dramatic advances in this domain to drive the next generation of growth momentum under the new wave of technological development.

Research in this area speak to the need to develop cost-effective, reliable, accurate sensors and scalable and reconfigurable sensor systems that can adapt to new environments and technological developments. For example, the deployment of 5G in city environments could allow for true vehicle autonomy.  Autonomous vehicles would be able to receive and interpret information from not just from on-board sensors but also from a plethora of sensors deployed in the environment.   Sensors and sensor systems will need to become far more cost effective and interoperable even as they are connected via interconnects and wireless technologies.  Invariably, autonomous vehicles need to operate in all weather conditions. They are thus likely to require the simultaneous use of complementary sensor technologies, intelligently and dynamically integrating and interpreting these depending on external and internal factors. 

Human factors is another important domain.  Increasing autonomy in vehicles can lead to problems with respect to driver attention. Illinois led research regarding similar considerations regarding pilots when autonomy was introduced in aircraft. Another example is that the driving behavior of human drivers in other vehicles could cause accidents due to the vehicle’s systems not being able to react to the situation at hand.  One approach is to develop sophisticated simulations to accelerate the development of effective AI and machine learning to cover broader scenarios.  Finally, while the focus has been on how an autonomous vehicle will effectively capture and interpret information from its environment, there are interesting issues as to how autonomous vehicles will communicate in the other direction.  What will be the equivalent of a human driver making eye contact with a pedestrian about to jaywalk?

The application of the Internet of Things and Cyber Physical Systems is set to transform other major industries. FIT is looking to meeting increasing demands for intelligent and interconnected environments in domains as wide-ranging as medicine and aerospace.