AI debuts in vehicles

Ford and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA are bringing artificial intelligence to vehicles courtesy of a new neural network computer chip. The new ‘intelligent’ chip promises to reduce vehicle emissions and improve fuel economy by monitoring fuel combustion.

NASA’s JPL and Ford scientists contend that the chip represents the most significant change in the way computing is done on vehicles since computers were first introduced into cars in the mid 70s.

The neural network chip has the potential to augment current vehicle on-board diagnostic systems. The chip may diagnose and control emissions’ behaviour on a continuous basis.

Dr Ken Marko of Ford’s neural network team says: ‘For misfire diagnostics, you have to observe and diagnose over one billion engine firing events in a car’s lifetime. Additionally, your diagnostic error rate has to be extremely small less than one in a million in order to avoid sending false alarm signals to the driver. This chip will ‘learn’ diagnostic tasks, bypassing the need to develop conventional software. It well perform better than the conventional software, and can be used in large production volumes with standard microprocessors.’