Zoox, the globally renowned company in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and mobility-as-a-service solutions, has revealed the first look of its self-driving, electric and autonomous vehicle built for the rider, not the driver.

The Machine Learning solutions company announced that they are happy to confirm that FLIR Systems will supply them with thermal imaging cameras for their Zoox robotaxi vehicle. FLIR Systems also shared more details on their involvement with Zoox and why this is such an important milestone for autonomous vehicles.

As a sensing technology that performs the complex task of detecting and classifying roadway objects in challenging lighting conditions, thermal cameras add additional layers of safety through increased situational awareness and redundancy as part of complex sensor suites, ranging from radar to LIDAR to visible cameras.

Zoox robotaxi with FLIR thermal cameras

The Zoox robotaxi features FLIR thermal cameras in its bi-directional vehicle for improved visibility

The Zoox robotaxi features FLIR thermal cameras in its bi-directional vehicle, bringing improved visibility to more confidently identify and classify pedestrians, cyclists, and animals in both day and night driving conditions on urban streets, all around the vehicle.

Although thermal imaging is a more recent sensing modality in autonomy, mobility innovators, like Zoox, have come to realise its benefits for improving safety. Thermal imaging is a passive sensing modality that does not require illumination and performs equally well in bright sun glare, headlight glare, and complete darkness, while offering additional awareness in adverse weather conditions such as fog, smoke, rain and snow.

Enhanced safety of ADAS vehicles

In short, by using thermal imaging, ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assist Systems) vehicles can recognise and adapt to these changing conditions quickly and as a result, they can facilitate improvement in the safety across all levels of autonomy, including Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems.

This enhanced level of safety is crucial for all occupants and other road users, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists that can be more difficult to spot in crowded urban environments. This high level of safety will go a long way in helping avoid road injuries or potential fatalities.

A history of thermal imaging and automotive integration

FLIR Systems’ initial foray into thermal imaging technology for automotive use happened over 15 years ago. The video surveillance solutions company has since evolved to create integrated thermal imaging systems that provide additional situational awareness and safety for Advanced Driver-Assist Systems (ADAS) vehicles.

Their state-of-the-art technologies include the development of robust thermal imaging datasets to enable machine vision classification in the infrared spectrum, as part of broader Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology stacks.

Boson thermal camera technology

FLIR Systems is thrilled to see its technology gain wider acceptance as a crucial component of safer mobility

FLIR Systems had also earlier announced its Boson thermal camera technology would be a part of an internationally renowned automaker’s level-four autonomous vehicle (AV) sensor suite through the company long time autonomous vehicle solutions partner, Veoneer.

And now with the introduction of the Zoox autonomous vehicle, FLIR Systems is thrilled to see its technology continue to gain wider acceptance as a crucial component of safer mobility.

Fusing thermal sensor data with radar

Recently, FLIR Systems teamed up with VSI Labs to develop a proof-of-concept vehicle and testing program that looks at how fusing thermal sensor data with radar, a visible sensor data via a trained neural network, can significantly improve pedestrian detection for Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) systems.

By adding thermal imaging to current sensor suites, the testing showed significant improvement in nighttime and poor visibility scenarios.

Autonomous innovation

Autonomous innovation remains a strategic priority at FLIR, and as the automotive industry continues to evolve and perfect its safety systems, FLIR will play an integral role to support the future of travel.

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Expert roundup: healthy buildings, blockchain, AI, skilled workers, and more
Expert roundup: healthy buildings, blockchain, AI, skilled workers, and more

Our Expert Panel Roundtable is an opinionated group. However, for a variety of reasons, we are sometimes guilty of not publishing their musings in a timely manner. At the end of 2020, we came across several interesting comments among those that were previously unpublished. Following is a catch-all collection of those responses, addressing some of the most current and important issues in the security marketplace in 2021.

Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?
Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?

If you’re a security or facilities manager, you may already be aware of the quiet revolution that’s taking place across businesses and organisations up and down the country. By the end of 2020, 20% of all ID and access control systems featured mobile capability, and this is set to increase by a further 34% over the next three years. There’s no doubt that using a smartphone or mobile device in place of traditional credential and access control is a growing trend that’s only been sped up by the pandemic. It’s true that many businesses are still very much focused on remote working, although many are now starting to implement new-and-improved strategies that are better suited to protect the workforce moving forward. Mobile ID systems As the next normal becomes clearer, businesses will be reviewing procedures such as access control, occupancy monitoring, reducing touch points and tracking visitors. Mobile ID systems are ideally suited to this task. 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First, the security manager has access to a secure portal, allowing them to create, manage and edit credentials anywhere. They can upload and remotely transfer mobile ID and access control credentials directly to users’ smartphones over the air. Via the secure app, users can view and see their credentials and immediately begin using it for ID and access control by simply placing their smartphone over card readers. Enabling a more flexible way of working The way in which we work has changed for good. Even as people more people return to the office in 2021, a majority of businesses will be operating a home/office split indefinitely. This once again reinforces the need for a smarter, more adaptable onboarding system. Implementing mobile ID is the perfect way of doing this: over-the-air delivery of credentials and security data is now a given, helping businesses create the perfect balance between the home and the office. 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From the employer’s perspective, mobile ID means it’s easier for administrators to manage access and credentials. Future-proofing access control now will ensure that in the longer term, mobile ID is well worth the investment. The annual expenditure of printing ID cards and purchasing credentials can be vast, while reissuance costs can also quickly add up for larger organisations. These issues are a thing of the past for businesses using mobile ID. Mobile ID perfect tool for 2021 and beyond Until mobile ID, new and improved credentials’ main focus was on increasing security. Mobile ID not only delivers that, but it also provides a more convenient way of accessing the office in a way that’s perfectly suited to returning to the office in 2021. If there was ever a time to upgrade, now is the time. 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Water plant attack emphasizes cyber’s impact on physical security
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Marco Rubio tweeted that the attempt to poison the water supply should be treated as a “matter of national security.” “The incident at the Oldsmar water treatment plant is a reminder that our nation’s critical infrastructure is continually at risk; not only from nation-state attackers, but also from malicious actors with unknown motives and goals,” comments Mieng Lim, VP of Product Management at Digital Defense Inc., a provider of vulnerability management and threat assessment solutions.The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online “Our dependency on critical infrastructure – power grids, utilities, water supplies, communications, financial services, emergency services, etc. – on a daily basis emphasises the need to ensure the systems are defended against any adversary,” Mieng Lim adds. “Proactive security measures are crucial to safeguard critical infrastructure systems when perimeter defences have been compromised or circumvented. 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In this case, it looks like the network had trust in the user credential but not in the validity of the device itself. Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is what can happen when zero trust is your end state, not your beginning point." “The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organisations bring systems online for the first time as part of digital transformation projects,” says Gareth Williams, Vice President - Secure Communications & Information Systems, Thales UK. “While the move towards greater automation and connected switches and control systems brings unprecedented opportunities, it is not without risk, as anything that is brought online immediately becomes a target to be hacked.” Operational technology to mitigate attacks Williams advises organisations to approach Operational Technology as its own entity and put in place procedures that mitigate against the impact of an attack that could ultimately cost lives. This means understanding what is connected, who has access to it and what else might be at risk should that system be compromised, he says. “Once that is established, they can secure access through protocols like access management and fail-safe systems.”  “The cyberattack against the water supply in Oldsmar should come as a wakeup call,” says Saryu Nayyar, CEO, Gurucul.  “Cybersecurity professionals have been talking about infrastructure vulnerabilities for years, detailing the potential for attacks like this, and this is a near perfect example of what we have been warning about,” she says.  Although this attack was not successful, there is little doubt a skilled attacker could execute a similar infrastructure attack with more destructive results, says Nayyar. Organisations tasked with operating and protecting critical public infrastructure must assume the worst and take more serious measures to protect their environments, she advises. 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