Alps Alpine develops hands-off detection ECU for autonomous driving systems

Posted 19 July 2021

Alps Alpine has a developed an electronic control unit (ECU) for hands-off detection to support autonomous driving systems by distinguishing between variations in a driver’s grip on the steering wheel. Mass production began in spring 2021 and the plan is to gradually expand deployment to a range of vehicle models. To accommodate advancements in autonomous driving support and further contribute to safe and comfortable mobility, development for next-generation models is already underway.

The ECU uses data obtained via a special-purpose capacitive sensor, wrapped around the steering wheel, to determine if the driver is touching it and conveys the assessment to an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). Whereas existing hands-off detection systems are mono-zone setups, with a single electrode, Alps Alpine has developed a multi-zone configuration with four electrodes . Dividing the steering wheel and grip patterns into smaller sections enables efficient system switching and enhanced touch assessment reliability.

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