Autonomous Systems


The autonomous development landscape is new to all of us. That being said, we see two stages to the autonomous vehicle development world.

Stage one - create a 100% electrically controlled car, truck, or delivery type platform. This means steering, brakes, parking brakes, turn signals and all electrical functions must be controllable by electrical impulses.

Stage two - attach to this controllable vehicle a set of computer instructions that are so comprehensive that the computer is able to drive and respond in real time to the world around it. To be an “autonomous vehicle” means being able to drive in any condition that it may encounter.

There are many research kits available on the market. When installed, these kits make any vehicle controllable by an onboard computer. Portland Wiring Harness does not make the kits, but PWH manufactures and installs the wiring harnesses for many different autonomous kit marketing and development companies. Autonomous kits are very popular for universities and companies to install and use to test their software. A kit like this always requires a wiring harness to provide the physical backbone of the control system. PWH builds and designs this physical wiring harness backbone.

Recently, a vehicle owned by a university on another continent was loaned to one of the world's largest car companies. The car company (unbeknown to most) disassembled every nut, bolt and wire. After this disassembly, PWH was contacted and told that PWH had manufactured the safest wiring harness yet known in use by an autonomous vehicle. PWH possesses a rare skill set. We are experts at transportation, aviation, and autonomous wiring. On top of that, PWH excels at testing, such that we even build our own custom test machines for harnesses and onboard computers.

Fleet installations are our forte. We have a designated fleet installation facility for custom installations of GPS systems, installation of Lidar, radar, and “IR” infrared Sensors. In addition, installations of camera systems, manufacturing and design of mounting equipment for all systems. As well as designing wiring harnesses and fiber optics.

Comparative Laminar Flow:

PWH has been developing a laminar flow sensing system to enhance high-speed inputs. This system works much like an airplane's airspeed sensor. This data is used in conjunction with lidar.

Lidar and heat signature systems:

Lidar is an all weather sensor that can see through smoke, fog and other environmental obscurations. Lidar perception technology can be fitted on autonomous cars with the sensing technology integrated onto the roof of the vehicle. This system enables the immediate environment to be scanned in 3D, creating a micro second, snap shot map without the need for internet capability. Research vehicles when enabled this technology will then be able to drive autonomously. PWH is regularly working with Lidar systems and has manufactured mounting hardware.

Ground Penetrating Radar:

More sophisticated GPR (ground penetrating radar) sensing systems are currently being evaluated as this technology is capable of analyzing road subsurface conditions in all types of weather.

Physical backbone and onboard hardware:

PWH’s physical backbone system insures that it is safe to engage and use with autonomy mode. It allows the safety driver to initiate the system. Ultimate control over initiation sequence lies with the computer/software.

Onboard software and computing.

One of the biggest challenges for autonomous development are construction sites within the roadway. These are sudden hazards that were not there previously, but are suddenly here today. They do not show up on maps because they are temporary. In development are road works transmitting stations that may someday warn drivers and autonomous systems of temporary roadworks.

Technology, like a smart roadway, promotes vehicle technology supported by private and public money. Peripheral services like vehicle data analysis, predictive maintenance, autonomous vehicles data, is harvested by an autonomous vehicle technology through real life testing on our road system. This may allow autonomous vehicles to navigate the most challenging rapidly changing driving conditions. Through a combination of technology, infrastructure, data security, and human social interaction, complete autonomy becomes possible. When done correctly, complete autonomy means you can take a nap and let the car do all the driving.

Electric vehicle charging and propane:

PWH is stepping up to encourage expansion and development of EV recharge points, fuel stations and vehicle maintenance providers. PWH has installed an EV recharge point in the high desert of central Oregon that also serves other alternative fuels at this “filling station.” PWH sells propane and features two classes of electric charging.