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Available job

Master’s Thesis: Intelligent sensor hardware platform design using AI

About the company

ÅF is an engineering and design company within the fields of energy, industry and infrastructure. We create sustainable solutions for the next generation through talented people and technology. We are based in Europe and our business and clients are found all over the world.

ÅF Making Future.

About the job

Background 

ÅF Embedded Systems West has approximately 180 employees. We are a design and development house for advanced electronics and software systems. We run numerous development projects for industrial, automotive, military and medtech customers.

ÅF Embedded runs master’s thesis on regular basis and we now seek skilled students to run this master’s thesis project in a new exiting area where the combination of the latest sensing technology merges with the latest AI technology in an embedded edge computing system. 

If you succeed with this challenge, you may be one of our next development engineers.

Technical description

You, together with ÅF, will develop a new low end sensing platform that can sense objects in a 360 view at a maximum distance of 5 meters. The platform aims to enable products that are to be a low cost alternative to 360 LIDAR for medium range (5 meters) applications.

This will be done by bringing multiple low cost state of the art Time of Flight (ToF) range sensors together as a system by using AI implemented in a low cost FPGA.

The master’s thesis will use commercial of the shelf (COTS) reference board hardware initially. ÅF will develop a custom hardware in parallel to this master’s thesis, if the output of the thesis shows that sufficient sensing performance can be achieved. 

Proposed thesis tasks 

Sensor selection evaluation 
There are some manufactures of medium range ToF sensors that has a broad field of view. Three sensors (incl. ST and Renesas) shall be theoretically and experimentally evaluated for: 

1. Detection performance (range, resolution, object size, etc.) if multiple sensors are mounted in a ring topology.

2. Cross talk performance if multiple sensors are mounted close in a circle. 

3. The needed number of sensors to cover 360 with no blind spots. 

Read more on ST sensors here: https://www.st.com/en/imaging-and-photonics-solutions/proximity-sensors.html?querycriteria=productId=SC1934

Sensor configuration
The sensors communicate via serial interfaces (e.g I2C). The detection areas, sensitivity etc. are configurable. The selected sensor configuration shall be defined and validated to achieve:

1. 360 coverage of mixed size objects at up to 5 meters with no blind spots.

2. Multiple different configurations may be needed for the sensor setup. 

Data processing platform selection
Each sensor data shall be processed synchronized in time with other sensors with a maximum jitter of 1 ms. This will be realized with an FPGA. 

Lattice sensAI platform and low cost FPGA:s shall be evaluated. Also, the following tasks need to be investigated: 

1. Make a FPGA system design that fit 12-18 I2C IP blocks for sensor communication and one external serial bus (e.g. RS 232) for communication to host system.

2. The algorithm that will fuse and process the sensor data will be an AI implementation based on Lattice IP-blocks. The performance of the FPGA and the IP-blocks needs to be analysed to secure function for the target application. Page Break

VHDL development 
The design shall be implemented on a Lattice reference board using at least two external sensors.

System integration 
The sensors and the reference board shall be connected by using a breadboard of some kind where power, transceivers for communications etc. needs to be designed and built. The system output data shall be possible to view on a PC via e.g. RS232 or similar. 

System verification 
The VHDL implementation and sensor configurations shall be verified indoor with different sized objects at different speeds and at different distances. The verification shall show if the sensor selections and configurations works in real world environments.

Who are you?

Candidates’ background and skills 
Master of Science (30 credits) in Electronics / Computer / Mechatronics or equivalent. Students with an interest in intelligent sensor systems, hardware development / design and electrical engineering are welcome to apply. Good knowledge in FPGA and hardware design is a requirement. Big plus if you have worked with electrical tech projects as a hobby, as well as some working experience from previous job/summer job or other relevant experience. As a person, you are self-going and self-motivated with an outgoing can-do-attitude. Join ÅF during your master thesis and experience an environment of brave, devoted and highly skilled team players. 

We offer

Place of work will be at the ÅF office in Gothenburg. Supervision is carried out by ÅF employee at the office in Gothenburg in collaboration with the supervisor at the university. The starting date of work is flexible. 

How to apply 
We prefer that the thesis is performed in groups of two. You and your thesis partner apply individually with a personal resume and a joint cover letter. Use your joint cover letter for both of your individual applications. 

Contact information

Anna Nilsson, recruiter ÅF Embedded Systems
+46 105052167
anna.a.nilsson@afconsult.com

Apply here