A closed-loop development process for autonomous vehicles – The Future Car podcast

The last 18 months have been a challenge for many industries, and this was no exception for the overall automotive and transportation ecosystem. But the industry has proven to be very resilient in the past few months by continuing to pursue long-term goals for product and process innovation. We see a strong shift towards vehicle electrification as nearly every OEM transfers their portfolio, and legislation pushes new bans for combustion engine cars. As the electric vehicle leaves the early adopter phase, it will be welcomed by a broad audience of excited customers.

But what about that other massive trend? What about autonomous vehicle development? AV development programs are regaining momentum across the automotive industry, and progress is being made in many aspects: self-driving technology, public perception, and regulations or legislation to manage the deployment of AVs. Even still there is a long road ahead for the developers of self-driving vehicles, and many challenges have yet to be resolved.

The capabilities of today’s self-driving vehicles, whether prototypes or commercially available features, are still far below that of a fully (i.e. SAE level 5) autonomous car. As the capabilities of AVs grow, so to will the complexity of the underlying systems. This explosion in complexity and the massive verification and validation needs of self-driving systems ensures that prospective AV manufacturers will need to adopt new development methodologies, or fall behind on the path to full autonomy. In fact, Rand Corporation has calculated that it requires more than 17 billion kilometers of test driving to demonstrate a failure rate significantly better than humans. Clearly, accomplishing all of this testing with real-world prototypes is not feasible. Instead, real-world testing must be augmented with high-fidelity simulations that can help design teams gather vital information more quickly and cost-effectively. With a combined approach, AV engineering teams will be able to investigate and account for exceptional on-road scenarios more effectively, thus improving the safety of their AV systems.

In a new episode of the Future Car, I chat with Nand Kochhar, VP of Automotive and Transportation Industries at Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Mathhieu Worm, VP of Business Development and Partnerships and Co-founder of Simulytic, a new startup venture from Siemens AG. We talk about how companies can accelerate their AV development efforts, improve internal processes, and adopt best practices. In particular, we discuss how a holistic systems view of a closed-loop development process, in concert with a massive validation and verification program, can accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles and help companies overcome challenges along the way. You can listen to the new episode below.

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