Tag Archive for: Autonomous car


2022 Automotive Predictions 

In many ways, 2021 was a continuation of the changes brought about in 2020, a year that’s been described as “unprecedented” and “unparalleled.” In a unique way, 2021 has offered us an idea of evolving innovations and technology on the horizon for teams across industries. These changing conditions will present a variety of new landscapes and will offer unique challenges, opportunities, and more than likely, many surprises.  

As we enter a new year of further changes, Jama Software asked select thought leaders – both internal and external – across various industries for the trends and events they foresee unfolding over the next year and beyond. 

In the third part of our five-part series, we ask Adrian Rolufs, Director of Solutions Architecture from Jama Software, to weigh in on product and systems development trends he’s anticipating for automotive development in 2022.  

Read our other 2022 Industry Predictions here: Part One – Engineering Predictions, Part Two – Medical Device Predictions, Part Four – Aerospace & Defense Predictions, and Part Five – Insurance Development Market Predictions.


Q: What product, systems, and software development trends are you expecting to take shape in 2022? 

Adrian Rolufs, Jama Software:  

2022 will continue much like 2021. Many established automotive companies are in the process of modernizing their development processes and tool chains.  These companies are looking to adopt Agile principles to allow them to execute faster and adopt modern tools that better support their new process. Many of the startups established in the last couple of years are maturing and discovering a need to add more robust processes to ensure that as they bring products to market, they maintain compliance with the safety and quality standards in automotive. 

Due to the global chip shortages in 2021 that had a huge impact on automotive OEMs, we’ll continue to see a focus on ensuring that there is a sufficient supply of automotive grade chips. 

Q: In terms of product and systems development, what do you think will remain the same over the next decade? What will change? 

Adrian Rolufs, Jama Software:  

Over the next decade, I expect that automotive systems development will continue to place an emphasis on software defined features. OEMs will continue to heavily invest in their software development capabilities and an ongoing focus will be placed on quickly delivering new software features while maintaining quality. 

A major change that I see coming is a wider adoption of vehicle variation through software differences rather than hardware differences. Tesla has already led with this approach, but I expect to see more manufacturers ship vehicles with a minimum variety of hardware, and options provided through software configuration instead. 


RELATED READING: Safety As A Competitive Advantage


Q: How do you foresee regulations shifting in Automotive Product and Systems Development over the next decade?  

Adrian Rolufs, Jama Software:  

The current big shifts will continue over the next few years. An increased focus on cybersecurity is already happening and will be a major factor for automotive companies to adapt to over the next few years. With over-the-air updates quickly becoming a mainstream feature of new vehicles, a huge focus must be placed on ensuring safety and regulatory compliance as updates are rolled out.   

Autonomy is an area where new standards have been recently developed, like UL 4600. I expect to see significantly more regulations around autonomy in the next decade to create a framework for bringing fully autonomous vehicles to market. 

Q: Any major disruptions to Automotive Product and Systems Development industry you’re anticipating in 2022? 

Adrian Rolufs, Jama Software: 

New electric vehicle manufacturers like Rivian and Lucid are starting initial production now and are planning to ramp up production in 2022. If they are successful, this will put additional pressure on established OEMs to execute on their own electric vehicle programs even faster than they already are. This will likely have a cascading effect felt across the industry. 


RELATED POST: Automotive Engineering and Management Methods for Modern Vehicle Development


Q: What sorts of process adjustments do you think development teams will need to make to be successful in 2022? 

Adrian Rolufs, Jama Software:  

With the new focus on allowing for remote work, the traditional dependency on tribal knowledge and the heroic efforts of individuals will not be enough for companies to be successful.  Product development knowledge has to be captured in systems and kept up to date so that remote workers can still be productive. This will continue to push for more modern tooling and increased enforcement that is used correctly.  Capturing accurate requirements, establishing traceability, and being able to keep track of it all in a highly iterative fashion will be critical to ensuring success. 

Q: What do you think will be some of the differentiators between a company surviving to see 2030, and those that do not? 

Adrian Rolufs, Jama Software:  

The established companies that survive to see 2030 will be those that adopt modern development practices fast enough to stay competitive and continue to stay relevant in the market. 

For the startups, the biggest challenge is maintaining strong enough financial backing to make it to mass production of their product. Many of the existing startups will be acquired or closed before their products ever make it to the market. Those that succeed will have balanced the needs of fast time to market with robust product development processes that ensure quality. 

Q: Where do you see Jama Software fitting in as the product development landscape evolves, and what can our customers expect as 2022 approaches? 

Adrian Rolufs, Jama Software:  

Jama Software will continue to provide the most useable requirements management, test management, and traceability solution on the market. Jama Software will provide solutions to the companies that are striking a good balance between quality and fast execution.


Thanks for tuning into our 2022 Predictions Series! To see some of the incredible products, software, and systems our customers are building with Jama Connect, visit our customer stories page.  

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Editor’s Note: This posts on autonomous vehicle development was originally published here by EE Times and written by Junko Yoshida. While this post was published in 2020, the content is still relevant to AV development in 2021.


How many safety standards does it take to screw in the lightbulb in a highly automated vehicle? A few years ago, automotive market novices would have said, “None.” These days, the number seems to keep increasing as the industry finally comes to grips with the technical challenges of producing demonstrably safe autonomous vehicles.

Driven by the winner-takes-all Internet platform business model, autonomous vehicle (AV) zealots were racing to develop the industry’s first robocar. Their goal was simple. Dominate the AV platform so completely that everyone else in the industry would be forced to follow and license.

Fast forward to 2020. The go-it-alone, my-way-or-the-highway approach is driving on fumes. In contrast to a few years ago, leading automotive OEMs, Tier Ones and tech suppliers including chip vendors are more engaged in forming industry-wide coalitions to develop AV standards that have safety considerations at their core.

Close to ten industry initiatives are in the works, seeking to address different aspects of AV safety. Prominent among them are the existing ISO 26262 and SOTIF, and the newly-published UL 4600.

So, does this mean the automotive industry is finally coming together? Perhaps.

Collaboration is a new and alien concept for participants in the auto industry. When it comes to safety standards, of course, “everyone has different opinions,” said Stefan Poledna, CTO of TTTech Auto, in a recent interview with EE Times, but “this is the general direction.”

What changed?

The industry achieved Level 2 / Level 2+ autonomy so quickly that it vastly underestimated how much more difficult it would be to take the next leap to Level 3-5 technology. It has finally dawned on the AV industry that developing a safety-related computing system for Level 3-5 autonomy is “a grand challenge that shouldn’t be addressed by a single player, but in an ecosystem,” Poledna noted.

When an L3, L4 or L5 vehicle goes the wrong way on a one-way street, it’s no longer the driver who’s responsible — it’s the carmaker. Poledna, trumpeting the obvious, said, “That’s a big deal.”

New ISO standard on horizon

Remember SaFAD (Safety First for Automated Driving)? It turns out the white paper published last July by 11 industry leaders (Aptiv, Audi, Baidu, BMW, Continental, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, HERE, Infineon, Intel and Volkswagen) is on its way to becoming a new ISO standard.

The white paper outlined “a comprehensive approach to safety relevant topics of automated driving.” The objective of the publication, the authors said, “is to systematically break down safety principles into safety by design capabilities, elements and architectures and then to summarize the verification & validation methods in order to demonstrate the positive risk balance.”

The ISO accepted that premise, allowing the industry to develop this into an ISO standard.

But what does it take to turn a “comprehensive approach” into a workable ISO standard? We asked SaFAD member Intel.

Jack Weast, Intel senior principal engineer and vice president of standards at Mobileye, explained, “First, we take the original SaFAD paper, clean it up, get rid of any color commentaries and reformat the technical meat of the document into the ISO standard.”

Simon Fürst

Looking for a faster turnaround, Simon Fürst, principal expert autonomous driving technologies at BMW Group, who heads the committee, announced in a webcast called “The Autonomous,” that his group is shooting for mid-2020 to publish its ISO Draft Technology Report (DTR) 4804.

Weast described the DTR as the first step for ISO standardization.

Several auto industry sources told us the new ISO standard might be a step in the right direction, but the caveat is that it takes years before it becomes the final standard. Further, they said that they find it too generic and too high-level to help automotive OEMs in the short term.

Intel’s Weast acknowledged the scope of the [ISO] document is “pretty broad.” But Weast defended it as “a big umbrella” covering discussions of “How would you define, derive, develop and test an automated driving system end to end.”

Noting that the document offers “a useful structure,” Weast said, “We are obviously supportive of the safety by design principles,” and the document provides “a very well-thought-out way of doing things.” Weast added, “This is why it’s great to have an ISO document, which explains, ‘hey, here’s a good methodology in doing so.’”

Stefan Poledna

‘The Autonomous’: Going one or two levels down


TTTech Auto, which specializes in safe software and hardware systems for advanced vehicles, launched the initiative called “The Autonomous” (the webcast was named after the initiative).

TTTech Auto’s CTO Poledna told EE Times that TTTechAuto is convening many players in the automotive ecosystem at its own event to “brainstorm and discuss” development of  “a proving ground” for car OEMs, Tier Ones and chip vendors to test out the safety of their AV systems. “They need to have certain exchanges amongst themselves,” he said, at a time when everyone is struggling to figure out what it takes to bring L3 and L4 cars that are safe to the market.

Poledna said that The Autonomous is fully aware of the many approaches — including different computing architecture, software algorithms and sensor fusions — pursued by different companies to ensure safety.

That’s part of the reason for launching The Autonomous. TTTech Auto contends that players in the automotive industry need solutions much more specific, more concrete and quicker on the trigger. The aim of The Autonomous is to go one or two levels downs from the upcoming ISO DTR 4804 standard, to conceive “a reference design implementation” the AV industry can use.

The goal isn’t about picking the winning black box, though.

(Source: The Autonomous)

Instead of building AVs around black boxes, carmakers would like to be able to mix and match different modules from different suppliers — safety modules, ‘checker’ modules (as in a ‘doer-checker’ model), calculation modules, etc. Assume one OEM opts for a safety module from Supplier A, which bears no resemblance, posing critical compatibility issues, to a safety module from Supplier B? Poledna argued that the AV industry must have “a common understanding of what the safety architecture would look like.” The industry should have a common approach and common understanding on “interfaces” and “data structures,” he explained.

(Source: The Autonomous)

On one hand, the ISO standard deemed too generic. On the other hand, too many players in the AV industry are already implementing different safety solutions on their own. How does The Autonomous plan to succeed as a “middle ground” solution?

Poledna said, “If we agree on ‘doer-and-checker’ as a generally acceptable safety approach, I’d consider it as a huge achievement.” Further, he noted that he’d like to see the industry come to a collegial understanding on data structure, interfaces, and a definition of free space.  The Autonomous is holding a series of workshops focused on such issues as computing architecture, AI, security and regulation. While encouraging participants to share best practices, the goal for The Autonomous group is to foster amity among key automotive players and publish documents and technical papers reflecting state-of-the-art solutions in the industry.

 


Jack Weast

Narrowly focused

If The Autonomous is clicking one or two levels down from the ISO standard, Weast said that IEEE P2846, a group that Weast chairs, is boring down farther into the details, with specific focus on “a very narrow area of decision-making capability.”

The benefit of being narrowly-focused is that “we can go much deeper,” he explained. In examining the decision-making process, “we also look at ‘what kinds of assumptions we’d make about other road users,” he said. Depending on the city where an AV is driving or on a situation (an intersection with an occluded view, for example), knowledge of the assumptions that apply in those specific cases is essential to creating a safety model for a decision-making block.

While the IEEE P2846 is focused on that decision-making block, AV safety standards in the end are likely to require close to a dozen different technical blocks for the industry to define and implement safety, Weast speculated. “We will need, for example, a safe operation block,” which could be addressed by ISO 26262 and SOTIF standards, for example. Others include a behavior and traffic block, “which maps well with what IEEE P2846 offers,” and things like a data recording block.

It is clear that “standards and interoperability are essential” to enable an ecosystem on which an entirely new market like AV can be built, Weast explained. However, he acknowledged that setting industry standards is always a balancing act. You need to create a robust market, but companies must feel free to differentiate.

Asked on what specific technologies the AV industry must come to agree, Weast said, it’s something — from different suppliers when made commonly available — that will benefit everyone and lift all boats equally.

Take, for example, IEEE P2846.

If AV companies can’t agree on what safety means (including a safe distance between cars, for example), they won’t be able to make convincing arguments to government regulators for the safety of autonomous vehicles, he explained. The same goes for operational design domains (ODD). If a common template isn’t applied to define ODD, the industry can’t explain what exactly a certain vehicle is capable of doing where, in what conditions.

Despite an epidemic that prevents many standards organization members, including IEEE P2846 members, from traveling, Weast said the group still wants to complete its draft by the end of this year or by early 2021.

To expedite the process, the group has broken the work into four subgroups. One is identifying safety-related scenarios in which there are assumptions about other road users. Another is examining the attributes of safety models used within decision making. The third group is aligning definitions and taxonomy with those used by other standards as the best possible. The fourth group is documenting how the standard fits or complements other standards, “so that we can resolve some confusion and questions” about IEEE P2846, explained Weast.

A bit of the good news on IEEE P2846 is the election, added Weast. While Weast is the chair, the group elected a person from Waymo to be the vice chair and an Uber representative as secretary. For Waymo, this is a first; until now the company has opted to go it alone.  “We now have a good representation from the chip industry, companies in the mobility as a service business, to car OEMs, Tier Ones and robotics companies,” said Weast.

Its 20 members include: Aptiv, ARM, Baidu, Denso, Exponent, Fiat Chrysler (FCA), Google, Huawei, Horizon Robotics, Infineon, Intel, Kontrol, National Taiwan University, Nvidia, NXP, Qualcomm, Uber ATG, Valeo and Volkswagen.

Safety case
Separately, earlier this month, Underwriters Laboratories has completed its first standard for Autonomous Vehicles. Called UL 4600, it is published and now available at ULstandards.com.

Phil Koopman

Instead of prescribing how to do safety by following certain steps, UL 4600 offers a guide to “build the safety case” for an AV design, according to Phil Koopman, CTO of Edge Case Research, one of the authors of the standard. Acknowledging that no single standard can solve the world’s autonomous product problem, the authors of UL 4600 have fixed a starting point by asking autonomous product designers to make a safety argument.

Koopman stressed that Underwriters Laboratories created a diverse body of international stakeholders on its Standards Technical Panel (STP) to develop the document. The STP consists of 32 members with voting rights, including representatives of government agencies, academia, autonomous vehicle developers, technology suppliers, testing & standards organizations and insurance companies. Its STP members include: Uber, Nissan, Argo AI, Aurora Innovation, Locomotion, Zenuity, Intel, Infineon, Bosch, Renesas, Ansys, Liberty Mutural, AXA, US Department of Transportation, and others.


We’ve compiled a list of helpful resources for requirements management in automotive development, click the button to learn more!

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self-drivingEditors Note: 2020 was a year we’ll never forget and 2021 is shaping up to follow suit. But amidst a sea of setbacks, companies across the globe continue to rise to the challenge and push forward with innovative product development. Teams who have the right tools and processes in place especially across distributed teams are able to improve collaboration and speed the time it takes to deliver new, innovative products.

In our spotlight series, we highlight companies who are doing extraordinary things in the product development space, and showcase the ways that their innovations are changing the world as we know it. In this post, we applaud Volkswagon and Argo AI for their plan to launch a self-driving electric taxi by 2025.

This post originally appeared on Nasdaq’s website on March 3rd, 2021.


Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY) said that it plans to launch a self-driving electric van for urban ride-hailing service in 2025.

Volkswagen said on Monday that a commercial version of its ID. Buzz, an electric minivan inspired by the iconic 1960s VW Microbus, will be the first VW vehicle to use the autonomous-driving system being developed by Pittsburgh-based Argo AI.

VW plans to launch passenger and commercial versions of the ID. Buzz in 2023.

self-driving tax

Image Courtesy of Nasdaq

VW expects to launch its self-driving urban taxi, a version of the electric ID. Buzz minivan, in 2025. Image source: Volkswagen AG.

Christian Senger, who leads the autonomous-driving team at VW’s commercial-vehicle unit, said that the plan is to develop an autonomous vehicle for ride-hailing and ridesharing services.

“The aim is to develop a ride-hailing and pooling concept similar to what MOIA offers today,” Senger said, referring to an experimental ridesharing service currently offered by VW in two German cities. “In the middle of this decade, our customers will then have the opportunity to be taken to their destination in selected cities with autonomous vehicles.”


RELATED: Watch a demonstration of the Jama Connect for Automotive Solution


Both VW and Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) are investors in Argo AI, which is widely believed to be a leader in the race to develop and deploy self-driving vehicles. VW, like Ford, invested $1 billion in the start-up and folded its existing autonomous-vehicle development team into the company.

VW didn’t say why it’s waiting until 2025 to deploy Argo AI’s technology. Ford has previously said that it will deploy an autonomous vehicle using Argo AI technology in 2022.

An Argo AI spokesperson confirmed on Monday that Ford still plans to launch its own autonomous vehicle next year.


To see more information related to the automotive development industry, we’ve compiled a handy list of valuable resources for you!

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autonomous vehicles

Editor’s Note: This post about how autonomous vehicles was originally published here on EngineerLive.com on October 6th, 2020, and was written by Jeremy Johnson, Jama Software’s Vice President of Product Management.  

Never before have so many automotive engineers been tasked with bringing increasingly complex machines to market as they have with autonomous vehicles (AVs). Not to mention, it’s not simply a game of speed – elevating only the companies which manufacture products quickly – but a matter of those organizations taking these steps, while pushing the envelope on innovation and prioritizing consumer safety.

While important advancements are being made daily to bring fully autonomous vehicles into commercial availability, we are still a ways off from seeing the Level 5 autonomy we hope for. We’ve witnessed this in the significant challenges and shortcomings reported in the news in recent years, even amongst some of the biggest names in autonomous vehicle production. There are, however, a few actions engineers can take to stay nimble, innovative, and reduce the number of safety-critical mistakes throughout the development process.

Focus on your core business: advancing technology

This is particularly important for start-ups or companies looking to apply their technology to the automotive space for the first time. If you’ve heard the saying “don’t reinvent the wheel,” it comes into play when considering what processes and procedures for meeting industry best practices must be in place. Seek a consulting or technology partner that can enable your business to continuously practice requirements, risk, and test management in alignment with market standards such as ISO 26262 and ISO/PAS 21448. By starting with a proven framework that can be applied and moulded to a particular business, engineers can focus their innovation and organizational energy on delivering new technology to customers.

This focus is noticed in how Tesla drives its business, where the organization leans more heavily into internal development to drive technology advancement and differentiation in the marketplace. Audi, which attempted to meet Level 3 autonomy with its 2019 A8, sought outside suppliers such as Aptiv, Intel, Infineon and NVIDIA– a different approach to Tesla. Although Audi ultimately pulled back stating the car was too far into the lifecycle, it was realized through properly executed business and safety procedures.


RELATED: Learn more about the Jama Connect Functional Safety Kit for Automotive Teams 


Support collaboration internally and externally

Rapid innovation requires tight collaboration, often occurring across various hardware and software teams, and increasingly with partners or traditional competitors. Whether a formal joint venture or targeted collaboration around specific technology development, this “co-competition” has become more common as companies look to drive innovation in AVs forward.

Ensuring the tools and processes to enable this collaboration are in place, and capturing the critical output that comes with it, will guarantee that R&D efforts move quickly while maintaining strong focus on verification and validation. It’s especially important engineering teams get out of their silos and work with adversaries on this front, because in the U.S. in particular, there’s no mandatory compliance enforced by the government to follow standards such as ISO 26262 or SOTIF.

There have been promising signs of collaboration by some automotive companies to exchange learned information during AV development. One example is the collaboration among Aptiv, Audi, Baidu, BMW, Continental, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Here, Infineon, Intel, and Volkswagen to develop a whitepaper, “Safety First for Automated Driving,” describing a potential framework for the development, testing, and validation of safe AVs.


RELATED: Watch a demonstration of the Jama Connect for Automotive Solution


Maintain traceability of requirements, tests, and risks

Developing complex, safety-critical systems that marry software and hardware requires a great deal of rigor and planning. Keeping track of each step of the development process with cumbersome documents and spreadsheets greatly hinders engineers’ ability to remain agile. By ensuring all of these steps are tightly managed, integrated into other product lifecycle phases and available for flexible reporting will enable organizations to innovate quickly. This also allows for prioritization of safety and compliance and the ability to rapidly adapt as the regulatory landscape continues to evolve..

Most countries do not yet have specific regulations that govern autonomous vehicles, leading to uncertainty around requirements, reporting, and future regulatory compliance.  As previously mentioned, in the U.S. there is also an absence of tightly defined regulations which means states could implement differing standards that require specific nuances in technology and regulatory compliance. There’s also basic differences in infrastructure that makes development and safety a challenge – such as variability in road surfaces, lane markings, and signage.

The key for teams in this fluid environment is to remain close to standard development and regulatory agencies, as well as supply chain partners, to define and influence these regulations. And they must be prepared to show traceability of requirements, risk, and testing information in multiple formats to support the various potential points of oversight – be it downstream customers or regulatory auditors.

Ultimately, we’re likely a decade or more away from commercial availability of a Level 5 autonomous vehicle. As we inch closer, it’s vital engineering teams take advantage of the modern systems management tools at their disposal in order to get it right now – before it’s too late.


To see more information related to the automotive development industry, we’ve compiled a handy list of valuable resources for you!

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Electric Vehicle Industry

Editors Note: 2020 is a year we’ll never forget. But amidst a sea of setbacks, companies across the globe continue to rise to the challenge and push forward with innovative product development. Teams who have the right tools and processes in place especially across distributed teams are able to improve collaboration and speed the time it takes to deliver new, innovative products.

In our spotlight series, we highlight companies who are doing extraordinary things in the product development space, and showcase the ways that their innovations are changing the world as we know it. In this post, we applaud the work that Analog Devices is doing to move the electric vehicle industry forward, reducing the environmental impact of commuters worldwide.

This post originally appeared as a press release on Analog Device’s website, www.analog.com.


Analog Devices Introduces Automotive Industry’s First Wireless Battery Management System for Electric Vehicles

Analog Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADI) today announced the industry’s first wireless battery management system (wBMS), which enables automotive manufacturers increased flexibility to scale their electric vehicle fleets into volume production across a wide range of vehicle classes. This is the first wireless battery management system available for production electric vehicles, and it will debut on General Motors’ production vehicles powered by Ultium batteries.

The implementation of ADI’s wBMS eliminates the traditional wired harness, saving up to 90% of the wiring and up to 15% of the volume in the battery pack, as well as improving design flexibility and manufacturability, without compromising range and accuracy over the life of the battery.

ADI’s wBMS includes all integrated circuits, hardware and software for power, battery management, RF communication, and system functions in a single system-level product that supports ASIL-D safety and module-level security building upon ADI’s proven industry leading BMS battery cell measurement technology. By delivering high accuracy for the lifetime of the vehicle, the system enables maximum energy use per cell required for best vehicle range and supports safe and sustainable zero-cobalt battery chemistries, such as lithium iron phosphate (LFP).


RELATED: The Top 5 Challenges in Automotive Product Development

“The transition of battery packs from wired to wireless connectivity enables automotive manufacturers to scale their electric vehicle platforms across multiple vehicle models to meet growing consumer demand,” said Patrick Morgan, Vice President, Automotive at Analog Devices. “Our wBMS solution not only simplifies manufacturing, but also allows new systems to be built on wireless data, accelerating the entire industry towards a sustainable future. We are honored to bring this breakthrough system innovation to market with General Motors.”

Additional system features enable batteries to measure and report their own performance, increasing early failure detection, and enabling optimized battery pack assembly. The data can be monitored remotely throughout the battery lifecycle – from assembly to warehouse and transport through installation, maintenance and into a second-life phase.


RELATED: Your Guide to Selecting the Right Automotive Development Platform 

ADI and General Motors recently announced a collaboration, bringing the wBMS technology to General Motors’ Ultium battery platform. The ADI technology helps ensure scalability of the Ultium platform across General Motor’s future lineup, which will encompass different brands and vehicle segments, from work trucks to performance vehicles.

“We are pleased to collaborate with ADI to take the wBMS technology to production as part of our ground-breaking Ultium battery platform,” said Kent Helfrich, Executive Director, Global Electrification and Battery Systems at General Motors. “ADI’s wBMS technology enables the more widespread electrification of our fleet, and we look forward to a continued collaboration with ADI to deliver innovation in safety, quality, and performance for the future.”


To learn more about how Jama Connect for Automotive can help your team simplify compliance, streamline development, and speed time to market, download our solution overview.

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This is a guest post from Steve Neemeh, LSS President and Chief Solutions Architect, LHP Engineering Solutions. It originally appeared on the LHP blog. LHP is a partner of Jama Software

Self-driving vehicles are coming. There’s a certain sense of inevitability. Mentions appear almost daily in the news with players such as Tesla, Uber, Google/Waymo, and Apple spending millions on development. Yet the public is uncertain of the value and safety of such vehicles.

If autonomous vehicles (AVs) are to find acceptance, the industry must produce vehicles worthy of trust. The characteristics on which trustworthiness depends, and the path for trustworthy AV development, are described below.

Figure 1- Mckinsey & Company Self-Driving Vehicle Revolution Exhibit

The Value of AVs

Just because such vehicles may be possible, is this evolution a good (or, the right) thing to do?

If implemented correctly and carefully, the move to fully-autonomous vehicles can provide real gains for society.

Highway safety – Automakers and civil engineers have made great strides in past decades in reducing highway injuries and deaths. Today’s cars include crumple zones, airbags, collapsible steering columns, and anti-lock brakes. Roadways have improved-traction surfaces, energy-absorbing barriers, and better signage and alert systems. The driver, however, remains the largest contributor to highway fatalities in the U.S. with 30% due to excessive speed, 30% from driving under the influence, and 16% attributed to distracted driving.

In the AV world, vehicles do not suffer from a human driver’s inattention, bad attitude, or inebriated operation. Instead, vehicles are under constant electronic guidance, in continual communication with the supporting infrastructure (e.g. GPS), and in a perpetual state of monitoring surrounding vehicles, obstacles, and environmental conditions. Vehicles, as a group, maintain proper positions and adequate spacing, resulting in significantly fewer injuries and deaths.

The functional safety standard ISO 26262 is a critical component of automotive development. Jama Software and LHP have teamed up to give developers an overview of the standard, and highlight its recent changes.

Read the whitepaper.

Traffic flow and roadway capacity – Highways and city streets can be expanded only so much to accommodate growing populations. AVs can make better use of available roadways.

In slow-moving traffic, human drivers tend to be selfish and jam too tightly together (“If I leave three car lengths open, everyone will pull in front of me”); yet, that space is exactly what is needed to allow more freedom to enter a freeway and to change lanes. AVs take the emotion out of driving decisions. On open, flowing highways, the safe following distance for human-operated vehicles could be reduced by a factor of five or more for AVs in close communication, thereby allowing more vehicles per mile.

Energy consumption – With communication between vehicles, the need to brake by one AV could be signaled to those nearby, allowing the group to slow as a whole and avoid the accordion effect which afflicts human-driven cars. This sort of coordinated action enables smoother transitions in speed and better energy usage.

Transport availability – Though services such as Uber and Lyft can provide door-to-door transportation for those unwilling or unable to drive, they do not always fit the situation. AVs can carry young teenagers to their destination without parents worrying about the integrity of a service driver. For people with physical limitations (blindness; health problems; physical disability), the AV can provide transport that is both familiar and appropriately outfitted to suit any special needs.

Simple convenience – The AV eliminates the need to drive. Passengers work or socialize as the vehicle moves along. Shoppers step out at the front of the store while the vehicle searches out a parking space on its own.

Public Response

Though today’s consumers recognize the potential advantages of AVs, they are still cautious. Recent surveys (in 2017 and 2019) by the American Automobile Association showed that 55% of U.S. drivers feel that most cars will have the ability to self-drive by 2029. Yet, today, over 70% fear riding in a self-driving car and 54% feel that their safety is at risk if sharing the road with AVs. In a 2017 survey, insurer AIG found that over 70% of U.S. respondents had concerns about AV security (hackers taking control of vehicles) and privacy (loss of personal data).

As with previous technological evolutions, AVs cannot be pushed on the public; instead, people must find enough comfort to accept or even demand new devices, especially when their safety is involved.

Elisha Otis installed the first passenger elevator in 1857. It was more than a decade before potential passengers exhibited significant trust even though early elevators were manually controlled by a human operator who opened and closed the doors, put the car in motion, and brought it level with the floor where people were to exit. The driverless elevator was created in 1900, yet it was the 1940’s before it started to see wide acceptance.

Trust in elevators was built slowly with the addition of various devices intended to ensure safety (springs and latches that would catch a falling elevator; interlocks on doors preventing opening onto empty shafts) and comfort (a soothing voice issuing from speakers to calm the nervous rider). 

Could collaborating with competitors boost autonomous vehicle development? Read our blog post.

Building Trust

Self-driving cars will likewise require demonstrations of safe operation, time, and familiarity to find trust and acceptance.

The process has already begun with the current rollout of driver assistance features such as lane departure warnings, adaptive headlights, and collision avoidance systems. Continued incremental steps will further enhance driver/passenger confidence in the technology’s abilities.

Another stage may be demonstration of AV performance in closed environments such as providing public transportation at airports or on a university or commercial campus.

A good user interface may also help. Studies at Intel, Stanford, and Northwestern University all suggest that trust is improved by visual or audio feedback. Passengers find more faith in the AV’s competence if the vehicle advises why it is taking specific actions (such as voice announcing that the vehicle is slowing for a pedestrian).

Unfortunately, trust is hard-won and easily lost. Two high-profile fatal accidents in 2018 involving self-driving technology raised immediate concerns in the minds of the public and governments.

Vehicles Worthy of Trust

To avoid such incidents and maintain growth in public acceptance, the makers of AVs must build systems that are worthy of trust.

This autonomous evolution is much more complex than previous technological advancements. AVs must be able to detect and respond to numerous factors including obstacles, traffic signals, and weather conditions. Humans can distinguish between a tumbleweed and a child entering the road. Humans can contend with other vehicles which might or might not be self-driving. However, autonomous systems are much better at optimizing the driving experience to vastly increase efficiency and safety. For example, the safest distance for following a vehicle is where the second one is nearly touching the bumper of the one in front of it. This level of driving accuracy cannot be achieved reliably with humans but may well be within the realm of possibility for autonomous systems. However, it is an enormous undertaking to place such responsibility and discretion into an electronic system with expectations of safe, lightning-fast, dependable decisions.

This AV trustworthiness requires holistic consideration of five characteristics:

Safety – Ensures that a system operates without unacceptable risk of physical injury or damage to the health of people.

Security – Protects a system from unintended or unauthorized access, modification, or misuse.

Reliability – The ability of a system or component to perform its required functions under stated conditions for a specified time duration.

Resilience – The ability of a system or component to maintain an acceptable level of service in the face of disruption. The main purpose of resilience is to prevent or at least reduce any serious impact of a disruption to the system by damage or loss of operation.

Privacy – Protects the right of individuals to control or influence what information related to them may be collected and stored and by whom and to whom that information may be disclosed.

Figure 2 – Industrial Internet Consortium Security Model

These elements are generally considered as separate specialties, but should be engineered and managed as one integrated discipline because, if one piece is compromised, the overall integrity and trustworthiness of the system are undermined.

Convergence, Standardization, and Legislation

Work is progressing on each of the five characteristics to varying degrees but, unfortunately, in independent silos and in somewhat disparate directions. Though initial divergence is common with new technologies, the industry must begin to converge and standardize.

The airline industry and railroad systems both have strict standards and regulatory bodies. Automated highway vehicles must reach the same level. Currently, the industry has reached no agreement on conditions, abilities, or baselines that must be in place before an autonomous/connected vehicle is placed on the road.

A Fortune 100 semiconductor company is navigating the growing complexity of autonomous vehicles with modern requirements management.

Read the story.

A start has been made. ISO 26262 (Road Vehicles – Functional Safety) defines a process that will lead to high quality (trustworthy) results IF and only IF the industry can define the boundaries and requirements to be achieved. In autonomous driving, the variables and scenarios may number in the billions and are potentially non-static if artificial intelligence is used in design.

In addition, two new standards are under development:

  • ISO 21434 (Automotive Cybersecurity) which builds on, and works in concert with, SAE J3061 (Cybersecurity Guidebook for Cyber-Physical Vehicle Systems)
  • ISO/PAS 21448 (Road Vehicles – Safety of the Intended Functionality, or SOTIF) that attempts to provide guidance on design, verification, and validation measures to avoid risks resulting from functional insufficiencies and foreseeable misuse.

If the industry cannot move itself to effective standardization, the combined action of litigation, liability, and/or government regulation will likely intervene. This has happened before. In Ralph Nader’s “Unsafe at Any Speed”, his 1965 commentary on the automotive industry’s lackadaisical approach to safety caused a public uproar which led to the passage of seatbelt laws across the U.S. For AVs, a lack of convergence and standardization could likewise lead to design by legislation.

Figure 3 – The convergence of safety and security standards

Ecosystem for Trustworthy AV Development

LHP Engineering Solutions provides expertise to the automotive industry on topics including embedded controls, telematics, and data analytics. LHP has defined an ecosystem consisting of seven necessary focus areas that, if pursued together, will place the development of autonomous vehicle technologies on the right track regarding safety, standardization, and automation.

AUTOSAR (AUTomotive Open System ARchitecture) – Founded in 2003, AUTOSAR is a “worldwide development partnership of vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, service providers and companies from the automotive electronics, semiconductor and software industry.” The association aims to standardize the software architecture for automotive electronic control units. This creates the opportunity to automate software testing which should result in improved software quality and reliability.

Functional Safety – Safety in autonomous driving is of the utmost importance and is key to trustworthiness. Functional Safety relates to a system or its components operating correctly in response to inputs, including the detection, mitigation, and/or correction of malfunctions.

Cybersecurity – Trustworthiness cannot be realized without a strong foundation in cyber security. Though systems may be designed for safety, resilience, and reliability, the public may experience havoc and hazards if those systems are compromised by a malicious series of attacks. Cyber security provides the basis for assuring the integrity of the safety, reliability, resilience, and privacy characteristics of automotive systems.

Model-Based Development – Simulation of on-road vehicles scenarios is essential to validation of self-driving vehicles. Developing software to simulate real-life environments allows testing to be done on the computer rather than on the road.

Application Lifecycle Management – ALM encompasses the methods and processes through which software is developed, managed, and controlled. A well-defined ALM system ensures that the development team is efficiently working toward a common goal and that the end user receives software suited for the purpose intended.

Test Systems – With millions of lines of code in AVs, establishment of automated testing systems and processes will be crucial considering the safety-critical environment.

Analytics – Vehicles communicating with each other and back to the design team will produce large amounts of data. Analytics incorporates the storage and interpretation of data and identification of consequential patterns.

Summary

Mankind can gain value from AVs, but only if the public perceives that the benefits outweigh the costs and potential hazards. Trust will be central to public acceptance.

To gain that trust, the industry must understand the characteristics of trustworthiness and should align on an ecosystem that can produce vehicles worthy of trust.

Please contact LHP Engineering Solutions, a Jama Software partner, for more information on how it can help your organization prepare for the future of the automotive industry.

ISO 26262 is an evolving standard for automotive development. Read how recent changes to the standard impact traceability, risk management, validation & verification in this joint white paper from Jama Software and LHP, “The Impact of ISO 26262 on Automotive Development.”

Autonomous Vehicles

Automakers continue to look toward the bright future of autonomous vehicles, but some are perhaps rightfully prioritizing safety over expediency.

GM originally planned to roll out thousands of self-driving electric cars this year through its subsidiary Cruise Automation. Those plans have been pushed out, however, as the company pursues further testing.

And while autonomous vehicle developers continue to put functional safety at the forefront of development, major players are also acknowledging that the public’s perception of the safety of driverless vehicles is critical. Recently, Waymo and AAA partnered to educate young people on the safety advantages of self-driving technology through its “Let’s Talk Self-Driving” program.

Meanwhile, ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft continue to gradually roll out test vehicles in certain markets. Uber plans to begin testing self-driving cars in Dallas, Texas, in early November 2019, and Waymo intends to make up to ten Chrysler Pacifica self-driving cars available to Lyft users in Phoenix, Arizona.

One exception in the shift in the autonomous vehicle marketplace is Tesla. CEO Elon Musk continues to predict the arrival of full Level 5 automation by the end of 2020, but he’s never been one to fear going out on a limb.

Learn how Jama Software worked with TÜV SÜD on our ISO 26262 certification process, and how you can lower the costs and risks of complying with functional safety standards, by watching our webinar.

Autonomous Vehicle Technology Moving Freight

With 71% of US freight moved by truck and a persistent shortage of drivers, many in the trucking industry look forward to at least Level 2 and Level 3 technology improvements. Many Level 2 and Level 3 technologies simply improve features such as automated braking and lane guidance.

Increased automation could also mean greater efficiency. Truck drivers might be able to operate trucks for a longer period of time, and trucking companies can eventually save fuel and driver costs by “platooning” autonomous trucks

While questions still abound regarding the potential for autonomous vehicle technology impacting the job market for truck drivers, many in the industry welcome the coming automation. With a predicted driver shortage of up to 175,000 drivers by 2026, autonomous vehicle technology could help take the pressure off of a short-staffed industry.

Currently, Daimler, Tesla, and Volvo all have AV trucks and prototypes in development.

Learn more about ISO 26262 and automotive electronics development.

Other Applications of Autonomous Vehicle Technology

Even if fully automated, Level 5 autonomous vehicles are still some time away from deployment across the general population, autonomous vehicle technology is still advancing on a smaller scale.

Refraction AI, a Michigan start-up, aims to make food delivery services automatic with its three-wheeled REV-1 vehicle. The 4-foot tall, 32-inch wide robot is designed to operate in a bike lane at maximum speeds of about 12 mph.

Another startup, Starship Technologies, recently announced plans to expand its autonomous delivery service for food and groceries to 100 college campuses over the next two years.

Private sites show great promise for the growth of the autonomous vehicle industry. Planned communities, university campuses, and industrial and government sites have significant advantages for autonomous vehicle technology. The sites are smaller and easier to map and offer lower traffic densities and speed limits, making autonomous vehicle technology inherently safer.

Read our white paper about how one Fortune 100 semiconductor company is meeting the challenges of autonomous vehicle software safety with a compliance-ready solution that streamlines the development of products that adhere to relevant functional safety standards. Download: “Driving Compliance with Functional Safety Standards.”

 

Until fairly recently, you might not have considered vehicles to be major cybersecurity targets. But with the rise in connected and autonomous cars, hackers and other cyber criminals can break into the systems that run these vehicles and wreak havoc.

“With all of the connectivity available comes cyber risk,” says Faye Francy, executive director of the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto-ISAC), an industry-driven community to share and analyze intelligence about emerging cybersecurity risks to vehicles.

Technology has a long tradition of racing ahead of oversight, and the automotive industry is still catching up to the speed of change. Updates to the ISO 26262 functional safety standard were recently made in December 2018 and touch on cybersecurity, but expect to see more emphasis on this topic in the future. That’ll be especially true as automotive connectivity and complexity escalates, and the development of autonomous vehicles (addressed by another safety standard, ISO/PAS 21448, or Safety Of The Intended Functionality (SOTIF), which has incidentally sparked its own upcoming conference in Germany) progresses.

As an additional resource, Auto-ISAC aims to enhance vehicle cybersecurity capabilities across the global automotive industry, including light- and heavy-duty vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers and the commercial vehicle sector.

“The Auto-ISAC is the go-to organization that facilitates cybersecurity resiliency for the global automotive industry,” Francy says. Automakers worldwide joined together in 2015 to form the nonprofit community to address growing vehicle cybersecurity risks.

A Shared Responsibility

The focus of Auto-ISAC is to foster collaboration for mitigating the risks of cyber attacks and to create a safe, efficient, secure and resilient global connected vehicle ecosystem,” Francy says. Members use a secure intelligence-sharing portal to anonymously share information that helps them more effectively respond to cyber threats, vulnerabilities and incidents.

The 49 members includes all major automakers across North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as suppliers to the heavy-duty trucking and commercial vehicle sector. In 2017, the Auto-ISAC established a Strategic Partnership Program to enable ongoing coordination with key stakeholders including partners, government regulatory agencies and law enforcement.

One of the key accomplishments of the Auto-ISAC is its Best Practices initiative, which focuses on developing guidelines organizations can use to advance their vehicle cybersecurity programs, Francy says. The members conceive, write and develop Best Practice guides that are in various stages of review.

The guides cover organizational and technical aspects of vehicle cybersecurity including incident response, collaboration and engagement with third parties, governance, risk management, security by design, threat detection and protection, and training and awareness.

“These guides are released to the community to help the automotive industry stakeholders mature,” Francy says. Currently there are three guides available to the public on the Auto-ISAC Web site: Incident Response, Third Party Collaboration, and Engagement and Governance.

Evolving Recommendations

The digital age has introduced connected, advanced automotive capabilities for consumers, such as driver assist, navigation and hands-free calling. But this also introduces the possibility of risk such as hacker attacks.

“We have moved from a more physical analog attack surface to a digital, networked environment,” Francy says. “This provides different opportunities for the bad actors, due to the increase in innovative technologies and the interconnectedness” of the ecosystem.

Fortunately, the industry has taken a number of actions to identify and thwart cyber threats, including implementing security features in every stage of the design and manufacturing process, collaborating with public and private research groups to share solutions, and participating in multiple cyber forums on emerging issues. There is, of course, much more work to be done.

Automotive companies can learn from the Auto-ISAC leadership as it builds and leads a community of best practices, Francy says. The organization conducts an annual tabletop exercise, quarterly workshops and monthly analyst calls with members. It also leads virtual, monthly community calls and runs an annual Vehicle Cybersecurity Summit.

Auto-ISAC partnership programs “are developed to cultivate relationships beyond our membership, with the common goal to enhance vehicle cybersecurity and develop a vibrant and robust information-sharing community,” Francy says.

Learn how a Fortune 100 semiconductor company is meeting the challenges of functional safety standards for its automotive-related technology with Jama Connect by downloading our paper.

Author Bob Violino is a freelance writer who covers a variety of technology and business topics. Follow him on Twitter.

Caption: Hyundai MOBIS showcases its latest infotainment and cockpit experience at CES 2019. Photo courtesy of Hyundai MOBIS.

Autonomous vehicles and related technologies were once again in the spotlight at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Here’s a roundup of some of the more notable announcements.

Nvidia and Mercedes-Benz Collaborate on Next-Gen Vehicles

Chipmaker Nvidia announced that Mercedes-Benz has selected the company to help realize its vision for next-generation vehicles.

In front of a crowd at CES, Sajjad Khan, Mercedes-Benz executive vice president, and Jensen Huang, Nvidia founder and CEO, outlined their plans for next-generation cars supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and the new breed of mobility products they will enable.

Nvidia is “creating a computer that defines the future of autonomous vehicles, the future of AI and the future of mobility,” Huang said at CES. The system will provide self-driving capabilities and smart-cockpit functions that will replace dozens of smaller processors inside current cars.

The partnership between the companies builds on a long-term collaboration. At CES 2018, the pair unveiled the cockpit of the future, Mercedes-Benz User Experience, which “infuses AI into everyday driving.” The feature is now included in seven car models and nine more are being added this year.

Hyundai MOBIS Introduces New Autonomous Driving Technologies

Automotive supplier Hyundai MOBIS introduced several new autonomous driving, eco-friendly, intelligent lighting, and infotainment and cockpit experience technologies.

Among the new innovations from the company are Virtual Touch Technology, interior infotainment controls capable of recognizing a driver’s gestures in the air instead of requiring a touch-screen. For example, in one given scenario, a driver could watch a movie on autonomous driving mode and use tap gestures in the air to select other movies or adjust the volume.

Another feature is Emotional Recognition Technology, an AI platform that automatically categorizes a driver’s or passenger’s emotions and alters the interior ambiance of the vehicle accordingly, catering to various moods while sharing the emotions of drivers or passengers in nearby vehicles also equipped with the same technology. The company says this can help avoid potential accidents among disengaged or distracted drivers.

In other lighting news, Hyundai MOBIS showcased its latest Communication Lighting concept. Communication Lighting uses an “Indicating Lighting Zone” to indicate when an autonomous vehicle is operating in self-driving mode. It includes a Communication Lighting Zone that uses LED, digital boards, headlamp projection and sound to communicate with nearby pedestrians and vehicles during a variety of driving scenarios. The company says it’s developing the concept to reduce the number of accidents related to use of autonomous vehicles.

Lastly, Hyundai MOBIS unveiled Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology that generates electricity by combining hydrogen injected with fuel and oxygen, to power a vehicle that emits only pure water.

Udelv Unveils Latest Self-Driving Delivery Van

Udelv introduced the latest model of its Newton self-driving delivery vans and announced strategic partnerships with Walmart, Baidu, Marubeni and others.

The newest model of Newton is an advanced autonomous delivery van (ADV) that is the result of close collaboration between Udelv and Baidu, which also released its latest open autonomous driving platform at CES, Apollo 3.5.

Udelv says it will continue to leverage future versions of the Apollo platform modules to create its own autonomous driving algorithms for a variety of delivery applications. Already, Udelv’s first generation ADV model has successfully completed more than 1,200 deliveries in the San Francisco Bay Area for multiple clients, according to the company.

Daimler Rolls Out Enhanced Automated Truck

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced what it says is the first SAE Level 2 automated truck in series production in North America. Level 2 automation means the truck can perform lateral (steering) as well as longitudinal (acceleration/deceleration) control.

Automating acceleration, deceleration and steering reduces the likelihood of human error and collisions, the company says. The new technology in the trucks can also enhance driver experience by making the task of driving easier, and thereby improving comfort, DTNA says.

The company’s expertise in automation is backed by affiliate Daimler Trucks, which announced at CES that it’s investing more than half a billion dollars and creating more than 200 new jobs in its global effort to put highly automated trucks — those at SAE Level 4 — on the road within a decade.

Author Bob Violino is a freelance writer who covers a variety of technology and business topics. Follow him on Twitter.

Rendering of the experimental X-59 QueSST, courtesy NASA.

It was a mind-bending year for some of the most innovative companies on the planet. From relentless advances in autonomous driving to Starman orbiting Mars to getting a firmer handle on the future of agriculture, there were some dizzyingly inspirational moments in 2018.

To recap the busy year, we compiled a far-from-comprehensive list of some of the most notable moments from product development teams that are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and solving problems that will improve the quality of life for millions…sometimes with help from Jama.

Lyft demonstrating its driverless technology, powered by partner Aptiv, at CES 2018.

Tesla, Waymo, Lyft and Panasonic take differing data strategies to advance autonomous driving

Human drivers have plenty of information about how other drivers behave on the road, and driverless cars need that data too. Tesla and Waymo, which started life as Google’s self-driving car project, are at the forefront of this effort to collect and process enough data to develop a reliable autonomous vehicle.

The two companies are taking very different approaches to the challenge, reported The Verge in April: Tesla, leveraging the hundreds of thousands of cars it already has on the road, is collecting real-world data about how vehicles perform with its current semi-autonomous system, Autopilot. Waymo, meanwhile, is using robust computer simulations to drive the development of a small real-world fleet of autonomous cars.

Elsewhere, in a decisive step in the direction of self-driving cars, Jama customer Lyft acquired London-based augmented reality (AR) startup Blue Vision Labs. Blue Vision has developed a way of using street-level imagery to build “collaborative, interactive reality layers” using images captured by smartphone cameras, reports TechCrunch. This technology is crucial to Lyft’s vision for autonomous vehicles, which was on display earlier this year at CES 2018 (pictured above). Both Lyft and arch-competitor Uber are expected to file IPOs in the first half of 2019.

Not to be left out, Panasonic North America announced in August that it was developing a cloud-based data platform called C-V2X (V2X stands for “vehicles to everything”) that pushes traffic information out to users, such as the Colorado Department of Transportation — which we interviewed earlier this year. Cars with C-V2X technology, according to The Denver Post, send out signals 10 times a second to roadside sensors, conveying information about speed and direction from internal sensors such as breaks and airbags. Transportation workers can use Panasonic’s data platform to monitor the road grid and spot problems before they snowball. The system can also deliver customized, time-sensitive messages directly into equipped vehicles.

NVIDIA digs deeper into autonomous driving

During his January keynote at CES 2018, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang spoke about the importance of traceability in developing functional safety systems for the autonomous car market. With what Huang calls an “extraordinarily complex” development process, traceability is crucial to achieving safety and functionality. That way, Huang says, “If something were to happen, we could trace it all the way back to its source to improve and mitigate risk in the future.” We may not be used to thinking about traceability as a central concern for semiconductor companies like NVIDIA, but Huang’s keynote reminds us that, as product development grows increasingly complex, traceability is relevant for everyone.

In November, self-driving car startup Optimus Ride announced that it had selected NVIDIA’s Drive AGX Xavier as its development platform of choice for autonomous vehicles. A purpose-built platform for developing autonomous driving systems, Xavier is an open, scalable software/hardware solution designed to streamline development and production for companies working on driverless cars. Optimus Ride founder and CEO Ryan Chin says the company will use Xavier to create Level 4 autonomous vehicles, meaning the cars will operate in specific conditions and locations with limited human oversight and input. (In other words, yes, you can take a nap – as long as the car is on normal, mapped roads.)

Also in November, NVIDIA announced three new deals with Chinese electric car companies to develop technology for autonomous vehicles. These companies – Xpeng Motors, Singulato Motors and SF Motors – join other customers of Nvidia’s Xavier platform, including Uber, Volkswagen, Mercedes and Audi. Xpeng will begin building Level 3 autonomous capabilities into vehicles in 2020. A vehicle with Level 3 autonomy can drive by itself, but the driver must stay alert and ready to take control. Singulato and Volvo – yet another Xavier customer – are also planning to release Level 4 cars in the next two years.

Innovative aerospace company makes history

In June, Lockheed Martin and NASA — a Jama Connect customer — announced they were building an experimental supersonic plane designed to shed the deafening sonic booms normally associated with super-fast airplanes. Peter Coen, project manager for NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology Project, described the X-59 QueSST as “a research aircraft flown by a single pilot” in a statement sent to Newsweek. The X-59 QueSST isn’t designed for commercial use, but as a research craft, Coen hopes it will “open the door a to future generation of quiet supersonic travel.” The X-59 QueSST is set to hit the skies in late 2022.

In February, aanother customer of Jama Connect made history by launching the world’s most powerful operational rocket. The successful launch set the stage for faster, cheaper launches of national security satellites and other cargo.

Sowing the future of agriculture around the world with tech

Agricultural technology (agri-tech) is booming in Africa, with investments in agri-tech startups surging by 110% since 2016, according to Forbes. In fact, there were more than 80 agri-tech startups operating in Africa at the beginning of 2018, says Forbes, and over half of those were launched in the last two years.

The reasons for the boom were summed up by Tom Jackson, cofounder of Disrupt Africa: “Everyone knows how important the agricultural sector is across Africa, but until very recently it remained relatively untouched by tech innovators,” he told Forbes. “That is suddenly changing as entrepreneurs and investors realize the scale of the challenges facing farmers, and spot opportunities to reach huge addressable markets.” Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana are the current leaders in the agri-tech market.

And speaking of agriculture: By the year 2050, according to a Duke University researcher, we will need to double our current food production to feed the estimated 9.6 billion people on Earth. Part of the answer lies in “precision agriculture,” which involves integrating technology and farming to maximize production, increase efficiency and minimize waste.

For instance, drones are being developed that are equipped with sophisticated sensors can be flown over thousands of acres to gather data on pest damage, crop stress, yield and other factors. Farmers can use drone-captured images to monitor what’s going on and make adjustments where necessary. Some drones can even plant and water crops, while others help farmers determine how much pesticide or fertilizer is needed.

The Apple Watch Series 4 boasts improved fitness and health capabilities. Image courtesy Apple.

Apple, startups prove wearable medical device market extremely healthy

Wearable health-tracking devices have soared in popularity over the last decade as fitness enthusiasts look to quantify their exercise and health goals. But the technology is also finding a welcome home in the medical community, where patients with chronic conditions can use it to monitor their day-to-day health. As we reported in March, MIT spinoff Empatica’s smart watch, The Embrace, was granted FDA clearance to detect the most severe kinds of seizures for patients with epilepsy, while tracking the frequency and duration of the seizures. In fact, Empatica was able to get the product off the ground thanks to a 2015 Indiegogo campaign that raised $800,000, more than 500% of its funding goal.

On a similar note, the Apple Watch 4 released in September was cleared as a Class II medical device by the FDA. As Forbes reports, the watch offers fall detection and three new heart monitoring capabilities: low heart rate alert, heart rhythm detection and a personal electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor. Apple COO Jeff Williams stressed the watch’s potential as a health “guardian,” and noted that Apple Watch 4 is the first ECG product offered over-the-counter directly to customers.

Other wearable medical devices to hit the market this year, per Internet of Business, include sensors for monitoring recovery in stroke patients. Coordinating care for patients recovering from strokes is complex and daunting, and has traditionally required equipment that comes with a tangle of wires – making it tough for patients to resume daily activity and be at home. Northwestern University has developed stretchable, comfortable sensors that are subtle and noninvasive. These wearables give both doctors and patient precise data about all parts of the body without cumbersome wires.

IIoT leveraged for disaster prevention

Companies pioneering Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) infrastructure are developing ways to prevent industrial disasters through automation, reports PC Magazine. IIoT platforms offer real-time embedded systems, virtualization and AI designed to save lives – and billions of dollars in disaster damage. With these platforms, plant owners and operators can react more quickly in emergencies, thereby protecting the safety of their employees, the surrounding population and the planet.

Ultimately, says Jim Douglas, president and CEO of Wind River, told PC Magazine that IIoT technology is leading us toward automation: “The next wave is machines that are either fully autonomous or partially autonomous…you can have people be more focused on higher-level tasks and let the robots do the lower-level tasks.”

To learn more about how Jama helps organizations thrive in critical product markets by reducing risk and providing a single source of truth, download Frost & Sullivan’s recent executive brief,“Safeguarding Regulated Products Amidst Growing Complexity.”