With the need to curb traffic accidents and the rise of greater urbanization, AVs (autonomous vehicles) and EVs (electric vehicles) represent the future of automotive. However, a few real hurdles still stand in the way. Chief among those hurdles is the safety and security of the vehicles.

The growth for the global autonomous vehicle market is pretty steady—and is projected to grow further at a rate of 23.2% between 2020 and 2027, with AlltheResearch placing the value at $20.8 billion in 2020 and it is expected to reach $89.6 billion by 2027.

Still, many companies are making progress with automotive safety. Consider one of the most recent examples—announced today. RTI (Real-Time Innovations) announced at the RTI Automotive Forum that foundational components of RTI Connext Drive are now certified to ISO 26262 ASIL (Automotive Safety Integrity Level) D.

Part of an expansive automotive ecosystem, Connext Drive is integrated with the majority of automotive operating systems, technologies, and platforms—including AUTOSAR and ROS 2—providing architects and system engineers with flexibility in developing their full stack solution. Unlike legacy electrical/electronic architectural approaches designed for static vehicle software, Connext Drive employs an agile data-centric integration paradigm, which allows architects to decompose systems software into fine-grained and loosely coupled “microservices.” Okay, I will try to avoid going into the car weeds with this discussion.

The point here, these services only need knowledge of the types of data they exchange, not of the implementation or even presence of any other service. Therefore, developers can add and update services to introduce new capabilities without having to modify or even re-certify any other software components.

Software-defined capabilities are a fundamental differentiator in autonomous and electric vehicles. To remain competitive, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) must continually innovate, and software development agility is essential. However, it can be thwarted by automotive software’s exploding volume and complexity. The need for safety assurance further compounds this challenge.

Enter ASIL, a key component of ISO 26262, which is a functional safety standard used in the automotive industry. ASIL is used to measure the risk of a specific system component and is determined by three factors—severity, exposure, and controllability. The more complex the system, the greater the risk of systematic failures and random hardware failures, and thus the need for safety standards.

ASIL D certification provides OEMs with even more assurance of safety-critical applications, including autonomous driving and ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems). Such is the case now with Connext Drive, which accelerates innovation by allowing OEMs to evolve their autonomy applications quickly and cost effectively. With today’s announcement, Connext Drive now supports QNX OS for Safety to ISO 26262 ASIL D.

This is simply one example of how we are making strides toward greater safety in our vehicles. Looking at another recent example, a unique new dataset could address this hurdle by greatly improving the algorithms AVs use to interpret and understand their surroundings. The open dataset from Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, called Reeds, is now available to researchers and specialists around the world to help boost the development of self-driving vehicles worldwide.

Continuing to look abroad, ResearchandMarkets suggests China and South Korea are both leading in the in the Asia Pacific region as well. For example, South Korea invested $1 billion in autonomous vehicle technology with a focus on technology and infrastructure development. Companies such as Hyundai and Samsung allow South Korea to implement vehicles more seamlessly with autonomous capabilities. South Korea also desires to achieve the commercialization of level 4 autonomous vehicles by 2027.

We are beginning to make some progress here in the states as well. For instance, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan, was announced early this year and defines three goals to achieve the vision for ADS (automated driving systems) including: promoting collaboration and transparency; modernizing the regulatory environment; and preparing the transportation system. The recent Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—which I detail in depth over on Constructech—might also provide some of the funds needed to build the infrastructure to create a safer transportation system for all.

We are still very much in the early days of AVs and have a lot more work to do in the days ahead. However, the good news is that industry is making amazingly swift progress in recent years—compared to the past. And let me be clear, the future is bright as any companies are collaborating to ensure it is safe for all. Here’s to a safer future on our roads, as we build a better tomorrow for everyone.

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