RoboK enables cars to ‘see’ & ‘understand’ in Siemens’ virtual driving testing & validation environment

05 August 2020

Siemens partners with RoboK to build new 3D perception systems_580x280
Siemens partners with RoboK to build new 3D perception systems_580x280

RoboK’s 3D sensing & perception software supports development & testing of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) for mass market.

Most traffic accidents are due to human error, but the cost and complexity of developing next-generation advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) means they are often unavailable on lower-cost vehicles. To make these safety systems more affordable, RoboK, a VC-backed University of Cambridge spinout, is collaborating with Siemens Digital Industries Software to create a virtual environment for developing, testing and validating advanced driving systems.

Hao Zheng is co-founder & CEO of RoboK, which is using disruptive new techniques in computer vision and deep-learning to build optimised 3D sensing and perception software solutions for low-power computing platforms. In short, it is enabling cars to ‘see’ and ‘understand’ the implications of changes to their environment.

Hao comments: “Advanced driving features, which range from collision avoidance and automatic lane-keeping through to fully automated driving, require miles of road test driving to ensure their safety.

Although simulation provides a resource-efficient alternative it can be time-consuming. To accurately and realistically simulate all elements in the entire system, it can take many hours to run and process even a single driving scenario.

With the proprietary software developed by our team, which can run on general-purpose and low-power computing platforms, we can shorten the processing time from hours to seconds, drastically improving the efficiency of system-level validation and testing.

We have reduced the computation time by developing a significant new method for fusing raw data directly from a range of sensors, such as cameras, radars, GPS and IMU, as well as for performing depth estimation to gain 3D information, all running on low-power computing platforms. This significantly reduces the memory and computing requirement. When this is combined with our novel and highly optimised AI-based perception modules, intelligent insights can be gained rapidly and efficiently, which is vital for fast decision-making.

RoboK is a spin-out from the University of Cambridge Department of Computer Science & Technology funded by strategic investors, including AI Seed, Amadeus Capital Partners, Martlet, u-blox AG and Cambridge Enterprise.

The company has a number of industry partners and has been selected by Siemens Digital Industries Software to create a closed-loop simulation that is capable of testing an entire vehicle with an unlimited number of complex driving simulations.

RoboK_Sensor fusion_Testing the limits of automated vehicle safety_580x280
RoboK_Sensor fusion_Testing the limits of automated vehicle safety_580x280

To demonstrate the capabilities of the system – which is built upon PAVE360, a pre-silicon autonomous validation environment – RoboK’s 3D perception module has been used to develop a digital twin demonstration of an autonomous emergency braking system.

David Fritz, Senior Director for Autonomous & ADAS at Siemens Digital Industries Software has been working closely with Liangchuan Gu, co-founder & VP of Engineering for RoboK. David comments: “RoboK’s novel 3D perception algorithms perform sensor fusion, enabling the virtual vehicle to ‘see’ its environment. The algorithms can process data in real-time on the virtual platform. With this validation platform, AV and ADAS designers can make sure that every software or hardware design iteration can be tested and validated virtually, quickly, and, most importantly, before any hardware is produced.

RoboK’s perception module delivers speed and efficiency to the virtual platform, enabling developers of advanced driving functions to test and update software and hardware designs for planning and action modules within a holistic environment. By reducing the time, cost and power-requirement, these solutions will then be more accessible for mass-market vehicles.

About RoboK

RoboK develops highly optimised 3D sensing and perception software solutions for advanced driving and industrial applications.

RoboK’s AI-based perception algorithms are optimised for low-power computing platforms. Its growing R&D team of computer vision and deep-learning specialists deliver cost-effective solutions in perception, localization and navigation.

The company is a VC-backed University of Cambridge spinout and was founded in 2017.

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