Welcome back to the continuation of our podcast series focused on the Transportation and Mobility (T&M) industry and how this industry is taking on the challenges of designing vehicles of the future.
In this episode, Dassault Systèmes’ very own Robert Solomon shares with us what he sees as the main trends and big challenges when it comes to designing and support of autonomous vehicles and Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)
This is a commercial-driven business and changing the way automotive OEM’s are having to readjust their organization for delivery. – Robert Solomon
Enjoy the podcast with Robert!
3D Design and Engineering
Autonomous Vehicle Talk
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Matthew Hall 0:01
Hi, welcome to the Dassault Systèmes podcast, 3D Design and Engineering. Today’s episode is being recorded at the 2019 Autonomous Vehicle Tech Expo in Novi, Michigan, just northwest of Detroit. This year’s show is packed and visitors are enjoying and being wowed with the latest product launches and innovations from over 100 exhibitors. I’m your host Matthew Hall and joining us today I’ve managed to grab some time today to speak with a colleague of mine, Robert Solomon, Robert is responsible for SIMULIA strategy for Computer Aided Engineering simulation with a focus on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, also known as ADAS. Robert, thanks for joining us today.
Robert Solomon 0:39
Matthew Hall 0:40
So, Robert, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you? What’s your background a little bit?
Robert Solomon 0:45
Well, I’ve been in CAD CAE business for over 35 years, mostly on the R&D side, developing solutions together with customers. At this point in my career, I’m working with Dassault Systèmes, SIMULIA and developing strategies together with customers to deliver value for the advanced ADAS and Autonomous Vehicle Simulation area.
Matthew Hall 1:15
Robert, from your perspective, with your role that you’ve described, what are the latest industry trends and advancements from your perspective that you see that are the major challenge to today’s Transportation Mobility industry?
Robert Solomon 1:30
Oh, it’s unprecedented what we see today in the area of support for autonomous vehicle and advanced ADAS. Whereas in the past government would be pushing for certifying for crash and also for emissions control – that was driving the OEM’s. Whereas now we see a customer interest for autonomous vehicles and advanced ADAS. And that has created this dramatic change in the way OEM’s are now investing billions of dollars in long-term solutions for advancing their technology in this area.
Matthew Hall 2:16
So in the past, and based on that you’ve seen more like, directive coming from the government on your regulations and what or whatever it may be, versus today, we are seeing customers coming in more to the design?
Robert Solomon 2:27
Right. This is a commercial-driven business – very obvious. And it’s changing the way the automotive OEM’s are having to readjust their organizations and their direction for delivery. And it isn’t something that’s going to change rapidly because their investments are so large, it’s a definite long-term investment program.
Matthew Hall 2:51
It sounds like there’s a lot of challenges in the industry today. But how are these companies picking and choosing? What are what are the high priority challenges that today’s innovators are facing?
Robert Solomon 3:03
So one of the problems that they face is that our roads, and our signals, our intersections and way that we put navigation signs and lines on the road are all staying the same. And they have to use all of that rather older technology to advance to where a car can drive automatically or stop and behave properly. And this is a big challenge together with the whole effort of managing weather affects. What about a simple thing like animals running across the road? Is that a cat of somebody that or is that a child or is that something that you just shouldn’t worry about? All these decision making processes that we make as an individual, every day system will make it rapidly, quickly – and therefore the response for the vehicle is is is very dramatic and recovery of the vehicle response is also now part of the system response. It it starts to be very aggressive engineering effort to include all these behaviors that are not in the control of the engineer, but outside influences that he has to deal with, in developing up a complete solutions.
Robert Solomon 4:37
We see all of that being stepped through and what we would like to hope is a very formal process of validation and going into certification up to Level Five. And quite honestly that’s going to be a marathon effort versus something that’s going to be a quick sprint to deliver a solution.
Matthew Hall 5:02
The computers are making powerful decisions. But I’m just kind of curious: how are ethics being designed into some of these decision processes that are being made? I mean, if you if you have a ball on the road, coming across the road, there’s a kid there or the car sees a deer at the same time, you know which way – how does the car decide to swerve or what?
Robert Solomon 5:27
And that’s absolutely what is the problem, because flocks of birds are a big problem, a rabbit… When you see cars in the news, like car stop for a rabbit on the road, which will create problems for the vehicles behind them. And this is just part of what we’re going to have to deal with in the development of technology. And how many sensors do you put up and how do you try to resolve what that that thing is? And it’s certainly a challenge for every part of this system to understand what they should do.
Matthew Hall 6:04
For resolution. I’ve heard cars talking more and more to other cars. So do you see that coming into play?
Robert Solomon 6:14
Oh, absolutely part of what they will have to deliver in the systems is that they have a way to monitor what’s going on before they drive into it. So there’s going to be a lot of database operations where the cars will connect automatically and understand where there’s problems already, and where some other cars and maybe run into that same problem. So we also have a whole eco environment that will be coming for data management to manage the environment that we drive into eventually.
Matthew Hall 6:49
Who is advancing fastest, Robert? Is it the traditional, well-established OEM’s with the history, background tools and resources at their disposal? Or do you see it being more the new startup innovators who have no legacy and are starting fresh?
Robert Solomon 7:07
That’s a complicated question. But the answer from me is that the young startups definitely have moved forward fast. And typically they have to because they’re trying to reassure their investors that they have a product that has value. And quite honestly, we also give them a break because they are startups; we like the underdogs. And so we let them run ahead and they look like they’re way ahead. But we’re just starting the whole process. Meanwhile, the automotive OEM’s have recognized the need for them which makes change in their organization. So they’ve created new organizations and they tried to let them evolve as startups so that they can move faster in this area; give them the freedom of new operating conditions and and that has delivered a lot of value. That’s management’s side of things.
What we also recognize is that all the automotive OEM’s are where they’re starting today in this process they would in five years from now never start there again, probably. Their technology will advance and stabilize and processes will advance. And eventually, to get the Level Five, which is full autonomy mode, I think that everybody is going to be in the game – automotive OEMs are right there with it. And showing value will not be relegated to just the startups, but also the OEM’s are quickly making moves.
Matthew Hall 8:45
You mentioned Level Five in today’s Transportation & Mobility or T&M industry. What level do you think we’re at today?
Robert Solomon 8:52
Today, I think we’re Level Two with a little bit of Three with the autonomous mode coming into play
Matthew Hall 8:58
And for our listeners, and myself what are Levels Two and Three.
Robert Solomon 9:02
Level Two is what you would normally relate to today with getting your car and it knows to maintain distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Also, if you start to have lane control where it starts to give you a steering feedback, then that’s Level Two. And it’s giving you that feedback; it’ll slam on the brakes automatically if you get too close, and somebody tries to turn into that parking lot in front of you. You know, they’re going to make it but the car doesn’t. So it’ll slam on the brakes a little bit more aggressively sometimes and you’re expecting.
Level Three is where you just add on autonomous mode. And you see that with many cars today where you can just let it get you from point A to point B. You have to maintain control the car so that it will click out of autonomous mode at any given moment, such as it starts to rain – it’ll sense that or you’re in an area where the road is just not able to support autonomous mode. That’s why you have to have your hands on the steering wheel because the system will jump out. And you have to maintain control of the vehicle. Level Three continues with more control all the way. And then Level Four and Five is where you start getting the full autonomous mode.
Matthew Hall 10:21
How many more years to Level Five?
Robert Solomon 10:25
I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see how we can get there. And so what I’m expecting is that, every year, you’ll see big improvements. You’ll see people be more accustomed to this autonomous mode, trusting it more. And also, there’s all those other businesses that are being developed to support a autonomous mode with automated driving, delivery services and everything else. So I think it’s, it’s just a marathon. It’s not like we get there, all of a sudden, we raise a flag and we’re there.
Matthew Hall 11:01
Yeah, we’ll be there someday. So my last question here for you, Robert, is, again, from your perspective, with all these changes that are happening to the transportation mobility industry. What competitive advantages do you bring to the marketplace with SIMULIA?
Robert Solomon 11:22
Well, and that’s, that’s a good question because what we in the Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA are focused on is where we’re validating the process later on. As you move forward into the car validation process, including the Hill System that has all the sensor setup in it and you’re doing a virtual reality kind of view of the vehicle with the sensors and trying to validating through embedded instrumented vehicle simulation or tests, rather. Our value is as we continue to see customers needing to have more fidelity in their response and simulation, then we become more important to them every day. Whether that be trying to understand location of sensors because of EMAG conditions where there’s influences of electronics and the interference within a vehicle or outside interferences as well. And then also conditions where you have mud and so on that are covering the sensors – what happens at that point, where is the location for the sensor best? And then the vehicle itself as far as fidelity of vehicle modeling. Right now they’re done for rather lightly because that’s not their biggest worry is the vehicle response. But as we continue to increase our knowledge of behavior of system, fidelity of the vehicle will become more and more important, and that’s where I’m technically very involved in that area to deliver real-time vehicle model, very high fidelity and that is very unique for our business.
Matthew Hall 13:14
All right, Robert, I’ll let you get back to the show. I appreciate your time very much.
Robert Solomon 13:18
Thank you. I enjoyed the time, Matt.
Matthew Hall 13:20
Thanks everyone for listening. To find out more how to Dassault Systèmes is helping advance the Transportation & Mobility design process for Autonomous Vehicles on the future, please visit go.3ds.com/tm. Please enjoy listening to the other podcasts in our series. Don’t forget to subscribe to the series and listen to the other fascinating entries available on iTunes, SoundCloud, and all other major podcast channels.
I’m Matthew Hall…make it a great day!