A cool new way to wire together autonomous car features

The current state of the self-driving industry is deeply fragmented, with standalone features inside cars incompatible with other features and unable to talk to the central system.

Elektrobit – a subsidiary of time-maker Continental – wants to reduce this fragmentation by connecting all of the different systems together.

See Also: Tesla blames crash on braking system, not AutoPilot 

Head of driver assistance, Dr Björn Giesler and head of technology and innovation, Dr. Michael Reichel, reveal a new software platform called EB Robinos in a tech paper, which acts a connector between two autonomous systems.

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A “motion manager” determines the access to the actuators (source: Elektrobit)

Instead of having a motor coordinator and brake coordinator, EB Robinos replaces both with a motion manager. The motion manager receives data from the accelerator and brake, but instead of the two coordinators tripping each other up, the motion manager decides the correct action using all of the available information.

Elektrobit claims the motion manager reduces complexity, cost, and risk. It also provides a standard for other standalone features to be connected.

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Arbitration framework for context-specific behavioral patterns (source: Elektrobit)

Later in the paper, Elektrobit reveals a more complex version of its system. In it, information is fed from intelligent sensors and quantified by the environment model. From there, a plan is formed and the system tells the motion manager what actors (brakes, motor, steering) need to do.

“A vehicle has to work the same way whether I get behind the wheel of a Ford in Europe or here,” said Manuela Papadopol, director of business development and communications for Elektrobit. “Some applications, like traffic, might need to be adapted. But the basic functionality is the same, and that’s what autonomous software should look like. That’s what Robinos does. It’s a fundamental operating system that’s good for developing features and functionality.”

Elektrobit did not say which, if any, manufacturers are looking to implement EB Robinos. The rise of single use features inside cars in 2017 should give it a strong market, if manufacturers don’t just build their own operating systems.

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