Connectivity tool for autonomous vehicle development
Real-Time Innovations (RTI) has introduced Connext Drive, a solution designed to provide automotive manufacturers with the software and tools needed to build autonomous vehicles and fleets. The tool aims to reduce the high risk and cost of in-house solutions as well as reduce the difficulty of adapting legacy connectivity. RTI says Connext Drive builds on proven technology already used in more than 200 autonomous vehicle programs around the world.
Connext Drive includes a native Software Development Kit (SDK) for developing and integrating vehicle applications. It supports software from the research phase all the way through to production. Because it is built on the open Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard, it implements “data-centric” connectivity that offers a virtual “distributed shared memory.” This lets advanced algorithms get all the data they need while reducing in-vehicle wiring.
The DDS standard is specified by key automotive ecosystems, including ROS2, AUTOSAR, and several commercial designs. This lets Connext Drive integrate DDS, ROS2, AUTOSAR Classic, and AUTOSAR Adaptive. Connext Drive offers security, evolution management, redundancy, safety, and unique system development tools.
One key challenge is the increasing demand for security. Connext Drive directly enforces data integrity through the underlying protocol. It authenticates participants to ensure that applications talk only to trusted remote applications. It encrypts flows to protect the privacy of data. Connext Drive also offers flexibility, allowing designers to optimize performance and security by choosing which parts of the system, and even which individual dataflows, must be protected.
Another challenge is the need to evolve. As distributed systems evolve, they often need to incorporate many components that change over time. As they change, component interfaces and data structures evolve and differ. Connext Drive can match these slightly-different data structures. This allows systems to add new capabilities over time. Thus, autonomous vehicle systems in development will maintain relevancy as the market advances over the next decade.
In addition, vehicles must operate non-stop. Even a short “downtime” threatens safety and reliability. To address this, Connext Drive supports full redundancy. Any sensor, data source, algorithm, compute platform, or even network can be easily duplicated to provide higher reliability. The data-centric design allows the system to resolve this redundancy naturally.
Future updates to Connext Drive will include reference architectures and data models, development and integration guides, and optional ISO 26262 ASIL D safety-certified libraries. These aim to reduce the risk of deploying autonomous vehicles in safety-critical applications.
Connext Drive offers unique tools and services, including the ability to collect data to control the vehicle remotely, record data for debugging and simulation, build larger systems including V2X, and troubleshoot technical issues. The release of Connext Drive will bundle support for Linux and QNX on ARM platforms.
“We created Connext Drive to give our customers the tools they need right from the start. Building autonomous vehicles is challenging. Selecting the best framework should be the easiest decision they make,” said Bob Leigh, Senior Director o Market Development, Autonomous Systems at RTI. “We are dedicated to helping our customers solve complex challenges in autonomy with our proven solutions. Our top priority is to provide customers with innovative technology that allows them to build highly autonomous systems, without suffering the high costs, steep time commitment and overall risk of building solutions in-house.”
Download a free 30-day trial of Connext DDS software at https://www.rti.com/downloads.