然而在位于加利福尼亚州坎贝尔市的Renovo Auto公司看来，答案没有这么简单。Renovo Auto的CEO Chris Heiser认为，虽然目前有无数的开发机构在竭力完善各自的自动驾驶解决方案，其中也涵盖了操作系统，但是最终，自动驾驶汽车会像计算机行业一样，只留下几个标准操作系统平台。
“但是最终，他们一定会这么做，”Heiser充满自信地补充道，“因为这是最明智的做法。” Renovo坚信，最高效的代码是一次写完后就可以融入不同的代码库和车型。像Waymo和通用Cruise 这样的大型开发机构使用的是独家操作系统架构，因此无法实现Renovo的效率和可扩展性。
Renovo的合作伙伴都是大名鼎鼎的硅谷技术公司和底特律车企。激光雷达巨头Velodyne、三星、自动驾驶技术集成商巨头Aptive、网络安全专家Argus都已在2017年成为了Renovode 合作伙伴。今年，Renovo又和人工智能开发企业Perceptive Automata公司及新起之秀Voyage建立了合作关系。Voyage正在建立一支搭载AWare系统的克莱斯勒Pacifiica自动驾驶车队，届时将在加利福尼亚州和佛罗里达州推出基于地理围栏的AMoD服务。
Perceptive Automata的CEO兼联合创始人Sid Mistra在一则公告中表示，“我们之所以选择AWare操作系统平台，是因为Renovo一直在不懈扩展部署，现在有越来越多的车队开始采用AWare。我们和Renovo秉持着相同的愿景，都希望能建立一个可以无缝融入最先进的技术的生态系统，在现实世界里大规模部署安全的自动驾驶解决方案。”
开放平台 = 最明智的选择
Renovo’s AWare operating system for AutomatedMobility on Demand (AMoD) is expanding its reach as more players see open-platform software as a unifying—and simplifying—answer to quicker and less-costly AV deployment.
Consider a list of all the things high-level driving automation requires—hardware such as sensors, a computing stack, the vehicle itself. Software for a multitude of complex functions like mapping, artificial intelligence, sensor integration. The list would be exhaustive.
What will lord over it, see that everything integrates, make sense of it all? Much like a laptop computer or cell phone, an operating system, of course.
But that simple conclusion isn’t—at least from the standpoint of Campbell, California’s Renovo Auto. With countless developers toiling to perfect their specific ingredients for the automated-driving recipe, including operating systems, Renovo CEO Chris Heiser believes that just like the computer industry, automated-driving development will converge to the use of just a couple of standard operating-system platforms.
He further predicts Renovo’s open-platform solution, AWare, is destined to win. At least for the automated-mobility-on-demand (AMoD) fleet-use application of SAE Level 4 automation Renovo is targeting.
“I’m not saying that every single one of the groups building internal operating systems is just going to kind of declare defeat and say, ‘Hey, we want to license Renovo’s stuff,’” Heiser said in an interview with Autonomous Vehicle Engineering.
“But eventually they will,” he added with no small degree of confidence, “because that’s the best way to do this.” Renovo is convinced of the efficiency of writing code once and integrating across a widespread code base and vehicle parc. Mega-developers such as Waymo and GM Cruise, using their own bespoke OS architectures, won’t achieve the same efficiency and scale capability, Heiser insisted.
Heiser said Renovo is certain AMoD services are ready to drastically change transportation of people and cargo in urban areas. “The deployments will be initially limited, but they will grow quite quickly and that’s why we’re so bullish about this segment,” he said.
Growing with like-minded partners
Renovo’s list of collaborators already is a who’s-who of Silicon Valley and Detroit names: lidar colossus Velodyne, Samsung, auto-technology mega-integrator Aptiv, cybersecurity expert Argus all threw in with Renovo in 2017. This year saw partnerships inked with artificial-intelligence developer Perceptive Automata and rising-star Voyage, which is working now to integrate AWare for its fleet of automated Chrysler Pacificas that will operate in geo-fenced AMoD service in California and Florida.
“We chose to integrate with the AWare OS platform because of Renovo’s focus on deployment at scale and access to the growing number of fleets running AWare,” Sid Misra, CEO and Co-Founder of Perceptive Automata, said in a release. “We share Renovo’s vision of an ecosystem where best-in-class technologies seamlessly integrate to enable the safe large-scale deployment of automated mobility solutions that are suitable for the real world.”
Heiser knows Renovo needs its partners as much as they need Renovo. As with almost all forms of consumer-reaching products, success is tied to volume.
“Just like any other usage-based software licensing, volume is the thing that
drives massive revenue,” he said. “The name of the game for now, for us, is make sure that we’re deploying with great customers, make sure that we’re aggressively going after markets that we believe in and grow as our customers grow.
“And I think frankly that’s true to everyone in the space. Every lidar company, every Silicon company, every self-driving AI company, we all grow only with volume. No one makes any money by selling one of these things for a billion dollars; you make money selling lots of them for a reasonable amount of money.”
Open-platforms = widest adoption
‘The way we think of (OS development) is just simply vertical versus horizontal,” explained Heiser. “Almost every other group you can think of is vertically integrating and they’re responsible for pretty much everything. Instead, we are focusing on a thin layer that is horizontally scalable—and by the way, there’s this awesome thing called the Internet which happened exactly like this. Dell, with processors. Cisco did networks. Oracle did databases. That’s how you get to scale. You don’t go vertical, it’s a very inefficient and risky way to build large systems.”
There are inevitable computer-industry analogies because OS development is, at its foundation, much like that of any other business that seeks modularization. Moving into the automated-vehicle space is merely the latest application for tried-and-true computer-software maxims, Heiser explained.
“Being in the Silicon Valley for a long time, we’ve seen how this happens. We watched how Microsoft became the standard operating system for desktop, how Linux became that for server computing, how Android became that for mobile, how AWS became that for building web services,” Heiser said. “And each one of their stories is different, but the common thread is that they become the least expensive and easiest way to build things at scale.”
The AWare operating system is, Heiser concludes, nothing more than an example of bringing to autonomy development what played out in the computer industry— which is famous for its history of cost-cutting magnitude.
In effect, he added, the computer and mobile-phone sectors proved what is “vertical” is typically better when it becomes “horizontal.”
“Linux replaced what IBM and STUN and Digital and FGI and Cray and a dozen in tandem and a dozen other companies were all doing vertically by themselves,” Heiser said. “And it replaced it because it was open, it was scalable and it was a great way for developers to push out what they were working on. Same thing with Android: Android replaced what Nokia and Samsung and HTC and LG and Sanyo were all doing duplicatively in-house.”
Now it’s time for that same revolution to come to autonomy developers—for now, at least, for AMoD fleets. But eventually, he said, AWare is absolutely applicable for governing automation systems for personal vehicles, too. Heiser admits, however, that day is longer coming, calling the “operational envelope” for personal autonomous vehicles a more difficult development path.
But for those in urban environments and other defined, geofenced areas, Renovo is prepped for an imminent cascade of automated-vehicle service for individuals and for commercial users.
“I’m ready. I’m ready to give up my car,” Heiser effused. “I’m ready to utilize this service. Then, the big capital is going to come.”
Author: Bill Visnic
Source: SAE Automotive Engineering Magazine