Why Software Developers Are Keyed In On Self-Driving Cars


Time to unwind

Are you ready to hand over your driving duties to a software-driven vehicle? If the latest surveys are any indication, the market for self-driving (aka autonomous) vehicles is getting ready to explode — and smart people are paying close attention.

Autonomous vehicles are sitting at the very top of Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. Gartner points out that, despite the newness of the technology, it’s generating a huge amount of attention, “with all major automotive companies putting autonomous vehicles on their near-term roadmaps.” In addition to all of the auto makers working on (and lining up to test) autonomous vehicles, potential market disruptors Apple, Google, Uber and Tesla are also making inroads into self-driving car development.

Consumers are also looking on with great interest — and a lot of questions. Many people are worried about the safety of riding in a car driven by sensors and software, but accident data from Google’s self-driving car project indicates that all of the self-driving cars’ accidents to date were caused by human drivers.

Experts believe that self-driving cars are actually safer than error-prone human drivers, who are responsible for 90% of accidents. They also say autonomous vehicles can reduce traffic jams and increase highway capacity because sensors allow the vehicles to drive closer together.

Surely the success of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) has primed the pump for even more auto automation. Safety features, such as automated emergency braking, automated lighting and adaptive cruise control, and convenience features that connect the car to your smartphone for navigation, communication or entertainment, are all but expected by today’s auto buyers.

Software will drive most of the innovation around autonomous vehicles, and an upcoming webinar with Kerry Johnson, Product Manager for QNX Software Systems, will talk about writing software for self-driving vehicles. Specifically, he and Kris Keach, Contributing Editor for TechOnline, will explore:

  • The emergence of high performance embedded system on chips (SoCs) targeting ADAS and autonomous vehicle applications.
  • The impact of increasing system integration and autonomous technology on embedded software.
  • The need for safety standards such as ISO 26262, which specifies the functional safety of electrical and electronic systems in road vehicles.
  • The emergence of pre-certified products as part of the solution to address safety challenges.
  • The role of a software platform to support evolution from ADAS to autonomous driving.

If you’re interested in learning more about the software behind self-driving features, mark your calendar for Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. ET to attend “The role of a software platform when transitioning from ADAS to autonomous driving.” Pre-register for the webinar at https://webinar.techonline.com/899?keycode=CAA1EC%20 for complete access instructions.

About Vicki C. Walker

Vicki Walker is a technology writer and editor based in Charlotte, N.C. A graduate of the University of Florida, she has worked as a freelancer and staff editor for organizations including InformationWeek.com, Network Computing and numerous other corporate and nonprofit organizations.

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