RTI Connext Drive: Turn Here to Connect All Automotive Ecosystems
Written by Niheer Patel
November 13, 2019
Building the vehicles of tomorrow provides automotive manufacturers with major opportunities for innovation at every stage of the project. But what does the world want? Well, for one thing, the automotive landscape is changing. Gasoline-powered vehicle ownership is shifting in favor of electric, and ridesharing services are booming.
On top of that, automakers are already under pressure in the commercial space to come up with new types of vehicles, such as custom-built electric delivery vans that are now being commissioned by large retailers. And now that retailers, airports and transportation providers are becoming key customers, business models too are changing – it’s a new playing field out there.
Clearly the biggest prize of all rests in autonomous vehicles. The race is on to be among the first to get a safe, certified and highly-autonomous vehicle out onto the streets. Decreasing the time it takes to go from prototype to production is on everyone’s mind. Because being first to market is the most enviable position to be in – the all-important finish line where the press and the rest of the world await.
It puts RTI in a unique position, as well. What does it mean to be the market leader in connectivity software for autonomous vehicle development? It means that we have had to evolve right along with the market to solve all system challenges – even the ones our customers haven’t thought of yet. This work has led RTI to where we are now, which is the release of our latest offering: RTI Connext Drive™.
Introducing RTI Connext Drive: The right place to turn
RTI Connext Drive represents a significant inflection point for automakers. To start with, it’s the first and only integrated software to bridge all automotive ecosystems, including DDS, ROS2, AUTOSAR Classic and AUTOSAR Adaptive. Suddenly, systems and components that couldn’t share data with every system are now able to, and developer teams won’t have to abandon familiar standards or sacrifice features. In fact, teams can even mix-and-match multiple ecosystems and features. This flexibility comes in handy, especially when it’s time to diversify product offerings and enter new markets.
The other important feature of Connext Drive is that it’s built to be a future-proof solution. Automakers who are firing up the engines to tackle autonomous vehicle development are often only dealing with today’s system requirements. But what happens in five- or ten-years’ time? What unknown risks and challenges will come into play? Is it possible to add on additional levels of autonomy? Recline those leather seats and rest easy: Connext Drive is designed to offer peace of mind.
RTI is working to take risk out of the equation. As a result, Connext Drive includes all the technology automakers need today, tomorrow and into the future. Another bold claim, right? Less so when you know the backstory: We’ve taken our expertise in autonomous systems, plus our many combined years of experience working with automotive clients and other mission-critical systems, and put it all together so we can fully interoperate between microcontrollers and high compute platforms, as required for autonomy.
Connext Drive includes the familiar Software Development Kit (SDK) that allows customers to build and integrate different distributed systems. Then we added powerful new features tailored specifically for in-vehicle applications, all based on our foundational Data Distribution Service (DDS) technology. And we’ve arrived at something very special: A connectivity solution that offers 360-degree integration and immense scalability – you can’t outgrow it, even if you’re building a fleet of self-driving cars to stage your own Indy 500.
One more for the road
The race to market is already underway for autonomous vehicle development and streamlining the product life-cycle is paramount. I mentioned that business models are in flux: The good news about that is new revenue streams are evolving rapidly. The bad news? Multiple non-traditional players are entering the automotive space, so the competition is increasing too. Whatever you build, it’s going to be all about how quickly you can get it safety certified and out on the road.
Which is why Connext Drive offers automakers a complete connectivity software solution to help make that happen. And RTI shares the commitment to work through the entire product lifecycle. Do you need to operate in diverse real-time environments, interoperate with other systems within the vehicle, connect to off-vehicle systems and build in top security? Now you know where to turn.
About the author
Niheer Patel is the Product Manager for Aviation and Automotive Products at RTI, where he manages RTI’s high growth vertical product strategies to drive adoption of the RTI Connext platform in industry segments requiring high levels of modularity, autonomy, safety and security. He is responsible for safety certification efforts and driving security vision and execution for the Connext platform, especially as it pertains to safety-critical systems.
In previous roles, Niheer led Wind River Systems safety certification efforts for VxWorks for IEC 61508 and in later roles served as product manager for the Wind River VxWorks 7 product line with a focus on security.