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5 min read

RTI Unveils Connext Drive: The First Complete Automotive-Grade Connectivity Solution for Autonomous Vehicle Development

Connext Drive is the first and only integrated Framework to bridge all automotive ecosystems including DDS, ROS2, AUTOSAR Classic and AUTOSAR Adaptive

Connext Drive delivers data connectivity, expandability, security and safety by design, giving automakers flexible tools for autonomous innovation

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – November 13, 2019 – Real-Time Innovations (RTI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity company, today unveiled Connext Drive® – a complete solution that provides automotive manufacturers with the software and tools they need to build highly autonomous vehicles and fleets. Now, autonomous vehicle makers can innovate and build vehicles without the high risk and cost of in-house solutions, nor the difficulty of adapting legacy connectivity. It bridges both research and production technologies, thus supporting development from prototype to end use. Connext Drive builds on proven technology already used in over 200 autonomous vehicle programs around the world, as well as over 1,000 other demanding, real-time, intelligent distributed systems.

Autonomous vehicle connectivity software is challenging and risky. Since they are built from many subsystems, vehicles require full interoperability between components. To provide consistently optimal performance, data must flow correctly, reliably and with extremely low latency. In-house connectivity solutions take extensive time to develop and require technical expertise; developers find these complex and expensive. Worse, autonomous vehicle designs must last for years, so automakers must ensure that their systems not only address today's connectivity challenges, but also anticipate future challenges. They must also track constantly evolving technology and security requirements. Together, these challenges make connectivity a key cost, challenge and risk point. Developers need a reliable, proven solution.

Introducing Connext Drive

RTI Connext Drive brings developers the software and tools they need to build autonomous vehicles and automotive fleets. It 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 all the important automotive ecosystems, including ROS2, AUTOSAR, and several commercial designs. This lets Connext Drive be the first – and only – platform that can integrate DDS, ROS2, AUTOSAR Classic, and AUTOSAR Adaptive, letting OEMs work with the standard (or standards) that best meets their needs at different points in the innovation cycle. Connext Drive is the only proven, standards-based solution specifically built for current and future development of intelligent, autonomous vehicles.

"Baidu is developing solutions for autonomous valet parking, fully autonomous mini-buses and more, based on Apollo, a leading global autonomous vehicle technology platform," said Dounan Wei, Commercialization Manager at Baidu Intelligent Vehicle Business Unit. "The reason we decided to work with RTI’s technology as the connectivity framework was for the superior reliability, a critical factor in the development of autonomous driving. With Connext, we can guarantee the utilization of bandwidth with TCP + UDP, ensure flexibility through multiple QoS strategies and apply standards-based security and safety. We are looking forward to accelerating innovation in autonomous driving together with RTI."

Connext Drive offers unique security, evolution management, redundancy, safety and unique system development tools. These address many challenges, including: 

  • Vehicles increasingly demand security. Connext Drive is the only design that 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. Uniquely, Connext Drive offers flexibility, allowing designers to optimize performance and security by choosing which parts of the system, and even which individual dataflows, must be protected.
  • Distributed systems evolve, and as they do 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.
  • 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 will reduce the risk of deploying autonomous vehicles in safety-critical applications.
  • Finally, autonomous systems are challenging to develop. 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 easily troubleshoot technical issues.

"We specialize in providing vehicle-agnostic driverless software for urban environments," said Derrick Loh, CEO at Moovita. "Our target applications include autonomous transportation around hotels, theme parks, commercial offices, retirement communities and more. We selected RTI’s connectivity software because it provides the high performance we require, while giving us the flexibility we need to customize our technology per application. With RTI’s technical expertise, 15 years of proven industry experience and market-leading technology, we’re able to deliver safe, autonomous solutions across the Asia-Pacific region."

RTI recognizes that the QNX Real-time Operating System (RTOS) is an important component for many of our customers who need a highly-reliable safety platform. Together, QNX's POSIX compliant OS and RTI’s connectivity framework are a complete ‘integration friendly’ stack that can simplify and accelerate software development; and support the level of IP reuse required to be competitive in tomorrow's connected and autonomous industries. The release of Connext Drive will bundle support for Linux and QNX on ARM platforms, making it easier for automotive customers to use the platforms that are most important to them.

"The integration of BlackBerry QNX's safety-certified operating system with RTI’s data-centric connectivity framework provides a solid foundation on which to base software development for connected and autonomous vehicles," said Grant Courville, Vice President, Products and Strategy at BlackBerry QNX. "Partnerships like this enable our customers to architect and realize next generation distributed systems."

"In the automotive industry we are seeing an unprecedented pace of innovation, with fierce competition for investment dollars and the creation of entirely new business models," said KT Neumann, Automotive Advisory Board Member at RTI. "It is critical to establish partnerships and select market-proven technology that interoperates between all components of the architecture. RTI Connext Drive offers a complete solution for autonomous vehicle development and will help OEMs and suppliers accelerate their time to production."

"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 of 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."

Connext Drive offers automakers the software they need to operate in diverse real-time environments, interoperate with other systems within the vehicle, connect to off-vehicle systems, evolve systems over time, develop reliable and high-performance systems and build in top security.

For additional information on RTI Connext Drive, please visit:

For a live demonstration, RTI will be exhibiting at CES 2020 in Las Vegas, Nev. at booth #713 in the Westgate Convention Center.

Packaging and Availability

Connext Drive is currently available. For pricing and licensing, please contact:

About RTI

Real-Time Innovations (RTI) is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity company. The RTI Connext® Databus is a software framework that shares information in real time, making applications work together as one integrated system. It connects across field, fog and cloud. Its reliability, security, performance and scalability are proven in the most demanding industrial systems. Deployed systems include medical devices and imaging; wind, hydro and solar power; autonomous planes, trains and cars; traffic control; Oil and Gas; robotics, ships and defense.

RTI is the largest vendor of products based on the Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service™ (DDS) standard.

RTI is privately held and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.

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