Volvo Autonomous Solutions Forms Joint Venture With Foretellix
From its groundbreaking use of LiDAR to its award-winning City Safety systems, Volvo has been leading the charge in electrification and autonomization for some time. And that includes heavy-duty constriction equipment, too! Now, the company hopes to advance the state of the art even further through a partnership with the verification technology experts at Fortellix to jointly create a Coverage Driven Verification Solution for autonomous vehicles operating both public roads and in geographically confined areas.
Open roads present a number of challenges that one might reasonably expect to present a greater number of unknowns that, for example, a geographically confined space might. But a job site isn’t exactly free from variables, either, and operating in extremely tight conditions– like underground, in a mine, in close proximity to walls, other equipment, and human beings operating with limited visibility and very little margin for error — well, that’s not nothing. With that in mind, it becomes obvious that the ability of autonomous solutions to orchestrate large scale operations down to the finest detail will be critical in helping autonomous vehicles and machines to deal with anything they might encounter within their specified Operational Design Domains (ODDs).
The only way to really get a sense of what all that is going to take is to run simulations — and lots of them! That’s where Fortellix comes in. Foretellix is a pioneer in methodologies for automated driving system verification, and its platform uses novel AI and big data analytical tools that coordinate and monitor millions of driving scenarios to expose bugs and edge cases. Those edge cases, way out on the edge of the probability curve, are what need to be planned for, especially when a 30-ton Volvo track loader starts throwing its weight around. Underground. In a potentially explosive mine.
So, yeah — seems like the kind of thing you’d want to take planning for seriously. And, for their part, Foretellix seems to be taking this project very seriously. “We are very proud to partner with Volvo Group. This partnership is a significant milestone for the industry as it is the first time that large scale Coverage Driven Verification will be used for verification of ADS in confined areas,” explains Ziv Binyamini, the CEO co-founder of Foretellix and all-around smart guy. “Our partnership will combine the expertise of the two companies and set a new standard in the verification of automated driving systems, boosting both safety and productivity.”
The new joint program will enable massive scale testing of millions of different job site scenarios, which will validate autonomous vehicle AIs and help the machines adapt within their ODDs. It’s hard to say when the first large-scale deployment of Volvo CE’s autonomous vehicles will happen, yet, but projects like this one means it will probably be somewhat sooner than later.