NI Week 2022 Highlights Automotive Test Technology and ADAS Data Collection
Last month, NI (the company formerly known as National Instruments) held its annual NI Week event in Austin, TX. Although unfortunately I was unable to attend, I followed the news of the conference closely. NI is a leading manufacturer of automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software, which means that even if you’ve never heard of it, you’ve probably used a lot of the technology there. allowed to enable (e.g. 4G and 5G connectivity).
While many announcements came out of the event, I wanted to highlight a few related to the automotive technology industry. Between the rise of EVs (electric vehicles) and the development of increasingly autonomous vehicles, the sector is changing. You will frequently find NI at the forefront of emerging technologies, considering the technology before it was made public. Let’s take a look at what NI is doing to enable the next generation of high-tech vehicles.
First, NI unveiled its latest Battery Test System (BTS), designed to test electric vehicle batteries. Batteries are perhaps the single most important component to electrifying vehicles and moving away from reliance on fossil fuels. In the early days of electric vehicles, the short distance you could travel between charges was a significant inhibitor of adoption (not to mention prohibitive vehicle prices). Despite many innovations and improvements, the battery remains key to unlocking the durability, safety, cost, and performance needed to encourage widespread consumer adoption of electric vehicles. Unfortunately, the improvement, innovation and testing of these EV batteries strains engineering resources; frequent changes in test requirements force design and test groups to constantly upgrade and adapt.
NI promises its BTS solution will make this process easier for Tier 1 suppliers and automakers, allowing them to test their batteries at scale, out of the box, with customization capabilities to meet a variety of roles and requirements. testing needs. The system is software-connected, allowing customers to integrate components such as power electronics, environmental chambers, measurements and test channels, at scale, into their tests. Additionally, the system facilitates communication and coordination between test and design teams on items such as setting up, executing and monitoring tests and requesting and reporting results. Additionally, NI says the BTS solution will help engineers meet EV deadlines, within budget and at the pace of market demands.
Float down the street
NI also announced, in collaboration with several partners, the deployment of a fleet of ADAS research vehicles in Europe, the United States and China. These automobiles, equipped with data recording and storage technology from NI and Seagate Technology and integration services from ADAS vendors Konrad Technologies and VSI Labs, will collect high-quality data to train, test and validate the algorithms and ADAS perception equipment. Although NI, Seagate and Konrad Technologies have collaborated in the past, this is the first initiative with US research company ADAS VSI Labs on board.
This data – and a lot of it – is crucial to developing safe autonomous vehicles and making them more widespread. ADAS systems are incredibly complex, with safety functions dependent on data from many different sensor modalities: camera, radar, lidar, ultrasonic, and vehicle networks, to name a few. To complicate matters further, data from these disparate sources must be recorded synchronously and analyzed to train and validate security functions. The more real data there is, the safer these systems will be.
Partnerships like this are essential when it comes to bringing new technologies such as autonomous driving to market. Cooperation in the development phase ideally ensures that all the different parts work well together. According to NI, this collaboration will better enable a connected ADAS and AD engineering workflow by “combining best-in-class technologies across the global ecosystem.”
Good to see NI doing what it does best in the AV/EV space. Again, the widespread adoption of these vehicles will ultimately depend on how the public perceives them as safe and reliable. There is no company I trust more in testing and validation solutions to make safe, autonomous vehicles a reality. I will continue to watch with interest.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.
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