Thoughts after Autoware 96Boards Demo at ET2018 background image

Thoughts after Autoware 96Boards Demo at ET2018

Victor Duan

ET (Embedded Technology IoT Technology Exhibition) is the biggest Embedded device, software, tool and service exhibition in Japan. This year’s theme was “experience a super smart society (Society 5.0) here!”

Linaro was at the event and joined by Arm and TierIV, demonstrated an Arm powered autonomous driving car, the first of its kind in the world. The self-driving platforms Milee and Logiee from Tier IV are built on the widely-adopted Autoware open-source project. Since Tier IV joined Linaro 96Boards Steering Committee in June 2018,  Autoware has been ported and optimized on 96Boards, which now supports a full range of the major Arm platforms. In the demo showcased at the event, the Socionext SynQuacer 96Boards was used.  Many companies, including Lexus Toyota, Suzuki, Yamaha, Mitsubishi, Aisin visited our booth.

Linaro at ET2018 image 1 Linaro at ET2018 image 2 Linaro at ET2018 image 3

Autonomous driving is a hot topic in Japan at the moment. It is no longer just a technical term, as Japan expects this new technology to lead the economic growth of the country. On March 30, 2018, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 14th meeting of the council on Investments for the Future, and said: “By the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, we will realize an autonomous driving society… Autonomous driving will be a major asset for the productivity revolution. I want the relevant ministries and agencies to begin preparation for legislation aiming at a safe and sound autonomous driving society, and actively take the lead in the creation of international rules….”

Yet during the conversations with visitors to our booth, autonomous driving was still a magic box for most people, even for engineers working on embedded technologies. On the one hand, leading companies such as Toyota and Denso, are working closely on their own autonomous drive project, and don’t want to talk about their secure plans. On the other hand, the profitability of the autonomous driving market is hard to predict. Most of the existing technology companies are not willing to invest heavily in it. As a result, autonomous driving is still not the mainstream of embedded technologies yet.

100 years ago,  Ford’s Model T made automobile affordable for every family, and put the world on wheels. Many concepts and processes, such as mass production, interchangeable parts, and assembly line, changed not only how a car is made, but almost how everything is manufactured. 100 years later, building software has become a more important and complicated effort than producing hardware. Led by Linaro, Arm ecosystem aims to make modern mobility available for everyone on earth. Linaro believes open platform, and upstream and CI (continuous integration) test will help build widely affordable autonomous cars, and then change the way we build everything on earth.

One month after ET2018, Linaro, Tier IV, Apex.AI announced the formation of the Autoware Foundation. Industrial leaders, including Arm, Intel, RISC-V, and Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development joined. As Yang Zhang, Board Director of the Autoware Foundation and Director of 96Boards at Linaro said, “Autoware has recognized momentum in the industry and we are excited to be able to build on its success to offer open source projects supporting the deployment of the world’s leading autonomous vehicle technology.”

As more 96Boards will be added to support Autoware, automotive engineers and MaaS developers will have an accessible, fully functional basic platform for self-driving vehicles. The target is to continuously reduce cost and technical hurdles, continuously drive industrial standards, and innovate an efficient process of autonomous services and product development -  to put intelligence in every car.