What are the remaining challenges for maximizing SDV potential
2024년 01월호 지면기사  / 한상민 기자_han@autoelectronics.co.kr

What are The Remaining Challenges for Maximizing SDV Potential

Interview with Pedro Lopez Estepa, RTI

AEM inquired with RTI, which offers a flexible, robust, and proven communication framework for SDV use cases, about the remaining challenges in maximizing the potential of software-defined vehicles (SDVs). According to Pedro Lopez Estepa, the most significant challenge lies in the varying interpretations of SDVs among OEMs, primarily concerning industry-standard hardware interfaces, vehicle APIs, data models, and the establishment of robust ecosystems.

Written by Han

Pedro López Estepa, Director of Automotive, RTI                  He is the Director of Automotive at Real-Time Innovations (RTI), the largest software framework company for autonomous systems, where he guides the automotive team on the journey to lead software defined vehicle communication. Pedro has more than 10 years of automotive market strategy and engineering experience. Pedro is a member of The Connected Vehicle Systems Alliance (COVESA) Board of Directors and consulting staff at the  Spanish Association of Autonomous Vehicle (AEVAC) where he contributes as an expert in Software-defined Vehicles and Autonomous Systems. Pedro holds a MSc in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Granada and an International Master of Business Administration degree from the Politecnico di Milano.

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I know RTI as the leader in DDS standards and the number one global company in communications middleware and frameworks for software-defined and autonomous systems. Please tell us what kind of company RTI is and how strong its position is, especially in the mobility industry, autonomous driving, and SDV sectors.
Estepa               RTI is the Automotive communication framework leader for Software-Defined Vehicles (SDVs). Based on data-centric middleware technology and privately-held, RTI has the largest engineering team in the world dedicated to the Data Distribution Service (DDS™) standard, with professional services and support to help drive project success for our customers across the world. This focus provides automotive companies with a communication framework that allows them to manage risk, while increasing the scalability, modularity and reusability of their solutions with the highest levels of safety and cybersecurity.

In automotive, RTI works with over 25 automotive companies who use our technology to accelerate their software-defined programs. Today, RTI is in production with 10 vehicle manufacturers around the world who rely on RTI software to design zonal, ADAS and telematics architectures as they involve in the software-defined era.

COVESA and RTI, which deal with data, use the catchphrases ‘data-centric’ and ‘data-based service’ when talking about software-defined cars, while EclipseSDV emphasizes ‘Code first Approach’. Additionally, SOAFEE puts ‘scalability’ at the forefront, while the digital.AUTO initiative such as OEMs or Tier 1s that are closer to the customer puts ‘customer experience’ at the forefront. The positions and phrases are different depending on each class. So what is the core of SDV and autonomous driving from RTI’s perspective? What is the core methodology?
 Estepa               As the industry has realized, the traditional automotive design model will not work for the vehicles of tomorrow. A complete change of paradigm is necessary, and this is the reason why many of these terms are coming into play.  

RTI is an active member of AUTOSAR, AVCC®, COVESA, OMG® and SOAFEE, along with other leading automotive technology providers. The main goal of these organizations is to define what the new software-defined vehicle will look like. Why is this important to the industry needs? This conversation and this work must take place now. The required transformation won’t occur until  the industry defines its interfaces, standards and architectures.

The work of all these alliances will enable interoperability across technology platforms for lower costs, productivity gains across global development teams and faster time-to-market. These terms are trying to solve individual problems of a common new architecture, the software defined vehicle. RTI is focusing on enabling the best data-centric architectures. In working towards this goal, we align really well with COVESA’s vision and the integration of the Vehicle Signal Specification (VSS). RTI also participates in SOAFEE working towards cloud-based development and our technology is instrumental in this new era. In addition, RTI is leading the work on data models for AVCC, with the publication of the new Data-Oriented Communication Architecture for Automated and Assisted Driving Systems technical paper. All of these organizations represent the ‘best of’ industry thinking, with open collaboration of their members.

When thinking about artificial intelligence, customer experience, and related data, is openness the key for SDV to reach its full potential? So, how far has the industry come in this respect, and what remains?
Estepa               AI, while properly used, is a great tool in optimizing all phases of vehicle software development efforts. However, it cannot be taken as the sole solution to solving SDV challenges. The integration of AI functionalities is a progressive and continuously evolving activity that will fully depend on certain architecture standardisations.
The core remaining challenges are:
i. Clarifying the concept of what a software-defined vehicle (SDV) means is a significant hurdle due to varying interpretations among OEMs. The challenge primarily revolves around establishing industry-standard hardware interfaces, vehicle APIs and data models.

ii. Enabling collaboration with a strong ecosystem that includes both new suppliers that provide unique capabilities, as well as integrating traditional supply chain vendors, all aimed to mitigate risk.

iii. Ensuring system scalability and future-proofing the vehicle architecture.

In this regard, what role is RTI playing in the promotion of open source such as SOAFEE, AUTOSAR, COVESA, Eclipse, digital.auto, etc., and in the development of industry SDV, and what is the next goal?
Estepa               RTI does not provide an open-source solution, but we do actively participate in initiatives that support it such as SOAFEE or COVESA. RTI supports a commercial framework, RTI Connext Drive®, that closes the gap between the agility of open source solutions and the rigor and certification of an automotive-grade platform. 

In the future, we hope to further enable manufacturers to create safer, more flexible and adaptable communication architectures with less risk. We will continue to offer our customers an optimal solution to enable vehicle communication as their platforms evolve. At the same time, we are actively collaborating in the leading consortiums as AUTOSAR, SOAFEE or COVESA. 

Connext Drive Framework

RTI recently announced a major milestone for Connext Drive®, right? What does this mean and what makes it different? Is it really the first?
Estepa               RTI just launched Connext Drive 3.0, the latest product offering in our automotive line. It is the first platform-independent, ASIL-D certified communications framework for automotive, and it also has the industry’s first integration toolkits that bridges the gap between AUTOSAR Classic, AUTOSAR Adaptive and DDS.

With this release, Connext Drive 3.0 is the first DDS-based communications framework that adheres to the highest functional safety standards (ISO26262 ASIL D). OEMs now have a  flexible, accelerated path to certification that eliminates the need for recertification if the vehicle operating system or network interfaces change. 

What does it mean that RTI bridges the gap between AUTOSAR Classic, AUTOSAR Adaptive and ROS 2 and DDS? What issues and requirements did you have with DDS? 
Estepa               The automotive industry is undergoing a transformative shift towards intelligent, connected, and autonomous vehicles, demanding a new level of sophistication in the design and integration of automotive software. As vehicles become more complex and interconnected, the need for robust and efficient communication mechanisms becomes paramount. In this era of innovation, technologies such as the Data Distribution Service (DDS), AUTOSAR Classic, Adaptive and ROS 2 have emerged as critical enablers for building resilient and scalable automotive systems. RTI is the leading provider of DDS and as such, we are in the position to ensure interoperability between all these technologies in order to accelerate time to market, reduce cost and optimize the needs of the industry. 

RTIs latest release of Connext Drive includes toolkits that will integrate DDS into Autosar Classic, Adaptive and secure interoperability with ROS 2: This does not mean replacing any technology. These toolkits provide productivity to developers, eliminating the need for custom code while providing  interoperability for the vehicle manufacturers. 

Please introduce RTI’s product line for automobiles.
Estepa               Connext Drive is an intelligent communication framework that supports the development and running of software-defined vehicles from prototype to production. Based on the DDS middleware standard, Connext Drive minimizes overall system complexity and cost, while building a future-proof, evolving system that doesn't compromise performance. It includes direct integration into AUTOSAR Classic and Adaptive plus ROS 2 environments ensuring functional safety at the ECUs to zonal gateways, high-performance compute and digital cockpit. Automakers looking to streamline development and fast-track success through an open architecture are increasingly turning to Connext Drive to slash development time and reduce the need for proprietary programming.

How can RTI’s solutions benefit automotive customers? The results are ultimately about time and resource efficiency and safety, right? Is there a good example to explain this?
Estepa               Specifically designed for the automotive industry, Connext Drive provides dedicated software components for key software-defined vehicle use cases: ECU, zonal gateways, high performance compute, ADAS, digital cluster, telematics and cloud, in addition to OEM-specific applications. RTI’s development processes for Connext Drive have been officially certified to ISO 26262 ASIL-D, offering manufacturers an accelerated path to building safety-critical systems for electric and autonomous vehicles.

In addition, Connext Drive includes a set of tools that help distributed and autonomous system developers to expedite and ease the entire development lifecycle from design to production.

This focus provides RTI customers with a communication framework that allows them to manage risk, while increasing the scalability, modularity and reusability of their solutions with the highest levels of safety and cybersecurity.


RTI has offices in Japan and China. How would you describe the attitude of the Chinese and Japanese industries regarding SDV and autonomous driving? What is the status of RTI's business, key customers and customer support in Asia and Korea?
Estepa               China is leading the transition towards SDV, something that has been validated by many publications and research studies. China leads the transition towards zonal architecture and the future evolution towards centralized computer systems. The Chinese manufacturers have understood really well that in order to innovate, changes in the architecture are required and there is no time to lose. 

Japan has established itself as a global leader in automotive software innovation and continues its strong focus on leading technology and engineering precision. Their recent move to create dedicated lanes for level 4 autonomous driving, is one such way they are showing their leadership in autonomous driving.

RTI’s business in Asia is strong and growing. We collaborate with OEMs and tier-1s such as Li Auto, XPeng, Baidu, and Inceptio, to name a few that we are permitted to mention publicly.

Lastly, please tell us what you would like to say to our Korean readers.
Estepa               Thank you for your interest in our flexible, robust and proven communication framework for SDV use cases. RTI is eager to get more involved in Korea’s Automotive market and provide optimal, future-forward solutions for next-generation vehicles.

AEM_Automotive Electronics Magazine

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