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ABI Research: Simulation will be a key technology in autonomous vehicle testing and validation

Simulation will be a cornerstone technology for autonomous vehicle implementation, underpinning system training, testing, and validation, according to a report from ABI Research. While being an asset to all autonomous technology developers, simulation will prove a “must-have” for adopters of deep-learning approaches, bringing some much-needed validation and confidence before deployment.

Almost every OEM has positioned connected and autonomous vehicles front and center of their strategy for the next decade, lauding the advantages for safety and efficiency. However, demonstrating these advantages will require OEMs to accrue an extraordinary number of autonomously driven miles.

Simulation will not only build up the volume of the driverless experience but will also enrich its variety – allowing OEMs and other autonomous technology developers to test their systems in rare and potentially dangerous scenarios without risk of damage or loss of life.

—James Hodgson, Senior Analyst at ABI Research

Accruing the tens of billions of miles necessary to have confidence in autonomous systems would require the deployment of at least 3 million unproven autonomous vehicles over the course of 10 years. Waymo, already leading the market in terms of autonomously driven miles, has made effective use of simulation through their Carcraft initiative, covering in one day of simulations as many autonomous miles as they did between 2009 and 2018 with their physical prototypes.

Now multiple simulation solutions have come to market, enabling OEMs to test and validate their autonomous systems before their self-imposed deadlines arrive within the next 3 to 5 years. Some vendors, such as NVIDIA and AIMotive will feature simulation as part of their broader autonomous driving solutions, while specialized vendors such as Cognata and Metamoto are helping to ease the integration of simulation into autonomous vehicle development workflows through a simulation-as-a-service offering.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Simulation in Automotive: Training and Validating Autonomous Control Systems report.


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