Interviews

Autonomous technology not yet ready for public road deployment: Amit Rosenzweig, CEO, Ottopia

Telematics Wire recently had a chance to interact (via email) with Amit Rosenzweig, CEO, Ottopia and learn about his views on various topics. The conversation is being reproduced here:

What is Advanced Teleoperation and how does its need arise?

Advanced Teleoperation is the ability to remotely control any type of vehicle, in a manner that is both safe and secure.

The need for teleoperation arises in several industries including:

1. Autonomous mobility – To solve issues that autonomous vehicles like taxis, shuttles, buses, delivery robots etc., encounter on the road that otherwise cannot be solved without human intervention

2. Mining, construction, forest clearing – In order to provide safety and reduce costs for non-autonomous heavy platforms

3. Logistics, yard trucks – To dramatically reduce costs in the last mile and logistic yard operations

• How does Ottopia enable the complex process of a human operator and the car’s AI working together?

We’ve built a platform that in principle can integrate with any Autonomous Vehicles (AV) software and hardware stacks. We have created a set of APIs that can be used for a seamless and fairly simple integration between the AV and our system. Those APIs enable advanced modes of indirect guidance e.g. a human providing a new path / trajectory for the AV to execute on its own. These capabilities have been tested in real-life scenarios and have satisfied very large customers, like DENSO Corporation, who we are announcing our collaboration with today.

• For teleoperations cellular network conditions causing high latency and communication failures is a challenge, how does Ottopia meet it?

We have built, from the ground-up, a network bonding solution that bonds together the bandwidth from multiple connections – WiFi and, of course, the more widely available, cellular. Not only does it generate a higher bandwidth, it also optimizes for low latency as it can leverage the shortest available path from all the available connections. Furthermore, we’re going to incorporate prediction capabilities which would enable us to predict the location of a bottleneck in the network, and thus not just respond to network conditions in real-time, but also be proactive in how to schedule the wire of the next piece of information.

• As the human lives are directly involved if incorrectly applied, teleoperation can be a liability rather than an asset. How does Ottopia see that?

True. And because of that, we work according to strict automotive standards e.g. ISO-26262. By summer of this year, we’ll also test our platform in a certified vehicle lab that works according to the Euro NCAP provision, the same program by which car automakers test their ADAS systems.

• How is teleoperation in non-autonomous vehicles different from that in AVs?

AVs have an autonomous planner that we can seamlessly integrate with, and provide methods of indirect control, which are more scalable and some customers even consider them safer (compared to direct control). With non-AVs, we can offer direct control, as they have no planner to integrate with, but even then, we offer a proprietary safety layer which is a suite of vehicle-side algorithms. That safety suite can avoid collisions, even when the network connection is suddenly lost, or when the human operator makes a mistake. We call this layer ATAS and it’s one of our trademarks – Advanced Teleoperator Assistance Systems.

• Fully self-driving cars plying on public roads are still a few years away, do you feel is it the regulations or the technology that it delaying the process?

I feel it is mostly the technology that’s delaying the process. Autonomous technology that can cover all possible road scenarios and especially can tackle the complexity of urban centers is not yet ready for public road deployment.

• In Israel a number of successful automotive startups are budding and some of them have got acquired recently by technology companies. Your views on this?

I might be a bit biased, but Israel is a rising superpower in the field of autonomous and smart mobility technology. I believe we will continue to be at the forefront of this trend.

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