Vineeth Joel Patel I futurecar
Autonomous vehicles are highly complex machines that take years, if not decades, to develop. Thanks to virtual simulations, companies can test their advanced driver-assist systems without putting people in harm's way or needing an elaborate testing facility to carry out real-world tests. Self-driving startup Aurora recently announced that it would be partnering with Amazon Web Services to develop its autonomous technology.
Autonomous Development In Focus
Aurora has been busy of late. The startup received funds from Kia and Hyundai in 2019, before purchasing Uber's autonomous-car business in 2020. The startup has also partnered with Volvo for autonomous trucks and Toyota for a fleet of self-driving Siennas. So, Aurora is busy developing its autonomous technology for a wide range of vehicles.
To test its Aurora Driver system, which is a scalable self-driving system, the startup will use AWS to test machine learning, high-definition mapping, and develop the Driver system's software stack. The startup will also use the cloud to process and store its data points, which reportedly are in the trillions on a daily basis. Also, AWS will allow Aurora to puts its autonomous systems through 12 million physics-based driving simulations a day by the end of the year. AWS has a Virtual Testing Suite where the startup can test its systems.
According to AWS, its Virtual Testing Suite is a unique place for the Aurora Driver system. The testing suite allows the startup to use data from one testing situation in the real world and create hundreds of permutations in the virtual world. This will allow Aurora to puts its autonomous system through more complex situations safely and quickly. A few of the more complex situations that Aurora will be able to put its system through in the virtual world include road construction, unprotected left-hand turns, and jaywalkers.
More Virtual Testing
AWS points to one specific instance of how virtual testing helped Aurora. Before the Aurora Driver system ever made an unprotected left-hand turn in the real world, it made roughly 2.3 million turns in the simulation. Aurora has been using AWS to run simulations on its systems since 2019, but the new partnership will see that figure roughly triple by the end of 2021.
"Aurora's advanced machine learning and simulation at scale are foundational to developing our technology safely and quickly, and AWS delivers the high performance we need to maintain our progress," said Chris Urmson, CEO of Aurora. "With its virtually unlimited scale, AWS supports millions of virtual tests to validate the capabilities of the Aurora Driver so that it can safely navigate the countless edge cases of real-world driving."
AWS is looking to enter the autonomous and connected cars segment after the company became a leader in the cloud computing and storage services. At the Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, AWS announced its AWS for Automotive Initiative and AWS IoT Fleetwise service that's aimed at drawing automakers, fleet managers, startups, and logistics companies into using its services.