If we cannot find the solution, we will create it

After Self Driving Track Days took place we took the opportunity to catch up with Dataspeed, providers of the Autonomous Vehicle Demonstrations at the event. Dataspeed told us all about their 4 year growth journey, their collaboration with VSI Labs and what people can learn from experiencing a demo in one of their vehicles.

Dataspeed has grown significantly over the last 3-4 years, tell us a little about that journey and the drivers behind it.

Dataspeed provides its customers with safe, reliable, and cost-effective test platforms. Initially, Dataspeed started out as a mobile robotics firm and has since used that as a “stepping stone” to combine robotics with mobility. Dataspeed sees an Autonomous Vehicle (AV) as a robot, specifically a mobile robot, with tasks it must perform autonomously, foremost, to transport passengers safely.

As the automotive market and people started to quickly adopt autonomy, companies had a need to control the entire vehicle. For Dataspeed, it was combining a lot of technology from previous programs, which has evolved in to a great product – the Dataspeed ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) Kit.

The ADAS Kit allows computer control of the throttle, brake, steering, and shifting to assist companies in the testing of sensors, software and other elements, enabling AV applications. Furthermore, to produce this safe and cost-effective solution, Dataspeed doesn’t employ additional mechanical actuators, but instead leverages the electromechanical capability of the vehicle. The Kit allows an engineer to assert control over the components, without worrying about additional steps, with a time-tested system in place. This allows clients to focus on testing different algorithms, from emergency braking to throttle and steering.

Overall, the drivers behind the significant growth is simple – focusing on how to provide researchers and developers with the most efficient, beneficial, and technically supportive, hardware and software tools they need to successfully execute their task/project.

What are the key elements of a self-driving vehicle?

The key elements of a self-driving vehicle are:

  • Detect / Recognize (hardware – sensors)
  • Analyze Data (software – algorithms)
  • Control (hardware – actuators)

Who are your customers, and what do you provide for them?

Our customers include automakers, OEM’s, technology providers, service providers such as ride sharing firms, academic institutions and funded start-up’s.

At Dataspeed, we put forth time as well as effort to determine a solution for AV research. Dataspeed is proud to offer highly engineered hardware and software tools to researchers and developers working on mobility and robotics solutions. Our ADAS Kit provides a unique and compatible research and development platform. Through the implementation of the Dataspeed ADAS Kit, our customers are able to save time and conduct much more efficient testing on what they are developing.

What’s the best approach when deciding which technology stack to build into a vehicle?

Our technology enables developers with ultimate control over the throttle, brake, steer, and shift-by-wire controller modules. It is always up to the engineer, regarding what their specific application is, and from there, we accelerate that testing for them.

What would you tell a prospective employee about your company?

At Dataspeed, we believe that if we cannot find a solution, we will certainly create it.

Tell us about your collaboration with VSI Labs.

Our partnership with VSI Labs is related to the testing and development of automated vehicle technologies. Through this partnership, VSI will be building out a full stack of hardware and software components on a Dataspeed enabled vehicle. The vehicle itself becomes a showcase for component makers wanting to see their componentry within the context of an automated vehicle.

How important is the UK for you, and do you have plans to grow in this region?

As of today, Dataspeed is supporting transportation as a service and looks to expand more in the European market, which is fast and smart. We know how strong the interest for adaptive safety features and similar automation is in the UK, and that is a region we definitely plan to develop a stronger presence in.

What can people learn from experiencing a demo in one of your vehicles?

When someone experiences a demonstration in one of our autonomous test vehicles, we want them to learn how the technology is being properly used. The purpose of the demonstration is to display the functionality of full by-wire control of the vehicle, without adding any actuators, in addition to there being very little modification to the vehicle. To demonstrate these capabilities, the by-wire controlled vehicle will follow precise trajectory paths using accurate, high data-rate output. The algorithm behind the path following system uses adaptive control concepts to regulate the throttle and brake inputs to react to hills, air resistance and other disturbances, and nonlinear state feedback control to generate steering inputs to minimize the lateral error from the programmed route.

Additionally, when demonstrating our autonomous vehicle, we want to promote that the vehicle will be following a programmed route using GPS, as well as, integration and data fusion of multiple LIDARs and RADAR sensors.

Is there anything you’d like to achieve this year?

Everything we are working on or have provided is a test-vehicle, but we aim to evolve as the fleet and passenger-based companies define the next phase of the industry. With over 350 Dataspeed equipped autonomous test vehicles on the road today, we do not plan on stopping any time soon. We are working on expanding our safe, reliable and cost-effective test platforms, in order to meet the needs of our growing customer base. All in all, we are ramping up the Dataspeed team and our capabilities to support these growing markets.

Dataspeed provided the autonomous vehicles at Self Driving Track days to run demonstrations around the venue track for attendees. Find out more here >>