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Made in Ukraine: Auto technologies developed in our country

Author : Nina Hlushchenko

In Ukraine, there are R & D centers developing expertise in the automotive field, and their products form the basis of the world's automobile giants.
23:21, 4 September 2018

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The last two years have been particularly successful for the automotive industry. Announcements and the first tests of flying taxis, an unmanned electric truck, autonomous trucks, the development of technologies for unmanned control, the penetration of augmented reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning into cars, platforms for self-driving cars and, finally, the launch for 5G networks that are necessary for development of connected devices, including the development of unmanned vehicles - it seems that the industry has not experienced such a breakthrough for a long time.

From 2014 to 2017, according to Statista, investments in artificial intelligence in the automotive field amounted to $ 27.3 billion. The Market Reports Center study said that by 2021, investments in big data operation in the automotive sphere will reach $ 5 billion.

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New technologies and materials make it possible to turn the car interior into an entertainment center and make this kind of transport even safer. Artificial intelligence is able to make transportation even more personal, understanding the driver or passengers from a half-word. Autotravelling of the near future will be a fun pastime thanks to interactive multimedia systems. Supplemented reality allows you to link navigation tips to the terrain.

All these amazing opportunities are created not only "somewhere out there," where the grass is greener and life is completely different. Ukrainian IT specialists also work on the world name developments. In Ukraine, there are R & D centers developing expertise in the automotive field, and their products form the basis of the world's automobile giants. 112.ua has collected several key projects, in the development of which the Ukrainian teams take part.

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Last year's PwC study said that the development of technology and the need to use new, more expensive and "smart" components led to a rise in the cost of OEMs production by 20%. The same study indicates that in the near future the cost of electronics will be up to 20% of the car's price, while in 2015 it was 13%.

The challenges that the industry is offering the automakers encourage them to join forces in developing new solutions to save resources. It is rather a question of using ready-made platforms for cars, the document says. The buyer is unlikely to choose transport based on what platform it is used in, and for the manufacturer development of such a solution means costs that can be optimized and instead focus on the design, quality and reliability of the model. Experts have an example the partnership between Daimler and Nissan - the Infiniti QX30 uses the same platform as in the Mercedes CLA and GLA models. Similarly, GM and Ford cooperate. At the same time, the manufacturers themselves are trying to transfer the development of solutions to IT companies, which have a great expertise in technologies.

So, the Luxoft IT company in partnership with Daimler AG is developing a platform for the infotainment system of Mercedes A-class cars. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system is installed in all new autos in this class.

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As explained in the company, Daimler has many suppliers within the framework of this project, but the level of cooperation with Luxoft can be described already as a partner. Some components of the system were developed by this company. One of the main is the so-called human-to-machine interface, that is, everything related to the interaction of the entertainment system with the driver and the passenger.

The platform provides integration of artificial intelligence and augmented reality (AR) in the car system. The system adapts to its user, adapts to its regular actions behind the wheel. For example, if he regularly calls the same person, moving along the same route, the system itself can prompt or help to make this call. If the user asks the voice system not in the form of standard phrases, but somehow more emotionally, it learns to adapt to it and understands that this particular phrase in this case should lead to such and such actions. Emotional interaction with the user is formed this way.

Daimler did not accidentally choose Luxoft as a partner for this project. The company develops solutions for almost all key OEMs of automotive equipment, they are used in more than 30 models of machines, mainly in the premium segment.

The development of HMI is one of the key technological practices. In addition, Luxoft has a lot of experience in UX, the company is developing in the field of user experience, implements prototypes and solutions that allow to demonstrate how this user experience will work live and how it can be applied in automobile development. This involved about 1000 professionals in Ukraine.

Luxoft recently opened an R & D center in Berlin, for which more than 100 specialists were selected. This was dictated by the need of Daimler AG in the denser work of the teams over the interface part.

At the moment Luxoft focuses on developing platform solutions and concepts. Recently, the German company Objective Software, which specializes in autonomous driving, has been acquired, the purchase allows its use in the interests of Luxoft.

Since late 2016, EPAM has been developing a cloud-based platform for cars that allows developers to access the car, but does not allow them to interfere with critical safety processes.

The matter is that automobile manufacturers do not independently develop digital services, this is done by third-party companies. In this case, the development of software for vehicles, in contrast to the same smartphones, for example, does not tolerate the slightest mistakes and malfunctions - in this case we are talking about people's lives. Therefore, the development cycle in this industry by all standards is 1.5-3 years. For the modern world - this is an incredible time. The platform, which is being developed in the Kyiv office of EPAM, will allow bypassing such specifics without risk for the safety of transport and other people.

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There is a huge number of cloud platforms for cars on the market today. But usually they ask the car for data from sensors and process them already in the cloud. However, this approach has its drawbacks: it depends on the Internet connection (there is no Internet - everything is out of order) and the load on the communication channel (the car transmits all the data in a row, although the channel has its own limit).

The EPAM platform is the link between the service and the automaker, and it allows you to perform part of the tasks in the car computer. In this case, the execution of the code can not affect the critical software for car security, and the developers of the service do not need to think about whether they are making it for the car or for something else.

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Ukrainian Intellias IT-service company has been developing in the automotive industry since 2015. Now there are about 20 projects in its portfolio, and it employs more than 400 experts.

In particular, the company cooperates with the German HERE, famous for its geolocation and navigation services (a person far from cars and services is likely to remember the navigation of HERE in Nokia smartphones). Intellias takes part in the development of a navigation system for premium-segment cars, cloud services for navigation and geolocation solutions, a platform for aggregation and analysis of large data sets, which are further used, among other things, for navigation of unmanned vehicles.

So, the engineers of the company are engaged in the development of a navigation system that takes into account the location of parking lots, restaurants, refuellings, weather, etc. These data cars are exchanged through the cloud of HERE and warn each other of accidents, slippery roads, etc. In addition, the navigation system automatically scans the signs of speed limits and updates this information in the cloud.

Intellias also develops an integrated navigation system for premium cars, one of which was the planning of routes for hybrid and electric transport taking into account the use of the battery charge and the location of charging stations.

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In the project with HERE, the Ukrainian team is responsible for design and development from start to finish.

Another of the largest Ukrainian service IT companies - GlobalLogic - has four areas of work in the field related to cars. About 200 engineers work in them.

The first is the Nautilus platform, the idea of which was born in the embedded division and took about two years to develop. According to the idea of the creators, the platform will give the user experience, to which he is accustomed, interacting with gadgets like smartphones. As we already mentioned above, the development of digital services for a car is a slow process, and it may take years to provide the necessary level of security and integrate a new solution. During this time, technology can significantly step forward, and the car - again to be in the "Stone Age."

Nautilus virtualizes two operating systems in the car - its own for driving and another - adapted for the cars version of Android - for entertainment, applications, navigation, etc. This makes the transport, on the one hand, "stylish, fashionable, youthful, on the other - keeps key elements of the control system safe. The company's engineers were able not only to separate the operating systems, but also to make them use the hardware resources of the car together (the rear view camera, for example) without losing performance.

The platform was presented at international profile exhibitions (in particular, the support for Android N was shown on CES 2017). What started as a small experimental project is now being created on different hardware platforms for various companies from the automotive industry. Among the customers using the infotainment platform, are such companies as Delphi Technologies and Aptiv, Renesas Electronics, Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America, Inc. Developments of Ukrainian engineers we will see in the models of leading automakers.

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Also, GlobalLogic engineers are involved in Automotive Projects. It is a laboratory for the development and testing of components of infotainment systems, which are used in the top models of the German automotive industry. It's about different levels of work - from the drivers to the user interface and testing directly in the car while driving.

Under the roof of GlobalLogic a project associated with autonomous driving is also being developing. Its customer is a Tier 1 client in the US and Europe, and the development, in which Ukrainian engineers participate, will appear in cars for these regions in the near future.

Also there is an internal project in the company - Smart City, within the framework of which the "smart" urban infrastructure, where all the participants of the traffic interact with each other, is being modeled.

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Thus, despite the fact that Ukraine is considered to be a country by the wayside of technologies, with a small internal market of IT, programs and services, Ukrainian engineers play an important role in the development of cars on a global scale.

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