This week, Unity Technologies, the real-time 3D development platform creator, announced its collaboration with Baidu Inc., China’s leading Internet giant for developing a real-time simulation product that creates virtual environments while allowing developers to test autonomous vehicles in real-world situations.
This real-time simulation will be available for developers taking part in Baidu’s Apollo platform– an open and reliable platform working towards the development, testing, and deployment of Levels 3, 4, 5 autonomous vehicles. It includes all the different areas of the self-driving technology spectrum, right from perception and localization to 3D simulation and end-to-end training and testing of autonomous vehicles.
The collaboration between Baidu and Unity is expected to gear up the development of a simulation environment for testing autonomous driving software. This simulation will enable developers to digitalize the entire development process. There are advantages of using simulations and virtual environment in development and testing. For instance, risky or implausible scenarios can be generated and tested in simulation whereas it might be impossible to do the same in the real world. Moreover, dangerous situations which can’t be tested in real life can be created and tested using such a simulation.
“The ability to accurately conduct autonomous testing in a simulated environment allows for millions of simulations to simultaneously occur, providing Apollo partners with a competitive advantage while helping to keep their business costs down,” said Tim McDonough, general manager of Industrial, Unity Technologies.
Unity’s real-time 3D platform helps in reducing errors and risks while increasing efficiency and speed of testing by offering simulations that replicate real-world scenarios. Apart from Baidu, Unity also works the largest OEMs in the world by improving the way they design, build, service and sell automobiles. The company has experts from companies such as BMW, Toyota, General Motors, Volvo, and the Volkswagen Group.
Unity also recently launched SimViz Solution Template, a package that provides OEMs and helps in the building of simulation environments.
Jaewon Jung, Chief Architect of Baidu’s Intelligent Driving Group said, “By using a platform like Unity, our developers can focus on testing and research without worrying about non-functional environments or building something from scratch. The Unity-powered game engine simulation for Apollo has the ability to expedite autonomous vehicle validation and training with precise ground truth data in a more effective and safer way.”
It would be interesting to see how this collaboration accelerates Baidu’s development of autonomous driving software.
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