Audi, Israeli Autonomous Startup Cognata Partner to Speed up Autonomous Vehicle Development

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【Summary】Audi has announced a new partnership with autonomous vehicle simulation startup Cognata from Israel to speed up the development of self-driving cars.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jul 02, 2018 9:00 AM PT
Audi, Israeli Autonomous Startup Cognata Partner to Speed up Autonomous Vehicle Development

Now that almost every single automaker on the road is working on autonomous vehicles, the race is on to be first to mass produce vehicles that can drive themselves. Audi has already made waves with the new A8 sedan, which is the first production vehicle with Level 3 autonomy. Last year, the German automaker became the first automaker to begin testing driverless vehicles in New York. For Audi, being first means a lot. 

Finding New, Quicker Ways To Test Autonomous Cars

In the hopes of speeding up its autonomous car development, Audi has recently partnered with Cognata Ltd., a startup out of Israel that provides other companies with its autonomous vehicle simulation platform. The goal for Audi, is to use Cognata's simulation platform to get self-driving cars on the road quicker than its competitors. 

According to Reuters, Cognata's simulation platform recreates real-world cities for autonomous vehicles to test in virtually. This gives companies that use its platform nearly endless testing scenarios. The company's platform can even simulate traffic conditions before automakers begin to test their cars on public roads. 

Audi, in its drive to be first, is the first major automaker to sign a deal with Cognata to use its simulation platform. The partnership is with Audi's driverless division that's called Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH (AID). The German automaker hopes that the new partnership will help get its self-driving vehicles onto the road sooner. 

"At AID, we are convinced that simulation is a key tool to increase our development speed and a necessary one for the validation of our product and for proving it is safe," said Alex Haag, AID Chief Technology Officer. "After exploring various solutions, we decided that partnering with Cognata is the fastest way to reach these goals. 

Why Virtual Testing Is Important

Numerous automakers and tech companies are looking towards virtual reality as a way of testing autonomous vehicles. Everything from General Motors to Uber are looking into creative, new ways to test self-driving vehicles virtually. "Simulation technology can help greatly reduce autonomous vehicle testing costs for carmakers," Cognata's Chief Executive Officer Danny Atsmon told Reuters. 

Waymo, which has covered the most miles of any company with its self-driving cars, has done the majority of its testing in a simulator. Last August, the company stated that it had logged roughly 2 billion miles in its Carcraft simulator. Without taking its testing to the virtual world, there's no way Waymo could've covered the same ground on public roads. 

For Audi, the deal is a smart one, as the brand can now push its vehicles to the limits in a safe area. The upside to testing virtually is that companies can put their self-driving cars through hard tests over and over again to ensure that everything is working properly. 

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