Expleo is a global consulting company that operates in thirty countries. It partners with manufacturers undergoing digital transformation, and it ensures they create their own ‘pit crew’ of digital experts.
It’s also developed an Autonomous Valet Parking (AVP) system, which it showcased at the Cenex-LCV event in the UK and IAA MOBILITY in Munich.
On this week’s Mobility Moments, we talk to Steve McEvoy, Vice President of Automotive Expleo, about the risks and rewards of technology innovation.
How is Expleo helping the automotive industry?
The automotive industry still has a way to go before it reaches ‘level five autonomous driving’ – full autonomy with zero human activity, but we are fast approaching the fourth stage of driverless vehicles with the evolution of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
Expleo is part of developing these ground-breaking systems, which have the capacity to pilot cars to complete autonomous manoeuvres in controlled environments like car parks and minor roads.
We support our client’s product development cycles providing a complete overview of vehicle systems including: system design, specification guidance and software architecture. We also provide cyber security management and address functional safety concerns. Our work to support clients’ ADAS development programmes enhancing the level of sophistication possible with turn assist, object detection, image processing and autonomous valet parking.
With extensive experience in algorithm development, hazard analysis and safety concepts, clients also benefit from our knowledge pool and specifications. And, with automated virtual validation, they can also repeatedly test system adaptations for performance and safety in completely different environments, helping to reduce costs and development times.
What new risks are emerging due to tech innovation?
Many road traffic accidents are down to human error, but with full automation removing the human from the equation, many expect to see fewer incidents as a result. However, robots are not infallible, programming is not perfect – which leads to doubt and concerns around safety, which ultimately impacts our ability to place trust in automation.
In addition, cyber security presents new risks for automated vehicles that will require advanced simulation testing and preparation, as OEMs and their suppliers look to meet the new UNECE WP.29 standard when it comes into force in a few years’ time.
In addition, because fully automated vehicles would move in both controlled and uncontrolled environments, the infrastructure to support this and the connections required to a network will need to meet the highest level of specification, that’s been tested across innumerable scenarios. This will include a variety of interfaces and interaction points including making provisions for cloud, network, and security providers.
How can trusted partners help manufacturers take advantage of the new tech opportunities?
One of the main challenges to automotive in developing autonomous vehicles (AVs) is the lack of industry cohesion on a singular technology approach. This is understandably down to competition, but it results in technology siloes where OEMs work individually to enhance their technology offering, and often at the expense of the industry moving forward as a whole, with the mutual benefits that may arise for forming cross industry partnerships.
Bringing in a trusted partner like Expleo, that has hands-on experience and up-to-date knowledge of the latest technologies, can help suppliers to develop new services and advance their systems in a more cohesive way. We work with dozens of clients to provide tech services for AVs, developing software and algorithms that have helped create step changes in capabilities.
How is Expleo involved in the automated driving space?
As we move into a new era of mobility, Expleo is looking at how it can assist with the transition to autonomy over the next 10-15 years in a way that supports environmental targets and is accessible to the majority. To get to a place where driverless vehicles can operate in uncontrolled environments, the industry will need to meet the highest of expectations, that ensure autonomous driving is not only safe, but green and available to all too.
We are working on projects that will contribute to making sure passengers are safe for level five autonomous driving. This is a complex and multi-facetted challenge, that requires significant attention, with both a firm focus on safety and public liability.
We are also looking at how to develop automated vehicles with sustainability at the forefront of our thinking. The automotive sector’s focus on working towards global net zero targets is a mission that we are fully committed to, consistently striving to deliver innovations and results in this space for our clients.
And let’s remember that the move towards combining autonomous and EV tech often requires costly components like sensors and lidar. To ensure this technology can be adopted by the majority, Expleo is focusing on driving innovation in components that will ultimately help to democratise mobility.
What is holding back full driverless transport?
EV specialist manufacturers have helped to push the industry forward a lot faster than many expected. And, although I think that the technology required for full autonomous vehicles is very close, I question whether the public is ready for fully driverless vehicles to take to the roads. It will take time to build trust and demonstrate safety, something that many manufacturers and suppliers are factoring into their thinking.
Early adopters will help establish a market, in a similar way to EV, contributing to real-life demonstrations of safety and security, it’s at this point that we’re likely to see wider public acceptance, and wider adoption is arguably then likely to follow.
What did Expleo showcase at Cenex-LCV in the UK?
LCV took place over 22/23 September, we were there to showcase our experience and capability in e-mobility, focusing on future trends. This included presenting our experience of integrating ADAS systems for OEM customers, developing new vehicle electrical architectures and our work in specifying cooling systems for hydrogen fuel cells that will help to improve performance and efficiency,
We were also able to showcase our technology demonstrator the Autonomous Valet Parking system.
What will urban mobility look like by 2030?
The future of urban mobility will no doubt be about the big headline grabbing innovations like mobility as a service (MaaS), alternative fuels and the connected car, but it will also be about safety and security too.
Autonomous vehicles will be subject to much public scrutiny and there’s potential for mis-trust, making the future as much about proving this new technology is safe and secure as being able to bring it to market in the first place.