What does software mean in autonomous vehicles?

30 April 2019

Following form last week’s blog, where we focused on the importance of Sensors for Autonomous vehicles and the CAV industry, it is equally important to comprehend the complexity of the software needed to be able to provide all functions necessary in a seamless way whilst in-sync with all other important aspects of the vehicle.

Importance of Software

In the industry, engineers use a variety of software tools in order to build autonomous vehicles. The primary objective may indeed be who gets to deploy their vehicle first to our streets. This is not a “hoax” and the autonomous vehicle market is predicted to grow from $54.23 billion in 2019 to $556.67 billion by 2026, according to Allied Market Research latest study.

One of the most important features of Autonomous vehicles is that their software has the ability to learn from experience and navigate on their own. However, the hardest part in this process is that companies have to constantly improve the software that interprets that sensor data and uses it to reason about how to move through the world as it changes.

Types of Software

As most of us involved in the industry know, there are many players in the industry from Tesla and Uber to Waymo and AI Motive and they all (or at least the majority) use some common software and coded languages but also develop their own.

Some of the ones commonly used are C++ (General-Purpose Object-Oriented Programming Language), Linux (Open Source Operating Systems ) and Python (High-Level Programming Language) all required as basic knowledge when working in autonomous vehicles. However, there are still much more complex such as MATLAB/Simulink and Git (Version Control Software). There also also indeed many others software and programs used by companies which are built in-house and of course the technology as mentioned above is ever learning and evolving to adapt to the necessary requirements.


All of the above however, – especially for experts in the field – is an indicator of 2 things. One the one side, the undoubted evolution and improvement in Software development developing companies mainly derived by competition and learning from errors. On the other side, it also demonstrates that the CAV industry is taking the Smartphone market model to account meaning that it is probably going to be divided between open and closed systems. There will be companies like Tesla who will attempt to create all components required to deploy their vehicles to the steet whilst others will choose to merge or use a variety of techonologies of other companies to achieve the best possible result. The future of self-driving is now. Its time to embrace it.

Article by Nicholas Kalavas for Y-Mobility

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