Expert Talks: Interview with Ricky Hudi
Join us at The Autonomous: A global community shaping the future of safe, autonomous mobility
Autonomous mobility is set to change the future of driving. However, safety still proves to be the main concern and challenge for mass adoption. This critical topic cannot be mastered by any OEM, Tier 1 or technology company alone. Therefore, the whole autonomous mobility industry needs to come together in a serious effort to set common technical standards, processes and legislation to achieve the highest possible safety in autonomous driving. The Autonomous gathers leading autonomous mobility influencers in Vienna on September 5. We have asked Ricky Hudi, Co-Founder of TTTech Auto and Chairman of The Autonomous to share his thoughts about the event’s vision, mission and goals.
Why was The Autonomous established? What are you hoping to achieve?
Ricky Hudi: At TTTech Auto, we are in close collaboration with a very broad, global customer and partner base across many domains related to autonomous mobility. When we consider autonomous mobility from such a broad perspective, it is evident that it is on the brink to paving the way towards a better, more livable and sustainable future. However, there have been accidents involving autonomously driven cars. These raise doubt in the public’s opinion about the safety of autonomous vehicles and prove to be the main challenge for their mass adoption.
TTTech Auto is part of the TTTech Group that has more than 20 years of experience as an independent safety expert in safety-critical industries, such as aerospace, off-highway or industrial solutions. These industries not only require highest safety-criticality, but also the highest levels of technology autonomy. We have acquired deep technology experience in approaches to safety and we have also supported the development of standards. Therefore, we recognize what tremendous efforts and investments are necessary.
No single OEM, Tier 1 or technology company can master the current challenges and associated investment costs in the automotive sector on its own. Moreover, as the autonomous driving landscape becomes more and more diverse and each new participant brings in expertise from different domains, tremendous complexity is created and the way the industry works together is redefined.
Therefore, we have set out to navigate the current changes in the automotive industry by initiating The Autonomous, based on our past, successful experiences in setting up safety references in automotive as well as in other safety-critical industries. We strongly believe that now is the time for the autonomous mobility community to come together in order to define the proper way forward. Tackling the most prevailing challenge on a global basis requires not only serious effort, but also having all relevant parties included right from the start. Only then can we expect to bring a sustainable safety approach to the highest possible level. Establishing a platform, a space, where all of this can happen is just a first step on this journey.
What is the value for partners and what for the general audience?
Ricky Hudi: As mentioned before, the complexity has increased due to the many changes taking the automotive industry by storm and redefining the rules of the game. In addition, many new and very diverse participants are entering the autonomous driving ecosystem and introducing their own view of the challenges ahead.
In today’s autonomous ecosystem, we see OEMs, semiconductor vendors, Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies, technology companies, thought leaders, telco operators, governments, insurance companies, legislators, data and cloud players and many more. Therefore, it was necessary to first map the complete landscape by identifying the major players participating in the ecosystem and their specializations. TTTech Auto has a large, global network and we were able to reach out to these companies and found that most of them were excited about the idea of creating a platform to align forces and expertise, map the blind spots, define solutions, and establish this global reference in safety together. So, we can bring together a community that is fully global, open and everybody who can provide a meaningful impact and relevant value is invited.
With such a wide range of players involved, what can we expect at the event?
Ricky Hudi: In order to pave the way for an open discussion about safety, we will start the event with keynotes and panel discussions presented by C-level executives of the companies supporting The Autonomous. This will serve to set the stage and provide the perspective of the involved companies. Later in the afternoon, we will have another block of panel discussions and keynotes. In parallel, we have scheduled four expert workshops covering different aspects of safety. Each of the workshops will be hosted by a different event partner and they will focus on Safety & Architecture, Safety & Security, Safety & AI, Safety & Regulation. Around twenty experts can participate in each workshop, with the aim of gathering the viewpoints from the experts in this field, properly defining the challenges ahead and starting to define matching solutions. The results and key-findings from the sessions will be collected and published as a report available for the participants of The Autonomous.
Where do you plan to drive The Autonomous in the future? How do you plan to keep the dialogue open and collaboration flowing after the event?
Ricky Hudi: During my 28 years working in the automotive and technology industry, I have been involved in a lot of standardization initiatives together with my team. I know it is crucial to find the right and most effective way to push the topic of setting a global reference in safety. We want to avoid endless discussion groups, which do not arrive at any impactful results. As the topic of safety in automated driving is a really far reaching topic across many domains, we do not claim to know the right way.
Based on previous initiatives, we know how essential it is to create a platform where we can connect with all the involved companies and stakeholders right from the start. This way we can discuss their thoughts and ideas and find the most effective way to drive the topic forward together.
The Autonomous serves as a platform for open dialogue, where we can collect and anchor the thoughts, ideas and concerns of experts coming from diverse fields in the autonomous driving industry. Based on the findings at our event on September 5, we will develop an effective model of collaboration to advance in setting up a global safety reference. TTTech Auto has begun this activity, but The Autonomous is a joint, multi-disciplinary effort from many involved parties. We are also looking forward to seeing how The Autonomous will evolve and what the next steps in driving the safety topic forward will be.
Safety is the most critical topic in autonomous driving and one of the hardest to define. In traditional industries, safe solutions need to be stable, thoroughly tested in every scenario and provide consistent performance. With the shift in the industry, new players, such as fast and dynamic software companies, are entering the market. They are not yet used to working in safety-critical industries, so with software there is the potential of weak links and vulnerabilities in cybersecurity. How can we balance these two extremes?
Ricky Hudi: When it comes to safe and robust solutions, there is no easy way to provide the highest safety levels and robustness, there is no cutting corners. We have many years of experience and a deep understanding when it comes to bringing safe and robust systems to the market. We know how to do all necessary tasks in the proper way. That is the reason why TTTech Auto initiated this event.
Every player in the autonomous driving ecosystem, from OEMs to newly entering disruptors, understands the essential role of safety and security and hence they are all assigning the highest priority to these topics and putting them first on their agenda. We see how these companies redefine styles of collaboration and the way solutions are built. The more traditional players are adopting new practices like agile software development, faster loops in designing solutions, with a clear focus on safety, stability and reliability. The agile disruptors also understand they are entering a safety-critical industry and they are therefore taking over principles associated with traditional OEMs in order to deliver safe and robust solutions while keeping agility on the forefront. This is good, since we have the best of both worlds and it enables us to build future-ready solutions faster and in more cost-effective way.
What would be the key changes we need to make in the industry’s working styles in order to solve the safety challenge?
Ricky Hudi: When it comes to the point to align forces to establish a reference or to establish a standard, these initiatives usually start on the regional level. A good example to illustrate this is the charging plug for electronic vehicles. Today, we can see many different types of charging plugs have evolved across different markets. It started with the first connectors, coming from Japan, then the Tesla connector emerged, later many OEMs aligned on the type 2 connector, while China still has a completely different one.
In order to ease a transition in the industry and for us to deliver a global reference on safety for autonomous mobility in a productive and cost-efficient way, we must first define a common set of principles and standards globally, right from the start. This way we can save money and time as well as reduce risk.
Find out more about The Autonomous. Start here: https://www.the-autonomous.com/
About the Contributor
With over 29 years of experience in the automotive and technology industry, Ricky Hudi acts as Chairman of The Autonomous. After holding various roles at BMW AG and AUDI AG he took over in January 2009 as EVP Development Electrical/Electronic AUDI AG. He also founded his own company “FMT – Future Mobility Technologies” and is leveraging a world-wide network of key players in the autonomous driving industry.
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