Connected Car News: Deepen AI, BlackBerry, L-SPARK, Volvo & Spectralics

In connected car news are, Deepen AI, BlackBerry, L-SPARK, Volvo and Spectralics.

Deepen AI Works with ASAM for OpenLABEL for Data Labeling

Deepen AI led the working group within ASAM to launch OpenLABEL – the first-ever global standard for multi-sensor data labeling and scenario tagging.

Data labeling is fundamental to teach machines to perceive and understand the world. Open-labeled datasets have fueled the growth and development of ML methods for perception in ADAS and AV over the last decade (Waymo open dataset, KITTI, NuScenes, Argoverse, etc.). 

A major problem is that all of these datasets, and the majority of the organizations building labeled datasets use their own taxonomies, formats, and data models to encode the information in a static, goal-specific, and heterogeneous way. This produces the following problems:

  • Limited reuse of annotated datasets.
  • Challenges regarding maintenance and updating of the annotations
  • Limited sharing of datasets across the industry and between industry and academia.
  • Negative impact on the quality of annotations.

OpenLABEL solves these issues by providing a common format and data model to structure and organize the information regarding multi-sensor data labeling (cameras, lidar, etc) in a standardized manner. OpenLABEL also defines a standardized set of tags and the data model to categorize and organize test scenarios for ADAS and AV.

“ASAM OpenLABEL is the first-of-its-kind standard, and definitely not a conventional one. It is underpinned by an entirely novel approach to labeling that enables a much more efficient way to manage and maintain labels and their semantics through the use of ontologies. We are confident that OpenLABEL will significantly help the industry in iterating faster, sharing data more efficiently, and ultimately deploy safe ADAS and AV systems sooner.” – Nicola CroceTechnical Program Manager, Deepen AI, OpenLABEL project leader and member of the ASAM Technical Steering Committee.

“ASAM OpenLABEL is a completely new standard that unifies multisensor dataset labeling and scenario tagging and facilitates their exchangeability. The standardized format and common data models as well as the application of ontologies as a basis, will lead to a noticeable increase in the quality of the labeled datasets and thus in the safety of autonomous driving. Especially if used in combination with ASAM’s OpenXOntology (to be released in December 2021), ASAM OpenLABEL will lead to more efficient development cycles, freeing up capacities for other tasks. As this is worldwide the first standard to tackle the issue of labeling, we are sure that ASAM OpenLABEL will soon be a widely used standard in the industry.” – Peter Voss, Managing Director ASAM e.V.

OpenLABEL will significantly contribute to increasing the quality of annotated datasets, their maintainability, the ability to share, combine and repurpose them.

Deepen AI
Deepen is the only safety-first annotation solution that allows you to label every 3D point for thousands of frames at scale. Supporting all state-of-the-art labeling features.

ASAM e.V. (Association for Standardization of Automation and Measuring Systems) is actively promoting standardization in the automotive industry. Together with its more than 370 member organizations worldwide, the association develops standards that define interfaces and data models for tools used for the development and testing of electronic control units (ECUs) and for the validation of the entire vehicle. The ASAM portfolio currently comprises 34 standards that are applied in tools and toolchains in automotive development all over the world.

BlackBerry and L-Spark SaaS Accelerates to Level 3 with IVY

BlackBerry Limited and L-SPARK, Canada’s largest software-as-a-service accelerator,  announced a third phase of their joint accelerator program, which aims to grow Canadian technology companies focused on connected vehicle solutions.

Following the success of the first and second cohorts, the partnership will once again help small and medium-sized technology enterprises (SMEs) grow their businesses and bring new products to market using BlackBerry® QNX® technology. New this year, the accelerator will provide selected companies with access to BlackBerry’s Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform – BlackBerry IVY™, enabling them to develop high-impact solutions leveraging in-vehicle data to improve driver and passenger experiences.

Announced in December 2020 as part of a multi-year, global agreement with Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), BlackBerry IVY is a vehicle-first, cloud-connected software platform that presents vehicle data in a normalized format. BlackBerry IVY insights can easily be consumed by applications on or off the vehicle and are managed via a cloud console. The BlackBerry IVY development environment enables insights to be easily created from vehicle data, safely and securely.

“After two successful cohorts with L-SPARK we look forward to going to back to the deep talent pool that exists within the Canadian start-up scene to help identify those companies that share our vision: a transportation industry – and in-vehicle experience – transformed by data,” said Peter Virk, Vice President of IVY Product and Ecosystem, BlackBerry. “As we continue to build out a robust ecosystem of services and automotive applications to leverage the rich data insights that BlackBerry IVY provides, we can’t wait to see the ideas and use cases that will emerge to help automakers unlock the vast potential of next generation intelligent connected vehicles.”

“Imagine the possibilities when we combine the Canadian SME community’s imagination with the technological depth and market reach of BlackBerry”, said Leo Lax, Executive Managing Director of L-SPARK. “The breadth of applications, the depth of innovation, and market traction when combined through this accelerator program will be ground-breaking. I look forward to seeing the transformative services demonstrated for use in the transportation industry and the in-vehicle experience of the drivers using these applications driven by BlackBerry IVY.”

L-SPARK will again turn to the expertise of the National Research Council of Canada-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), to reach out to companies with business models and technologies that could benefit from working with the BlackBerry QNX product group.

Applications will stay open until March 7th, 2022. BlackBerry and L-SPARK will then host a selection day where they will choose up to six companies to join the third cohort of the program.

Volvo Invests in Spectralics

Volvo Cars has invested in the optical and imaging technology start-up Spectralics through the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the company’s venture capital investment arm. The investment gives Volvo Cars access to promising technology at an early stage of development that could contribute to making cars safer and revolutionise in-car user experience.

Coming from a background in aerospace technology development, Israel-based Spectralics creates state-of-the-art imaging and optical infrastructure spanning materials, hardware and software, enabling a wide variety of advanced optical capabilities.

One of the company’s core solutions is the multi-layered thin combiner (MLTC) which is a new type of thin optics ‘film’ applicable to see-through surfaces of all shapes and sizes. Integrated into a car’s windshield or windows, the technology could be used to overlay imagery on the glass.

In a windshield configuration, the technology could create a wide field of view ‘heads-up display’ that can instill a sense of distance as virtual objects are superimposed onto the real-world environment for a safe and immersive experience.

“Spectralics is an exciting company with technology that holds truly great promise,” said Henrik Green, chief product officer at Volvo Cars. “By supporting their development, we can bring forward the potential their products could have in future Volvo cars.”

Other potential uses of the technology include advanced filters for various applications, in-cabin sensing, blind-proof front-looking cameras and digital holographic projections.

“We are proud to partner with a progressive technology leader like Volvo Cars,” said Ran Bar-Yosef, co-founder and chief executive officer of Spectralics. “We identify multiple touch-points with Volvo Cars’ vision in the ecosystem and recognize future Volvos as the right fit for new technologies.”

Spectralics is an alumnus of the MobilityXLab programme in Gothenburg, Sweden and is part of the DRIVE network in Tel-Aviv, Israel. They are both accelerators for promising start-ups with ideas that can break new ground in the mobility sector. Volvo Cars has been a leading partner in both initiatives since 2017.

“This investment is another result of our successful collaboration with MobilityXlab and DRIVE, and it deepens our relationship with these innovation partners,” said Lee Ma, head of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. “Spectralics is a good portfolio fit for us and we believe that their technology has the potential to set a standard for the next generation of displays and cameras.”

The Volvo Cars Tech Fund was launched in 2018 and invests in high-potential technology start-ups around the globe. It focuses its investments on strategic technology trends transforming the auto industry, such as artificial intelligence, electrification and autonomous driving.