Autonomous driving is an incredibly tricky technology to get right and it requires mountains of data to do so. Which is why Audi is investing a big wad of cash into TTTech Auto, a company that helps manage data for autonomous driving.
Audi joined American parts supplier Aptiv, Samsung Electronics, and German chipmaker Infineon to invest $285 million into TTTech Auto. However, TTTech Auto doesn’t actually create any autonomous driving software or algorithms of its own. Instead, it creates systems that help manage all of the various data inputs autonomous driving systems require, to ensure the reliability and safety of it.
“Think of us as a kind of orchestral conductor managing the flow of information,” TTTech Auto chief executive Georg Kopetz told Fortune. “A sensor signal detecting a potential crash has to be assigned the highest priority in the car’s IT network, so a command can be sent to activate the brakes in just milliseconds.”
What’s interesting is that the main software product TTTech Auto offers, MotionWise, actually works with various different chipsets. Different car companies use different chip suppliers for their self-driving hardware; Qualcomm, Nvidia, and Intel are just some of them. TTTech Auto’s software works with any of them and can be updated at any time, regardless of its chipset.
TTTech Auto also previously helped Audi create the Level 3 autonomous driving system in the current Audi A8. When Audi first unveiled that system, it was actually too advanced for government regulations, which meant Audi couldn’t sell it in most markets. That led to Audi sort of forgetting about it.
The goal of TTTech Auto is to democratize self-driving tech, allowing all automakers to use its software in any car, with any chipset. This would bring the cost of autonomous driving down, allowing it to be used by the masses.
It seems as if Audi and TTTech Auto have a good working relationship and this could help the four-ringed brand once again develop the best self-driving tech in the business sometime in the near future.