“The car of the future will be constantly updated"
In our #CodeThatMovesTheWorld series, we’re talking to our digital minds at CARIAD to get an insight into their work, see what drives them and hear about their visions for future automotive mobility. This week, we talk to Moritz Venator, Coordinator Big Loop / Data Analytics Perception ADAS & AD.
Born in Wolfsburg, Moritz grew up close to all things automotive. His bachelor’s degree combined practical, electrical engineering work at Volkswagen with studies at the Hochschule Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel, centering around automation, energy systems and electromobility. After his first wave of studies, Moritz was eager to dive deeper into the world of driver assistance systems, connectivity, and machine learning. He took a master’s degree at the Technical University of Munich and wrote his thesis at Audi, with a focus on deep learning. He later wrote a doctoral thesis in pattern recognition, also at Audi and together with the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Erlangen. At Audi, Moritz worked in the image processing and camera systems division, which later became a part of CARIAD that we know today. So, how does Moritz work on the code that moves the world?
Hi Moritz, how would you describe your current role at CARIAD?
In my team, we’re working on image processing systems that’ll be introduced into production models in the next years. The focus of our work is on data-driven software development.
Data is incredibly important for perception, which is the first step in an automated driving system. A car uses sensors to perceive its surroundings and, using the information that it gathers, has to decide what to do next. The problem is, there’s so much that could happen around a car. Is a pedestrian walking across the street? Is there some sort of obstruction? What do the road markings look like? The data we evaluate has to reflect all of that. With Big Loop, we can analyze ADAS and automated driving functions further to find out what works well and what doesn’t.
We’re a relatively newly formed team and it’s amazing to see just how well we’re able to collaborate in the digital world. Some of us, like me, have moved internally from one of the brands in the Volkswagen Group, so we’ve already been around for a while and had the chance to build a network. But we also have colleagues who are completely new to the company. Despite those diverse backgrounds, and the challenges of working from home, we’re all really well integrated. CARIAD now has about 4000 new employees, all taken on via remote recruiting, and it feels great to be part of something big and game changing.
You mentioned the term ‘Big Loop’ – could you tell us a little more about that?
Big Loop is a software approach that’s all about continuously gathering data and making improvements to the car, even after it’s been delivered to the customer. We take huge amounts of data from large fleets of vehicles and analyze it to find out what functions perform well and which don’t. The more we can analyze vehicle behavior, the better we can test functions. Based on the results, we update the software and release a new version to customer cars. We then gather data from the new version, starting the cycle again – hence ‘Big Loop’.
At CARIAD, we’re looking at software development in a way that will enable the car to become more than just a static product. In the future, the car won’t be something that you buy and then never change. It’ll be constantly updated with new and improved functions. There are so many possibilities, and this is what’s really exciting to me about the transformation of the automotive industry.
So, that vast potential for automated driving is your ‘code to move the world’?
Absolutely. Automated driving is a huge enabler. Nowadays, if I drive from Munich to Berlin, I have to sit at the wheel for five hours and concentrate on driving. But to be able to do something else with those five hours…yes, that’s my vision.
To make that vision come true, CARIAD is looking for strong talent. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to apply to a position like yours?
Software is central to everything we do, so strong programming skills are obviously very important. Something like C++ is a good basis and we’re doing a lot with Python at the moment, too. A fundamental knowledge of AI, data science and machine learning is really useful – even more so if you understand how that technology can actually help us to better develop products and find data.
Speaking of colleagues, we’ll be talking next week to Halil Karacaoglu, who works at CARIAD as a User Experience Designer. What question would you like to ask him?
If he could choose any new feature, what would he want to see in automated driving from a user experience point of view?