Purpose-built Autonomy Driver for OEM GNSS Receiver Built on Robot Operating System

Hexagon | NovAtel has released its first purpose-built driver, powered by Robot Operating System (ROS), to support its OEM7 family of GNSS receivers. The driver, developed by NovAtel engineers, provides an optimized interface enabling users to accelerate autonomous development projects by quickly incorporating NovAtel OEM7 receivers into custom applications. The driver is available for immediate download through the new NovAtel GitHub repository or as a ROS Binary Package for direct installation.

With the release of the ROS driver, developers can now access critical data needed to build autonomy algorithms for academic investigations, ride-share programs, and other applications. Data from several sensors can be combined to help move projects into higher levels of autonomy faster without the need to adapt community-developed drivers. Tested using the Hexagon | AutonomouStuff platform, the driver ensures that the data received accurately reflects the output provided by the receiver, while also giving users the ability to record raw data for post-processing.

“We are excited to introduce our first purpose-built driver powered by ROS to the GitHub community. Its development is a result of collaboration between NovAtel and AutonomouStuff in support of Hexagon’s Smart Autonomous Mobility (SAM) initiative, unveiled at CES 2020 in Las Vegas,” notes Miguel Amor, Chief Marketing Officer, Hexagon’s Autonomy & Positioning division. “The SAM portfolio is a comprehensive solutions platform that brings together all the necessary sensors, software and services to make autonomous driving possible.”

The new driver is available for download on the NovAtel GitHub repository.

Robot Operating System (ROS) is robotics middleware (i.e. collection of software frameworks for robot software development). Although ROS is not an operating system, it provides services designed for a heterogeneous computer cluster such as hardware abstraction, low-level device control, implementation of commonly used functionality, message-passing between processes, and package management (from Wikipedia)

The Smart Autonomous Mobility portfolio includes three solution sets: Enable, Accelerate and Deploy.

  • Enable: Hexagon enables customers to fast-track R&D with hardware, software, and services to quickly enable autonomous driving systems across a variety of vehicle platforms and applications. From providing a turn-key automated driving research vehicle platform for field testing, integrating a customisable and assured positioning engine with reliable correction services, and offering baseline simulation tools and high-accuracy ground truth, Hexagon has already enabled thousands of customers worldwide with these technologies.
  • Accelerate: Hexagon enables customers to create Smart Digital RealitiesTM – seamless workflows between real-world and simulated environments. To drive even 20% better than a human driver requires 11 billion miles of validation, which is equivalent to 500 years of non-stop driving in the real world with a fleet of 100 cars. With machine learning, simulation and testing for entire system performance and engineering and integration services, and HD digital reality capture, visualisation and on-demand feature extraction, Hexagon allows customers to optimise, verify and validate the necessary billions of miles of driving required to safely deploy autonomous vehicles to the road.
  • Deploy: Hexagon allows customers to quickly scale from prototype and R&D phases to production for any autonomous application. The automotive-grade hardware solutions, autonomy software technologies, and functionally safe positioning solutions and services available in Hexagon’s Smart Autonomous Mobility portfolio are ready to deploy at scale for:
    • Mass production of passenger vehicles
    • Neighborhood electrical vehicles (NEV)
    • Tractor trailers (class 8)
    • Off-road vehicles for mining, agriculture and defense
    • Robotics, aviation, marine and space travel

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