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MORAI: High Definition Simulation Platform for Autonomous Vehicles

Source: CIO Applications

MORAI Inc. is a South Korean technology company that develops simulation platforms to verify the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles. It is the only company in Korea that develops and supplies full-stack autonomous driving simulation solutions, including core simulation engines. MORAI was founded in 2018 by former Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) autonomous driving researchers dedicated to creating autonomous driving simulation platforms.

In an interview with CIO Applications, KeeyRyong SONG, COO of MORAI, shares insights into how MORAI is making a difference with its simulation platform.

KeeRyong SONG, COO

Differentiating Factors in the Simulation Market

We believe effective testing tools are essential elements to materializing the dream of safe and efficient autonomous vehicles. But we are not limited in this particular area. Our platform has the capability to test autonomous ships, underwater submarines, UAVs, and UAMs.

Our simulation solutions are also used across the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and the government sectors, where projects entail a huge amount of monetary investment. We are striving to make everything testable before it happens.

Our simulation platform, MORAI SIM, entails cutting-edge technologies, like the digital twin, to create complex road environments in virtual space based on HD map data. It allows clients to verify and validate everything before launch. We bridge the gap between cost-effectiveness and advanced technology. That’s why leading companies, including Hyundai and Samsung, are adopting our simulators.

Challenges in the Simulation Market

Testing a scenario varies depending on different environments. For example, the road surface is stable compared to the sea. Similarly, simulation in air depends on the factors like wind direction, density, or clouds.

One of our biggest strengths is that we can customize our simulator based on the environment. Unlike the startups that can only sell pre-made simulators on the market, in addition to our “basic simulator”, we also provide “add-on service”, which is customizing our simulator according to the customers needs. For example, customers can ask to add a specific feature which is specifically tailored for a specific purpose. Additionally, our clients can add a specific function so that Morai’s simulator can co-function with the clients’ existing tech stack.

While developing autonomous vehicles, variables like development speed, verification cost, and coping capabilities keep changing depending on the effectiveness of the simulator. The upsurge of competition within the autonomous vehicle market necessitates simulation verification technology. We leverage the most optimized verification tools for engineers to respond to the growing demand for autonomous vehicle driving simulators.

The current simulation space requires a huge number of simulators. However, the simulation solutions available in the market are often subpar. Conversely, our platform—built with digital twin technology—verifies scenarios for tens of thousands of situations with minimal resources.

We have also launched MORAI SIM Cloud, which provides a simulation environment that enhances accessibility and convenience for users regardless of their PC specifications and location. It is a Software as a Service (SaaS) model of the existing MORAI autonomous driving simulator that allows users to perform countless simulation tests in the cloud without the process of installing any software onto local computers. In addition, the cloud-based method increases test efficiency as it enables users to run a large number of simulation tests, simultaneously, with a single computer.

Simulation Solutions Benefitting Clients

Our road scenarios in the simulation are extracted from the data accumulated from real-road tests and operations, creating realistic scenarios. The simulation platform creates road scenarios by leveraging the data. It tries to simulate almost all situations that autonomous vehicles can encounter on real roads. Our road environment generation automatically streamlines high-definition map data into 3D road, further building digital twins of road networks.

"With our platfprm, clients and partners can test autonomous ships, underwater submarines, UAVs, and UAMs"

Based on the actual traffic situation dataset, test scenarios are created in compliance with international safety standards such as ISO and ASM (OPNE X format). The graphical user interface (GUI) further generates numerous realistic scenarios that help verify vehicles for complex and diverse scenarios like weather, traffic, obstacles, and trajectories. Most importantly, our simulator is compatible with other simulators, allowing clients to drive co-simulation.

Scripting Intriguing Instances of Client Success

We built a simulation environment using HD map data and kinetic data (surrounding vehicles and pedestrians) that a Korean IT giant had collected for its autonomous driving test beds from Pangyo and Sangam areas. Using the digitally replicated environment, the company repeatedly conducted various virtual environment testing to advance its autonomous driving system and to mount the system on its autonomous driving robot platform. By utilizing MORAI’s autonomous vehicle simulation platform as a verification tool, they were able to dramatically accelerate the initial development process of its autonomous driving system and improve its overall quality.

Distinct Features of MORAI

Usually, a simulator needs high-performance computers (HPC) because it eats up a lot of memory, graphics and everything. But our Saas based simulation service is based on cloud services, like AWS, Azure, NaverCloud, Google Cloud which can be accessible to anybody and any place in the world by obtaining an ID and a password.

Inside Korea, numerous universities are teaching simulation directly or indirectly. And our simulator is used most across the nation. Everybody who’s learning simulation in Korea has experience with our simulator. We created a SaaS model, and any university or professor can contact us to create an educational curriculum without buying expensive high performing computers.

“Safety”, “Scalability” and “Efficiency” are the three key benefits our simulator provides. Our test scenarios enhance scalability by running multiple systems in parallel, to test more within a given time. The vehicle models are built to scale and are dimensionally identical to real vehicles. We design the sensors with specifications that support movement similar to a real vehicle. The actual vehicle behavior test data supports urban air mobility (UAM), as well as sedans, SUVs, and commercial vehicles.

We also support a mixed reality testing method that utilizes the accuracy of Vehicle-in-the-Loop (VIL) systems and the safety provided by simulation. The automatic labeling of sensor data and virtual datasets enable the automatic creation of user-specific datasets.

Through our servers, distributed computing of sensors and vehicles is made possible, enabling speedy simulations. We provide tests at a much lower cost than conventional methods. In the long term, we are looking to invest further in research and development by leveraging MORAI’s expertise and planning to mature our models to the point that they can be adopted as the industry standard.

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