Simulation Platform for Autonomous Vehicles
Source: Corporate Vision
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. Recognised by Corporate Vision magazine as 2022’s Leading Autonomous Vehicle Technology Start-up – South Korea, we take a closer look at the company.
MORAI was founded in 2018 as a start-up by former Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) autonomous driving researchers who are dedicated to creating autonomous driving simulation platforms and have now started to provide simulation software for verifying the safety and reliability of self-driving systems.
Over 100 clients are using MORAI’s core simulation platform across multiple industries, academia, and the government, including Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai AutoEver, Hyundai Mobis, Naver Labs, and 42Dot, as well as research institutes and universities such as Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute and Korea Automotive Technology Institute.
MORAI’s mission is to make the world a safer place with its best-in-class simulation platforms by helping researchers and manufacturers test their products effectively and make improvements based on the test results. With its autonomous driving simulation platform, MORAI aims to reduce the time of commercialising driving by more than half of what the industry currently expects. Its data-driven simulation approach delivers values along each step of the vehicle development process, from the project inception stage to the testing and acceptance trial stage.
MORAI’s autonomous driving simulation helps to verify vehicles and systems by establishing a virtual road environment, digitally twinning everything, from complex traffic conditions to weather and even lighting changes. By offering technologies such as the Digital Twin, which uses HD map data to replicate the complex road environments in virtual space, MORAI helps its customers to verify and validate their driving software and systems more accurately. MORAI’s simulation platforms can be applied to autonomous driving and other areas like urban air mobility (UAM), logistics and smart cities.
The technology also uses surrounding vehicle algorithms, meaning it can either allow users to fine-tune key parameters that control the AI driver models and simulated traffic flow using OpenAPI, or take vehicle movement data recorded from real traffic data and reproduce precise scenarios within the simulation environment.
Safety is one of the main arguments for using simulations to test autonomous vehicles. Prototypes operated by market leaders are almost always manned by safety drivers, yet they have still caused a wide range of accidents, from minor collisions to major incidents. In addition, any automated system must undergo some form of verification and validation, even more if it involves human safety. In particular, autonomous driving systems directly related to human safety require rigorous verification in order to ensure the safety of both drivers and pedestrians. However, as the real road test is to operate an unverified autonomous vehicle, dangerous situations may occur during the verification process, as there is a limit to testing various unexpected situations and weather conditions, and it is impossible to conduct sufficient tests.
To solve these problems and achieve full autonomy, virtual test solutions that can replicate the complexity and scale of real road environments and traffic are needed. MORAI believes that simulation is the solution to achieve full autonomy. When developing autonomous vehicles, development speed, verification cost, and coping capabilities vary greatly depending on the effectiveness of the simulator.
As the autonomous vehicle market becomes larger and more competitive, the need for simulation verification technology will increase. Indeed, there is a huge need for simulators, but many of the simulation solutions currently available are not good enough for the industry to use. For almost every system such as cars, aeroplanes, and ships, as well as autonomous vehicles, simulation is a must. MORAI continues to respond to the growing demand for autonomous vehicle driving simulators by providing the most optimised verification tool for engineers.
Additionally, MORAI has recently introduced its cloud-based offering, MORAI SIM to increase the efficiency of large-scale simulation works. MORAI SIM provides a cloud-based solution that builds a myriad of simulation environments without hardware restrictions and enables simultaneous testing. This means increased test efficiency at it enables users to run a large number of simulation tests with a single computer without hardware restrictions (usually, multiple computers are required to perform like this). This solution is useful for a variety of industries including automotive, academia, trucking, defence, aerial, and more.
With regards to the long-term, MORAI’s goal is to make its simulation technology the Windows of simulators. It is looking to invest further research and development, and by leveraging its team’s expertise, the plan is to mature its models to the point that they can be adopted as the industry standard.
Global expansion is also one of MORAI’s main priorities, with it believing that collaborating and building relationships with international companies is vital. Thus, it is venturing into overseas markets through collaboration with global firms such as NVIDIA, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Velodyne Lidar, Ansys, dSPACE, and more. Alongside this, it will be expanding its business partnerships with companies like HD-map providers and co-simulation companies, and exploring the way to create an ecosystem in the autonomous industry.