PALO ALTO, Calif., March 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — RightHook, developer of self-driving vehicle simulation technologies, today announced its first product, Similr, the world’s first commercial software platform for testing autonomous vehicles in a virtual world.
The United States has over 30,000 preventable road deaths a year, and autonomous vehicle manufacturers are working hard to prevent them. Bringing an autonomous car to the mass market is a difficult challenge. “Everyone in the sector needs better tools,” says RightHook CEO and co-founder Warren Ahner, “but no one has offered an off-the-shelf virtual testing solution until now.”
Similr addresses safety by testing millions of miles in a virtual world. “Testing in the real world is expensive and time-consuming. The RAND Corporation estimates you need over 11 billion miles of driving to demonstrate that an autonomous car is only 20% safer than a human. A thousand test cars — driving non-stop, 365 days a year — would take 50 years to reach 11 billion miles. Similr solves that problem in hours.”
Companies are trying to move fast, but they can’t do it cost-effectively, and they can’t do it alone. “Developing toolchains while developing your core product can be distracting,” cautions RightHook CTO Jon Mullen. “It leads you in weird directions. Our customers appreciate our ability to provide consistent outside validation.”
“There are two types of tests,” according to Ahner, “the type that makes us feel warm and fuzzy, and the type that provides statistical confidence in the systems to which we entrust our lives.”
As a neutral party in the development and testing space, RightHook helps all vehicles reach a much higher degree of safety, on a much shorter timeline than manufacturers can execute internally. “By working with multiple customers, we can aggregate far more autonomous scenarios and edge cases than any customer could on their own,” says Ahner. “We can take these lessons and create harder scenarios and new edge cases for all of our customers.”
“Safety should be democratized,” Ahner insists. “Passengers in self-driving cars should be able to make their choices based on the same criteria we use today: ride quality, design and brand affiliation. A safe system should be a given, not a feature.”
Contact: Warren Ahner, firstname.lastname@example.org