Karlab – Automotive R&D

KARlab consists in creating an innovative system to introduce drivers to future interactions with the vehicles of tomorrow (autonomous, connected, ecological). It is also a way to upgrade the skills of ELSYS Design and AViSTO future engineers.

About KARLab

KARlab is a R & D project jointly led by ELSYS Design and AViSTO. It has been invested in equity since January 2018 in the ADVANS Lab of Sophia Antipolis and is part of a multi-year program of projects related to the automotive industry.

The vehicule of tomorrow

The vehicle of tomorrow, particularly innovative, will offer new driving interactions for users. Totally autonomous in the long term, it will also be able to communicate with its environment: we talk about V2X, or Vehicle-to-everything (infrastructure, network, other vehicle, pedestrian, device, grid …).In order to investigate the many related emerging technologies and prepare to support our customers in the automotive industry to meet future needs, we have developed an innovative karting platform in our Sophia Antipolis lab.

Karting, an adapted playground

To demonstrate our technological know-how at the electronic (embedded system) and software (immersive technologies, IA, big data …) levels applied to the automotive environment, we chose to work around a virtual karting race.The pilot, equipped with a mixed reality helmet, interacts with virtual elements placed in the real world. When he touches them, it involves actions on his own kart, or that of his opponents (acceleration, slowdown …).

At the software level, we are working particularly on the graphical interfaces offered to the pilot (e.g. speed, ideal trajectories, virtual traffic signs), as well as the possible interactions to assist him in his driving. We also realize the V2X communications protocols, as well as artificial intelligence algorithms used by the vehicle to make decisions. At the hardware level, we design a hardware architecture that consists in two systems:- A fixed system: WIFI server and router placed on the track.- A system embedded on the kart.

The latter is itself divided into two subsystems:

  • The first designed by ELSYS Design around an NVIDIA JETSON TX2 development kit,
  • The second provided by a partner, composed of sensor systems (steering wheel angle, pedal angle, engine speed …) and actuators (motor, steering and hydraulic brake).

Of course, a communicating system implies strong constraints for securing the data exchanged in real time. We have implemented a CAN FD communication protocol and the AUTOSAR automotive standard.

Finally, we have also chosen to apply part of the ISO 26262 standard to meet the needs of the automotive industry.

For Jérôme, who manages the hardware & software perimeters of the project, as well as the realization of the mixed reality sub-parts of the software solution: “The automotive sector is undergoing a strong transformation. It is exciting to work on such a project, in which we experiment and apply innovative technologies to reinvent the driving habits.”

Ramp-up in skills

More than a car demonstrator, this project is also an opportunity to ramp-up the skills of the future ELSYS Design and AViSTO engineers. Indeed, various internships have been offered to students, both in hardware (development of an interface board with environmental sensors RADAR, LIDAR, GPS, accelerometer …) and in software (development of kart controls in real time, kart / server data exchange in Wifi, machine learning …).

For Florian, an analog electronics engineer: “The KARlab project is a very complete topic for the ADVANS Group, not only as a proof of concept of an automotive demonstrator, which allows us to tackle many technical challenges, but also as a way to ramp-up the skills of the current and coming engineers of ELSYS Design and AViSTO. The more we move forward, the more we see that ELSYS Design’s and AVISTO’s activities complement each other in the realization of such a project. The technical topics are vast and complex. Our ambitions are up to those of ADVANS Group.The atmosphere within the project? 5 to 10 engineers between 20 and 30 years old who were offered to develop an interactive kart: it is like being part of a very successful start-up!”

Would you like to discuss with us about your own project? Don’t hesitate to contact us!