SME Interview Series: LHP and Konrad Technologies Partner on A³DAS Solution
LHP’s Vice President of Marketing, Marty Muse, sat down with Steve Neemeh, Chief Technology
Officer at LHP, and special guest, Ram Mirwani, the Director of Global Business Development at Konrad Technologies, to discuss their new A³DAS Solution - workflow management with test capability for ADAS/AD functional safety standards within the automotive industry.
LHP and Konrad Technologies have partnered together and want to introduce what that partnership means to you and the customer, and perhaps what it means to you as a stakeholder of these companies. We want to jump right in, so let’s go!
What is Konrad Technologies? What value is Konrad Technologies driving for customers every day?
Konrad Technologies has been around for more than 25 years. We are system integrators and specialists in building automated test equipment in several different domains and market spaces, like consumer electronics, automotive, and medical, to name a few.
About 10 years ago, we really started working on the ADAS front, to provide next-generation test capability for both ADAS and autonomous driving systems. That is where we bring value, integrating the sensors together with electronic control units (ECUs) and the software algorithms, and providing in-lab test platforms that can be utilized before the vehicle, and the technology hits the world. That is really where we have been focusing, specific to ADAS.
Great! Exciting times, for sure! Steve, tell our audience more about LHP, our customer base, and the value that we are providing to them.
LHP has been around for 20 years now and has focused on embedded systems in the automotive space. However, in the last decade or so, we have been especially focused on safety and critical applications, how to develop the processes, and how to integrate tools for them.
From a consulting standpoint, if you think about the span of the engineering diagram, we cover a large portion of that for most of our clients. And now, automotive is becoming safety-critical, almost one and the same, given the fact that ADAS and autonomy are now prevalent in the marketplace and will be for the coming decades.
Please highlight the value of this partnership and what it means to LHP.
The scope of autonomous driving, ADAS, and safety is so large and challenging that I think no one company can really cover it all. We have two verticals here; one in the consulting, safety, and process spaces, and one in the test equipment and automation spaces – two of the most important items for validating autonomous driving and ADAS. I think it is great for LHP to have a partner that can handle something as complex as automating ADAS testing, and then, eventually, autonomous driving.
What does this partnership mean to those running the Konrad Technologies business, and what value are LHP and Konrad Technologies able to create together?
Konrad has been involved in the test automation space for a long time. At the same time, we recognize that standards are evolving in the automotive space, in terms of how these functionalities are being developed and tested. We feel that we are partnering with an expert in consulting for creating these workflow processes and managing these standards. Having a partner like LHP puts us in a really good position to continue bringing value to this market space, which is evolving very rapidly between the standards and each functional application.
From the customer’s perspective, what value does this partnership bring?
If you think about where the automotive industry is going, autonomy is driving ADAS, and the level of complexity in the development cycles is increasing. The test cycles mandate automation. We have a partner in Konrad Technologies, a company that specializes in automation.
Vehicles must become capable of operating with little or no human control or intervention. They must be safe, and “safe” has been the keyword in this discussion. Today, that word is even more prevalent, for many reasons. Safe means processes. Safe means workflow. To achieve a truly safe vehicle, you need the proper tools. Automating, with all these elements wrapped together, is a value to the customer.
I think the additional challenge is the short timeframe to release updates and release new functionality. Not only is the application more complex, but you must also find a way to develop it and test in a safe environment. However, you also need to have a very quick deployment path. The path must adhere to certain standards. The value of our combined platforms is that you can simultaneously develop capability, while also ensuring that you are meeting certain standards. That simultaneous capability is really the value that our combined platform can deliver to our customers.
Thinking forward about the combined solution between LHP and Konrad Technologies, what is it? How does it work? Who is it for? What pain points does it solve? And, from our perspective, how is it going to be differentiated in the market?
Think of an automated piece of test equipment and the effort it takes to design that and have that platform to build upon. Then, think about functional safety and ADAS, safety in general, and all the complex needs of functionally safe autonomous driving. The application lifecycle management (ALM) tool is going to control these requirements, the test cases, and the steps that are taken.
At the end of the day, when you have got a test run off our radar or a full suite of ADAS, you can defend that position to an auditor if they ask you whether you validated the safety situation. So, not only are you doing the work, but you are doing it within a methodology that is defensible in front of an auditor, and potentially in front of a legal team. That is a huge value, and it is going to be an important key thing that automotive companies face as they produce and release autonomous systems.
Building again off what Steve said, I think it is going to be very important. When you record measurements, or when you are validating to a certain standard, there is usually a process in place that is already being adhered to. How do you bring that process into the and ADAS and ADAS design flow? That is going to be the challenge, and that is the impact that I think our combined platform is going to bring to the table.
Speaking of the platform and combined solution, when can customers expect to see the initial demonstrations of that solution?
We are already in the process of building our initial demonstrations and completing the connectivity of the platforms. The initial starting point is on the functional test for the radar sensor, where we are using a workflow development interface that is cloud-based and coming from the LHP side, connected to the ADAS test workbench from the Konrad side. We are now at a point where we can set up different test plans in the LHP interface, which are, in turn, connected to our test workbench from Konrad Technologies. The measurement data can then be sent back and uploaded to the LHP workflow process, which is cloud-based. So, that implementation is already completed. Now we are taking it to the next step, figuring out how to roll it out and how to communicate with some of the users. At this point, that is where we are. So, I would say that customers are likely to see the initial demonstrations of our solution in a few months.
From a consulting perspective, we are ready to have discussions now. So, system-level discussions, taking in the voice of a customer… I think as we build out the solution, that is an ideal way to engage with it.
What does the future hold for this partnership over the next few months? What can our customers expect as far as rollout and go-to-market perspectives are concerned? And when can they expect to start learning more from both Konrad Technologies and LHP?
The next phase is for us to identify several automotive-related events over the next two quarters, where we will be showcasing our combined platforms and collecting feedback on additional elements that may need to be considered for the combined capability of the LHP and Konrad Technologies platforms. Those considerations will be our key focus in terms of go-to-market. We are going to roll out the current capability, gather more impact information, and continue building upon the solution.
Great! Before we break, are there any other last comments from either of you about the new partnership?
I would like to say that I am very excited to have our two companies come together, really bringing our best minds together, to figure out how we can make a differentiated value proposition for the ADAS and ADS capability and requirements that are coming down the road. Being able to work with the experts on the LHP team has been very rewarding and extremely eye-opening. It has been a great partnership!
If someone is interested in getting a hold of you, Ram, or Konrad Technologies immediately, what is the best way for them to do that?
The easiest way is to contact me at email@example.com and we will respond to it as quickly as we can. This has been a great privilege, and definitely a very exciting joint effort with LHP. We appreciate it.
Steve, what is the best way for someone to reach you?
Same way, at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am also very active on LinkedIn:linkedin.com/in/steven-neemeh and I welcome direct contact there.
If you are interested in reaching out to us about our combined solution, reach out to Steve or reach out to Ram. If you are interested in further ADAS information or ADAS content, LHP is constantly putting out high-quality technical content. As a matter of fact, I will drop a link here pointing to additional recent ADAS interviews: https://www.lhpes.com/blog/top-10-questions-to-consider-when-implementing-adas content that we have recently produced as a precursor to today's conversation.