Autonomous driving, Theoresis: this is how we train the algorithms

An engineering company founded in 1987 in Turin is becoming one of the Italian references of autonomous driving. We are talking about Teoresi Group, a company present in four countries with over 800 employees, which develops technological solutions for the world ofautomotive (the head office is in the Piedmontese capital, the capital of the car) and which is specializing in particular in the management of algorithms that regulate driverless cars. Looking, however, also to other sectors such as the railway, medical and aerospace sectors. We visited the headquarters and talked to those who work “behind the scenes” of autonomous driving every day.

What Teoresi does

In addition to experimenting with actual autonomous driving, which we will discuss later, the peculiarity of Teoresi is that it has developed a virtual environment in which to simulate autonomous driving dynamics in the most diverse contexts, even those of greatest danger, in such a way as to refine more and more and – even if the verb is a bit strong – “train” the automatic learning algorithms that then allow the vehicles to move safely without any human intervention. The simulation part, they explain, is fundamental for autonomous driving, because real environments and situations are faithfully replicated on the screen. Therefore, initially we work without a prototype, and this allows at the initial stage to save time and money; then when the software is “mature” you can transfer the technological infrastructure to a real car and test the algorithms in the field, also learning from the real sensors on the car, in a fruitful and continuous exchange of data. During the simulation, carried out with software open source which gives Teoresi the possibility to work with other companies and not remain closed in on itself, the computer is able to simulate even the most diverse obstacles, trying more and more to “stress” the algorithms. Teoresi’s core business arises from this know-how: not so much recreating autonomous driving from scratch, as transferring knowledge to partners in the automotive industry to work on individual projects.

The autonomous driving experience

Inside the Teoresi headquarters we also experimented with real autonomous driving: a car equipped with cameras and sensors (and engineers inside ready to collect data) traveled a few meters in the parking lot, making curves and stopping at a pedestrian whom we made suddenly cross the street. “Today artificial intelligence – explains Valter Brasso, president of Teoresi – allows us to implement an intelligent brain that is able to learn through the experience gained with simulation. What is really complicated – he adds – is to manage and interpret the large number of data collected from the sensors on board the car. The other aspect to take into consideration is then that of security: for us it is essential to be able to give guarantees also from the point of view of cybersecurity, building systems that are safe and self-defend against external attacks “.

Smart roads and the future of mobility

What’s in the future of Teoresi? Meanwhile, there are the Smart Roads. These are intelligent roads, as the term suggests, on which integrated communication systems are installed between road and vehicle (sensors on the asphalt, traffic lights and smart bus stops, cameras, etc.) and also between vehicle and vehicle. These roads, thanks to powerful cloud infrastructures and continuous data analysis, will make it possible to improve the level of environmental sustainability (creating, for example, a green wave with traffic lights capable of communicating with cars) and greater safety. Hence the slogan “Zero emissions, zero traffic, zero accidents”, in a city that will increasingly be able to improve the quality of life and the inclusion of its citizens. This is not a dream but a not too distant future: one of the first Smart Roads will be born in Turin thanks to Torino City Lab, and Teoresi is at the forefront to provide technological knowledge. But beyond the Smart Roads there is more. “We are already looking to Space – Valter Brasso confides excitedly – to what the future will be, starting with flying cars up to the conquest of new territories and new opportunities. We are already working on it ”.