Embotech: Orchestrating Autonomous Motion for a Better and Safer World

A sustainable embedded solution company is one that carries vital experience along with agility in its core business processes. Such a company should know its market well by working actively with end-customers, chip manufacturers and suppliers of complimentary software and should have innovation at its core in order to stay ahead of the game. One such company that is catching attention with many prominent clients across the European region is Embotech.

This Zurich, Switzerland-based tech startup has started its operation in 2013 and within half-a-decade it has grown to a prominent technology company in Switzerland. The company has built a niche in the market by developing cutting-edge decision-making software for autonomous motion: real-time Motion Planning solutions for autonomous vehicles (autonomous parking, highway driving, urban driving), for launching and landing re-useable rockets (Aerospace domain) and for other applications in the Energy domain such as wind turbines. With these cutting-edge solutions, Embotech is changing the landscape of autonomous motion for a better and safer world.

Inspiration behind its Inception

Embotech, short for embedded optimization technologies, was founded in 2013 as a spin-off from the ETH Zurich. The founders, Juan Jerez (VP Engineering) and Alexander Domahidi (CTO), wanted to further enhance the numerical optimization technology developed during their PhDs to be an integral part of tomorrow’s decision-making systems. Thus, embotech was born.

It was the sheer dedication, farsighted vision of the founders along with the adeptness of its high-calibre technical staff, that allowed embotech to successfully serve more than 30 clients across the globe in such a limited time. In these five years, the company has served many giants like the European Space Agency (ESA), VW, and Renault and has made Europe its stronghold business territory.

Leading Embotech

A good leader has a clear vision about the future, keeps a sharp eye on business objectives and works as a source of inspiration and motivation for all. Andreas Kyrtatos, the CEO at Embotech is one such leader who has been chosen by the founders to lead embotech into its high-growth phase.

A mechanical engineer by training, he worked in the energy and marine businesses for over a decade in R&D, project management and general management roles. Alongside work, he completed an executive Master’s degree in Business Law. He joined embotech as COO in early 2018 and took over as CEO a few months later. It is the result of Andreas’s meticulous attention to details and sharp business acumen that the team has been able to make embotech flourish.

He believes that sharing company’s future vision with employees, showing empathy and providing them constant motivation is the key to unlock the true potential of any organization, which ultimately lead towards sustainable success.

Flagship Product and Its Uniqueness

Embotech’s flagship product is its numerical core software tool – FORCES Pro. It is an auto-coder which automatically generates highly efficient embeddable C-code which is designed to solve complex motion problems, given a mathematical description by the user.

Embotech is using FORCES Pro to develop cutting-edge motion planning technology for autonomous vehicles and other machines. In the automotive space, the technology can be used for motion planning for Advanced Driver-Assist Systems (ADAS), and level 3 to 5 autonomous driving. When coupled with the necessary ADAS sensors, mapping and localization systems, the software is capable of safe path planning, including reacting to detected objects around the vehicle at the limits of handling.

The technology is agnostic to sensor technologies and can interface with lidar, radar, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors, to gather data and set up autonomous driving functions. The software supports vital embedded self-driving functions such as emergency maneuvers, Highway Pilot, Valet Parker (low-speed maneuvering and autonomous parking), and Urban Driver.

Owing to its numerical optimization core, the software does not require situational pre-programming or vehicle training. The system is vehicle-agnostic and can be applied to non-standard vehicle types, e.g. vehicles with a trailer or rear-axle steering.

Its parking module has been developed generically as a low speed maneuverer and is able to park in any situation independent of the parking spot geometry (parallel, perpendicular, diagonal, etc.), avoiding moving objects effectively along the way. The highway driving module delivers smooth trajectories for the comfort of the passengers and can handle situations up to the limits of handling of the car, contrary to currently available solutions. It can adapt the driving behavior of the vehicle in real-time taking into account passenger preferences or environmental situations such as slippery road due to sudden rain. “Embotech specializes in high-end real-time decision-making software for motion planning of autonomous vehicles,” asserts the CEO.

Other Embotech Solutions

Apart from the embedded autonomous driving solution, embotech has also developed an infrastructure-based parking solution, based on the same numerical core. In this case, sensors are integrated in the infrastructure and the real-time motion planner is located in the cloud. Vehicles can thus be remotely driven individually. In addition a future feature of the solution will allow at the same time to optimize traffic flow between several vehicles operated remotely in parallel.

In another automotive application designed to reduce fuel consumption and extend battery range, embotech is developing software for real-time energy management of hybrid and battery-driven vehicles (battery, electric motor, combustion engine, gearbox, etc.), each with highly different characteristics. In this application the Embotech software optimises the driving behaviour of the vehicle for a given road profile and traffic situation ahead.

Embotech also offers solutions for the Energy industry – in mid-2018, the company signed its first series contract with a leading European wind turbine manufacturer. Embotech’s optimization software will be implemented on the Electronics Control Units (ECUs) of wind turbines. The objective is to optimize in real-time the pitch of the blades, given fast wind measurements and predictions from the wind farm. This allows for better structural stability, longer run-times of wind turbines under diverse wind conditions, and less maintenance over lifetime optimizing profitability for wind turbine operators.

In the aerospace industry, embotech is active in motion planning software for reusable rockets: i.e. software that handles the launching of the rocket and the landing of some parts of it which can be reused to save cost. This motion planning code shares the same core as the motion planning code for autonomous vehicles. 

Why are embotech Solutions Popular?

There are several providers of motion planning across the globe but what makes Embotech unique is the combination of several state-of-the-art features which characterise its solutions, namely:

  • One of the fastest and most reliable real-time motion planners on the market
  • Embeddable everywhere (in any ECU type)
  • Physics based approach not using any AI or Deep Learning for motion planning, which has several benefits:
    • Fast adaption to new carlines/vehicles
    • Easy implementation in non-conventional vehicles, trucks and vehicles with trailers
    • Software, certifiable to automotive grade
  • Smooth driving trajectories, leading to better passenger comfort. Driving behavior can be changed in real-time based on e.g. passenger preferences, environmental conditions, charge.
    • Large scope for customization of driving style and thus brand image by customer
  • Capable of planning complex maneuvers at physical limits of vehicle, owing to complex tyre and vehicle models solved in milliseconds
  • Same motion planning core for all ADAS/AD functions, i.e. no situational programming

For embotech, Employees are its Competitive Advantage

It’s a time-tested fact that companies who treat their employees fairly and provide them with equal opportunities to flourish in their career ultimately have a higher chance to succeed.

Embotech is a company that gives highest priority on treating employees as its biggest asset. This company believes that employees are the real asset of any organization who works round the clock towards its success.

To date, embotech employs 18 proficient men and women representing 7 nationalities. The fast-growing company strives to offer a highly diverse working environment, where the employees are open-handedly encouraged to take on more responsibility and grow with the company.

Its employees come from various technical backgrounds and have formed a highly motivated and passionate team, where regular exchanges of knowledge and experiences are encouraged and ultimately drive the company’s innovation. Employees are regularly exposed to a wide variety of state-of-the-art technical and commercial challenges in embotech’s Automotive, Aerospace and Energy businesses.

Embotech offers its employees opportunities to take on responsibility early-on in their career and interact directly with important customers all over the world.

Road Ahead

Embotech will continue to drive innovation in its products and is aiming to acquire additional contracts in its all three business units (Automotive, Aerospace, Energy). Furthermore, geographical expansion si planned to be close to its customers who are located around the globe.

In terms of expanding its engineering footprint, embotech is planning to found a subsidiary within the EU in order to tap into talent pools in countries close to Switzerland. “Over the past Years Embotech has experienced steady growth in turnover and employees, a trend that is set to continue,” concluded the CEO.

Source :-The 10 Most Innovative Embedded System Solution Providers 2018

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