NI buys monoDrive in move to speed up autonomous vehicle development

NI said it was looking to “streamline the transitions between simulation, lab-based and physical test environments.”



NI has bought autonomous vehicle simulator monoDrive, expanding the company's footprint into the autonomous driving space as the industry works to expand beyond testing into real-life situations. 

MonoDrive specializes in creating simulation software for advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous vehicle development, helping train autonomous systems for their eventual introduction to roads with drivers and pedestrians. NI, formerly known as National Instruments, said the acquisition of monoDrive will help speed up the development, test, and deployment of safer autonomous systems for their transportation customers. 

According to NI, acquiring monoDrive will allow the company to "streamline the transitions between simulation, lab-based and physical test environments," noting that right now, "disparate tools cause siloed processes, time-to-market delays, and lead to higher costs that reduce the pace of innovation and hinder the quality of advanced technologies."

"We welcome the monoDrive employees to NI and look forward to collectively accelerating our growth ambitions for our transportation business," said Chad Chesney, NI vice president and general manager of the transportation business unit. 

See also: NI's master plan: Bridge engineers with enterprise and give them spotlight

"The combination of monoDrive's advanced software and NI's strong position in ADAS will enable smooth transitions across our customer's software validation workflows. This in turn delivers greater test efficiency, coverage and more realistic testing scenarios to help automotive manufacturers get safe and reliable autonomous vehicles on the road faster," Chesney added. 

MonoDrive's work with signal processing and advanced simulation will help NI deliver advanced driver-assistance systems that have been tested in thousands of real-time scenarios. 

The end goal is to streamline the time it takes to put systems through simulations, lab-based tests and physical testing environments.

"The monoDrive team is excited to join NI's transportation business unit and accelerate the deployment of our high-fidelity simulation products," said Celite Milbrandt, CEO of monoDrive. 

"Over the past five years, monoDrive has achieved a leadership position in vehicle simulation. We believe the combination of NI and monoDrive products will help our customers accelerate their goal of deploying safer vehicles."

Special Feature

Special Report: Autonomous Vehicles and the Enterprise (free PDF)

This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, examines how driverless cars, trucks, semis, delivery vehicles, drones, and other UAVs are poised to unleash a new level of automation in the enterprise.

Read More

NI also unveiled a new partnership with engineering simulation leader Ansys that will allow the company to create real-world simulations which can test sensors and gather data. 

Matt Zack, vice president of corporate development and global partnerships at Ansys, said the deal with NI positions the company to "provide more comprehensive solutions to our customers' engineering challenges."

"Combining Ansys' physics-based sensor simulation solutions with NI's driving simulation and testing infrastructure will enable mutual customers to more quickly develop safer ADAS technology," Zack said.