Company NewsApril 7, 2020

The Future for Autonomous Vehicles – Podcast Part 2

As we continue our podcast series discussion focused on the Transportation and…
Avatar Matthew HALL

As we continue our podcast series discussion focused on the Transportation and Mobility (T&M) industry, we will further dive into how this industry is taking on the challenges of designing vehicles of the future.

In this episode, Jim Pogue of Dassault Systèmes CATIA shares takes us beyond the traditional, well-known ways to think about and design vehicles to ways designers will need to operate in order to succeed in the 21st century.

To change and adopt implementing electric vehicles requires a new set of skills. We really get down to at the owner level, why do they want to have a new vehicle? – Jim Pogue

Enjoy the podcast with Jim!

3D Design and Engineering

Autonomous Vehicle Talk

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Podcast Transcript

Matthew Hall 0:09 Hi, welcome to the Dassault Systèmes podcast, 3D Design and Engineering. Today’s episode is being recorded at the 2019 Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo in Novi, Michigan, just northwest of Detroit. The show is packed and visitors are enjoying – and being wow’ed – with the latest product launches and innovations from a ton of exhibitors. I’m your host Matthew Hall and joining us today, I managed to get some time with a colleague of mine named Jim Pogue. Jim is a member of the Dassault Systèmes CATIA brand focused on the Transportation & Mobility – or T&M – industry. Welcome, Jim.

Jim Pogue 0:45 Hi, Matthew.

Matthew Hall 0:48 Jim, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jim Pogue 0:51 You kind of covered the big portion of it and the important portion of it, I’m part of the CATIA team, focused on Transportation and Mobility. What a better place to be focused on T&M, than in Detroit, Michigan! And it’s interesting because I really came from a software development background with a startup company out of the Detroit Metro area. And many decades later, it’s still in business. And they’ve been servicing the automotive business. So a lot of the focus in this area is all about T&M. Now with a big change to go to Autonomous, Electric Vehicles, we’re in the right place at the right time.

Matthew Hall 1:29 A lot of changes are happening, for sure. And with those changes, what are some of the latest industry trends and advancements from your perspective and your role that you just described, that you see facing the industry today?

Jim Pogue 1:42 There’s a lot of exciting trends that are going on and to cover all of them, is going to take us a few years, but I’ll just touch on a couple of them that are being focused on in they’re doing it for the real business sake. I mean, everybody’s focused on being more efficient while improving their products to the customer. You know, so it’s just not just new tech, for the sake of having, you know, the next new shiny job. Personally, I’m just happy that they’re making adult size stands again, you know, because to address a lot of the fuel issues, the safety issues people have, the customers that really, you know, skinnied-down the cars to make them lightweight, more economical. Now they’re able to do that yet still accommodate for person adult size sedan. The trucks and SUVs…yeah, they’re cool. I love them. But not everybody, even though we’re here in Michigan, everybody has a boat. So it’s a good time to have this this expansion.

So back to a couple of the trends. One of the things that’s really going on – and this ties directly into Autonomous Vehicles – is the requirements for, you know, having this Model-Based Systems Engineering. It’s MBSE for short. And what it boils down to is trying to simulate in anticipate a lot of the requirements that will come up from a self driving vehicle. That whole model based systems engineering approach, it’s been a part of the Aerospace and Defense world for a long time. I mean, there have been DoD requirements. And the whole notion is rather than just creating requirements, you’re really engineering and managing those requirements; it’s defining the requirements, designing to those requirements, implementing the traceability – you have to test them out, see if they work, make sure they work – so at the end of the day, there are now solutions available for companies going down the route of building these requirements, and their solutions that helps them save both time and money. So let’s think about what it takes to have an AV solution that’s approved that in the different Levels, you know, Level 1, 2, 3, 4. We kind of touched on this a little bit earlier, without going into the details: initial level is: I am a human, I’m responsible, I’m responsible for driving this car.

Matthew Hall 4:04 Essentially, 100% human-driven, correct?

Jim Pogue 4:06 Correct. As you get to the different Levels, more of that responsibility is in the autonomy of the vehicle. So what do you have to do to make sure that that is a safe product on the road without a human behind the wheel? Hundreds, thousands, millions of simulation hours to go through those the what if scenarios: what if my sensing device gets covered up with my? what if a child jumps out in front of the road? what if you know it’s raining, it’s snowing? All those are the types of things that have to be simulated and how do you do those in a cost effective manner, a time effective manner? Because at the end of the day, you’re trying to produce a new product, get it out the door in the hands of your customer. If it takes you 10 years to do that, somebody’s gonna figure out a way to do it faster.

Matthew Hall 4:57 You’re too late.

Jim Pogue 4:58 Yeah! One of the other trends that’s been going on maybe a little bit longer is the whole notion of having a virtual prototype. And now that we have vehicles that have more capabilities, you know, the Human Machine Interface, the HMI, we’re looking at things not only what is the exterior of the car look like but how does the occupant or occupants interface with that vehicle? The old school way of doing that was you pull up a car, and the car is red, white, or blue. And it’s the Model X, the Model Y or the Model Z; you sit in it, you get your coworkers to sit in it, and that one model has to represent everything that you’re going through. So how are we doing it different now with a virtual prototype? Since everything is done in CAD, we have the ability to bring it in, recreate it in such a manner that it looks to the human eye: it looks like the real thing, just like all the car commercials that you see on TV. Those are done digitally.

Matthew Hall 5:59 Yeah, wow!.

Jim Pogue 5:59 Every now-and-then, you’ll see a car that is the real thing but in a practical sense, all the cars you see driving on commercials are not real.

Matthew Hall 6:07 They’re not real?

Jim Pogue 6:08 Yeah.

Matthew Hall 6:08 Wow.

Jim Pogue 6:09 And there’s some industries that have helped support that. I mean, the gaming industry has come up with game solutions that are now used in the automotive sector. So you couple that with their CAD design photorealistic recreation of these designs, and what does it do for the customer? Lets them recreate what does a potential design of a vehicle look like, how do they interact with it – and not just the red one, the right one, the white one or the blue one – now we can do the the X Model the XT the XT Super – all those different models.  So one of the things that we had talked about was the whole notion of having virtual prototypes. That really was accelerated by a lot of the advancements in honestly the gaming software – allowed us to do a lot of things to produce what we call a Real-Time Model. Think of a CAD model of, let’s say, a car that is so accurate with reflections, and it has physics-based lighting, lighting that then replicates how light bounces in the real world. So our eyes as dumb humans, we can’t tell the difference. Assets like that are being used in the marketing. If you go to a company’s website, a car company’s website, you’ll pull up a vehicle that maybe isn’t even produced yet. But it’s the design and build for that company. They’ll take their CAD model of that, and then apply these different characteristics to that. So what they’re able to do is take advantage of some of these new rendering farms, these new hardware horsepower, coupled with advancements in the software that let us recreate something. So you know, boom! You’re in a real vehicle, even though you’re sitting at your desk, with a set of gaming goggles and those types of things let you replicate different scenarios, not just the car, but the environment. You know, we think about how does the the autonomous vehicle tie into the environment. If I’m driving down the road, the sensor gets mud on it. What if I’m driving down the road and the sun bounces off some feature on the vehicle that hits the driver in the eyes, and the driver is distracted? We’re able now we can reproduce all those things in software. That’s the advantage of that. You don’t have to take your car on the road and try to make it replicated. You can dial-in all these features based on some of the interesting software capabilities that are available to customers now.

Matthew Hall 8:43 Cool! What are some of the high-priority challenges that today’s innovators are faced with?

Jim Pogue 8:49 I think we got to go back to the basics. You know, we touched on this a little bit earlier. What’s everybody’s goal in life? First off, they’re in business to make a profit. If they made a fantastic vehicle, and they weren’t making a profit on it, like we saw in the 80’s, 90s and early 2000s, those vehicles and those brands go away. So we need to start with fulfilling the needs of the customer. They’re going to want something that’s fun, stylish, low emissions, low operating costs. So Matt, when you got into Detroit, you picked up a car at the airport?

Matthew Hall 9:25 Yes.

Jim Pogue 9:26 You have probably had a chance to pick a school bus or a miniature car. Yep. I had choices. Yes. What did you pick?

Matthew Hall 9:34 I went with a mini SUV.

Jim Pogue 9:37 Okay. So something that you know, you like that gave you a little bit of elbow room?

Matthew Hall 9:41 Yes.

Jim Pogue 9:42 That wasn’t too small. Wasn’t too big.

Matthew Hall 9:44 Yep.

Jim Pogue 9:45 And for the sake of being in town, you didn’t care if it went zero to 60 in two seconds, right?

Matthew Hall 9:50 Didn’t factor in.

Jim Pogue 9:53 It goes back to what they have to start with is getting the design something that’s attractive to the customer that they want. Now they have to add in some of the things like, alright, I need to be more efficient. And right now where we’re at, it’s kind of that transition stage. You need to be more efficient if I’m using the ICE, the Internal Combustion Engine. But I also need to make accommodations to incorporate electric vehicles. So you get into that: do I start over from scratch or take a little bit of the styling that I’ve already learned that the customers already like, and try to merge the two together? It’s common sense for everybody but with companies that have those existing products, you know, it really goes a little bit deeper. Some of the challenges that they’ve gotten into is, do we keep the Corvette that is a great example – you see one from 10 years ago, 20 years ago, you know, its Corvette. It hasn’t changed that, you know, the style is still a two-seater. go real fast, kind of car.

Now we kind of bring that all back to, you know, keeping it fun for the for the owner, the occupant, the experience that they have. So we tie that back with, you know, what does the new vehicle of today have? So many sensors, bells, whistles, all kinds of testing that has to go on. So you have systems on top of system on top of systems… you can get a warning on your phone that says my car’s, you know, the keypad battery is low. All these systems that are interacting with each other, and it really gets into trying to coordinate and test the design and implement these requirements so all those things work together like a well-tuned orchestra.

Now we get back to that that same issue. of designing something that companies or that the customers want. So a lot of what they have is that mix of: I have an existing product, it’s a brand is recognized people love it and in some cases, they’re going to continue to support those legacy products. And then to change and adopt implementing electric vehicles requires a new set of skills. And we really get down to at the owner level, why do they want to have a new vehicle? Is it just for the sake of having something new? No, it’s the perception of: I have something that’s more efficient to operate. You know, regardless of what do you do with the battery after 5, 10, 15 years, the daily operation cost and is pennies as opposed to 50 bucks when you have to fill up a tank 50 times a week.

Okay, given all the changes that are happening and is happening so fast, who do you see from your perch advancing the fastest – is it the traditional established OEM’s with their history, their experience, their background, or is it some of the startup in innovators that are out there and they’re really challenging the the industry?

I don’t want to waffle on the fence and say it’s a bit of both, but you’re gonna have the people who say, “I want that next new shiny object, I want the electric car that goes zero to 60. in two or three seconds and I don’t want to pay 50 bucks to three times a week to fill up my my gas tank.” Those are the ones that are going to say, I want that new vehicle from company XYZ that nobody’s ever heard of. And they recognize there may be some risk if I if I have a parts issue, if I have something that potentially goes wrong. But no new company, if they’re worth their salt are going to allow a customer to have a brand new vehicle, something go wrong with it and leave you stranded. You hear the stories about somebody has a new electric vehicle from a company that hasn’t been around much. And that company sends a team out, you know, on their doorstep – boom! – to make that customer happy. That’s one of the ways.

The other side is, the companies that do have the brand recognition that are making the transition, where you have legacy customers who say, I will only buy a vehicle from company F, company C company G, company T…

Matthew Hall 14:18 …Guys that have been around for maybe two years.

Jim Pogue 14:20 Yeah. Because maybe they know somebody that’s worked there. Maybe that was their first car. Maybe they just, you know, found, that’s the one that fits for them. And they liked it.

Matthew Hall 14:30 Yeah, it’s emotional connection.

Jim Pogue 14:31 Yeah.

Matthew Hall 14:32 Within the CATIA brand, what are you guys doing that’s unique and special to the marketplace?

Jim Pogue 14:39 Well, if we start back – and I hate going back to ground zero, but you have to understand where a lot of people came from to understand where we’re going and why it makes sense. So where a lot of us got started is to have individual applications, one application that you use for design, one application that you use for surface modeling, one application that you use for simulating, one application that, you know, you can go through the list. While that’s great that fits the need, what have we done with phones? We have one platform that has many applications that are supported through one platform. How do we allow people to take a design and not have to wrestle with the issues of the past? Which version do I have? is it the right one? and if I have the right one, then can I plug it into my simulation data? What if we have the ability to take the the latest and greatest design with the latest and greatest FDA data, the crash data, couple that together, implement and test out our Model Based Systems Engineering models, and have those all working together in a real time environment? We call that a platform. And that’s what we’ve introduced a couple of years ago.

I go back to that statement of not just new technology for the new technology, but new technology because it makes sense. There are things like cell phones that work on that whole notion of having a platform rather than a siloed operation. You know, we joke about some companies don’t know that the right hand is doing the same thing that the left hand and you know, the right ear doesn’t hear what the left ear heard. So if we have the ability to have our simulation data, our Model Based Systems Engineering requirements are design data, our test data – have all these talking together at the same time, without the issue of old versions, new versions, what we jump forward to is something that gives manufacturers and the designers something that’s 10 times more efficient than the old way of doing it. And if we do all these up front, if you design right, you’re only fixing a couple things at when it’s when it’s actually in production. You design it wrong, you have one of those “A-ha!” moments. Fill in the blank for “A-ha.”

So we’re able to do things on that platform world. And one of the things is, we call it, Structural Concept Design. It’s interesting because it’s a perfect example of: I’d like to have a scenario where I’d like to have something like a body in white or some type of vehicle structure, and I want to structure it so that it’s stylish, but it’s safe and it’s crash worthy. The old way to do that was to take your full BOM, your full 150% below material design, and run that through your crash analysis data. So you’re starting off with something that is very heavy in data, you know, your, your gigabytes of data versus megabytes of data. The amount of time that takes to run that is weeks. What if we could do that with something that’s a lighter weight model that lets us run through multiple iterations with lightweight data, still talking real time to our simulation data and do that much quicker? What does that do for us? It lets us turn that around much more quickly.

Okay, great. Now we’re done with it. Do we start and build our 150% design? No! We’re able to take what we had in that concept structure design, and feed that into our full vehicle design. So again, it’s giving people the tools to do some of these iterative tests multiple times, do them efficiently, and then apply that data to where we need to grow. Measure twice, cut once…is that how that goes?

Matthew Hall 18:41 Great. Well, Jim this has been fascinating. Appreciate your time very much. I’ll let you get back to the show here. Listeners. Thank you for listening today and to find out more how to sell systems is helping advance the Transportation & Mobility design process for Autonomous Vehicles of the future, please be sure to visit And also don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast series and listen to all the other fascinating entries available on iTunes, SoundCloud and all other major podcast channels.

I’m Matthew Hall, make it a great day!

Jim Pogue 19:23 Thanks Matthew! Let’s go take that McLaren for a test drive!

Matthew Hall 19:25 Thank you. Let’s do it. Alright, cool. That was easy – fun!

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