Voyage teams up with Renovo for self-driving car operating system

In the world of autonomous driving, there exists a layer between the operating system running on the car and the algorithms that make the car truly autonomous. A number of companies use ROS, an open-source middleware for robotics, for prototyping, but you can’t do driverless with it. This is where mobility startup Renovo‘s AWare OS, which is custom-built middleware specifically designed for Level 4 autonomous driving, comes in. As Voyage founder Oliver Cameron described to me, its software and hardware redundancies can ensure a level of safety that ROS can’t match. After being introduced to Renovo, Cameron said he soon realized the value Renovo can offer from the operating system and computer perspective.

“That’s where we saw a ton of value in Renovo, so we ditched our efforts internally and made this switch,” Cameron said.

Cameron envisions this being a long-term partnership with Renovo, which “takes a way a whole bunch of burden from us to manage our resources intelligently and safely think about how we roll out a driverless service.”

The plan is to integrate Renovo’s technology into Voyage’s first fleet of Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans. Those will first be deployed in communities in Central Fla and San Jose, Calif. Cameron says he expects to fully integrate Renovo’s technology into its stack in the next couple of months.

“What we like about Voyage is they have laser focus on who their customer is and what the opportunity it,” Renovo CEO Christopher Heiser told TechCrunch. “They stand out because they’re deploying now and have customers using it in real-world situations.”

Renovo handles low-level safety and security systems, Heiser said. That way, Renovo can focus on the infrastructure layer while Voyage can focus on the actual self-driving layer.

While companies like Uber and Waymo are taking more of a vertical approach, Voyage is taking a horizontal approach that entails partnering with other companies in the space.

“The vertical approach is one vision,” Heiser said. “You can vertically integrate, but we think there are lots of risks and challenges. If you miss one technology node, you’re kind of out of luck. With the horizontal approach, Voyage is getting to deliver something that customers like.”