RTI announces first software framework designed for widely distributed autonomous systems

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Real-Time Innovations (RTI), the largest software framework company for autonomous systems, has announced the latest version of its industry-leading software framework, RTI Connext. Connext 6.1 is the first software framework designed to address the development and deployment challenges faced by companies building remotely-operated autonomous systems.

Autonomous systems must operate in inaccessible, remote, or hazardous environments. Examples include underwater drones, remotely-accessible medical devices, space systems, and construction and mining robots. Since artificial intelligence cannot handle all situations, these applications must use remote operators to supervise and intervene in difficult scenarios.

Connectivity for distributed control is extremely challenging. Applications require high reliability and real-time performance even though connectivity in these inhospitable environments is often unreliable and low bandwidth. Depending on the operator’s proximity, communication may also span local, wide area, public and private networks.

Connext 6.1 introduces features to enable easy real-time remote operation over any network. For instance, if the network connection changes as the system moves, connectivity is seamless without reconnecting, secure without renegotiating, and reliable without losing information. Thus, remote operations can continue in real time without interruption.

Enterprise networking assumes reliable, stable connections and latency insensitivity.  Unlike other distributed software frameworks for the enterprise, Connext 6.1 supports and optimizes fast communications across highly variable local (LAN) and wide-area networks (WAN). Moreover, Connext 6.1 does not require software changes to support diverse network types. Its Application Programming Interfaces (API) abstracts the underlying networks, allowing developers to target any environment. Connext 6.1 offers the first practical design for control of remote autonomous systems.

Connect geographically-distributed systems

New capabilities in Connext 6.1 that ease the development and deployment of geographically distributed systems include:

  • Real-Time WAN Transport provides reliable, low latency and secure communication over lossy, low bandwidth, and public networks. It supports Network Address Translation (NAT) traversal and mobile applications with changing Internet addresses.
  • Cloud Discovery Service simplifies deployment of dynamic systems in which applications, assets, and their network addresses may not be known at configuration time. It provides a means for applications to discover each other and directly communicate, peer-to-peer. This minimizes latency and maximizes throughput. It is far superior to traditional centralized broker solutions.
  • Built-in data compression improves efficiency over bandwidth-constrained networks. Compression maximizes bandwidth use, lowering overhead and latency while increasing throughput. A choice of compression algorithms and levels allows optimization of processor versus network utilization for different payload types.
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Saul Wordsworth is deputy editor of the iVT brand - which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and Off-Highway Annual, as well as ivtinternational.com. He is a keen cyclist and lives in north London.

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