Autonomous vehicle start-up Cruise is sharing a software platform with roboticists that was initially created to give its own engineers a better understanding of the petabytes of data generated every month from its fleet of autonomous vehicles.
From an article in Tech Crunch by Kirsten Korosec.
The platform is a data visualization tool called Webviz, a web-based application aimed at anyone working in robotics, a field that includes autonomous vehicles. Researchers, students and engineers can now access the tool and get visual insight into their data by dragging their robotics data into an ROS bag file.
Robots and, specifically autonomous vehicles, capture loads of data from various sensors, like lidar, radar and cameras. The tool is supposed to make it easier to take that data and turn it from binary code into something visual. The tool lets users configure different layouts of panels, each one displaying information like text logs, 2D charts and 3D depictions of the AV’s environment.
The tool is a product of a Cruise hackathon that was held a couple of years ago. It was apparently such a hit that engineers at the self-driving car company now use it daily to calibrate lidar sensors, verify machine learning models and debug test rides. Webviz now has 1,000 monthly active users within the company, according to Cruise.
As engineers developed Webviz, they found it could have applications outside of Cruise. The company decided to open-source it as general robotics data inspection tool. For this initial release, Cruise settled on a suite of general panels that any robotics developer can leverage to explore their own data with minimal setup, the company said in a Medium post Tuesday.
A demo video provided by Cruise is posted below.
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