Last month, OpTech added a new service to its growing portfolio of solutions: Connected Vehicle Solutions and Embedded Systems. Making a strategic hire, OpTech brought on Rodney Fakhoury as the Director of Connected Vehicle Solutions. With an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Wayne State University, Rodney joins the OpTech team with more than 20 years of experience delivering engineering solutions for embedded systems, connected vehicles; product design and systems development as well as evaluation and testing for Telematics systems in passenger vehicles as well as heavy truck and bus vehicles.
 
We sat down with Rodney to ask him a few questions about OpTech’s new solution in a one-on-one interview. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:
 
What are connected vehicles?
Rodney: Connected vehicles are vehicles that use any of a number of different communication technologies to communicate with the driver, other cars on the road (vehicle-to-vehicle [V2V]), roadside infrastructure (vehicle-to-infrastructure [V2I]), and the “Cloud.”  Connected cars are equipped with Internet access, and usually also with a wireless local area network.  This allows the car to share internet access with other devices both inside as well as outside the vehicle.  Vehicles include passenger cars, heavy trucks, buses, and even off-road and construction vehicles.
 
What are the benefits of connected vehicle technology?
Rodney: There are several benefits to this emerging technology. Not only can it be used to improve vehicle safety, but also to improve vehicle efficiency and commute times. In time, connected vehicles will help with crash elimination, reduced need for new infrastructure, travel time dependability, and improved energy efficiency.
 
In the past, automobiles had been designed to transport you from point A to B.  Today, automobiles have become more like entertainment centers embedded with a myriad of sensors and communication devices that transmit information to and from our homes, our phones, and other personal devices. For example, envision a user waking up for work one morning. His connected car will have already checked the traffic conditions (sending a message to the user’s phone regarding traffic issues and providing a suggested alternative route). The user will have set personal music preferences and adjusted climate and seat position before starting his day.
What are some of the challenges with connected vehicle technology?
Rodney: Although adding connectivity to vehicles has its benefits, it also has challenges. By adding connectivity, there can be issues with security, privacy, data analytics, and aggregation due to the abundance of data associated with vehicles,

​What solutions will OpTech be offering when it comes to Connected Vehicles?
Rodney: OpTech will be providing engineering and consulting services for embedded systems and connected vehicles in telematics, infotainment, mobility solutions, Internet of Things and Predictive Analytics.
These services include the following:

  • Embedded Systems Solutions
  • Product Validation – EVT, DVT, PVT
  • Requirements Capture/Specification Development
  • Proof of Concept
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Software Development and Validation
  • Systems Integration
  • Project & Quality Management

 
What is one of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?
Rodney: Through a technical partnership, our team was retained to develop obstacle detection and an evasion algorithm for autonomous test vehicles at one of the Big Three firms. We developed embedded software and hardware, and provided design and testing on the project.

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