The traffic systems we design, build, install and maintain are constantly evolving. And, our Research & Development teams are developing the very technologies that are changing the way we move, all over the world!
Meet Petr Novak, a Software Engineering Manager located in the Czech Republic. Hear about his career with #TeamYunexTraffic so far and how traffic technologies are changing.
Hi Petr, we appreciate you taking the time to talk with us! Can you tell us a bit about your role and what you do?
I’ve worked in Research & Development for seven years now. As an engineering manager I oversee 20 of our talented developers who are based in our Brno office. Part of my role at Yunex Traffic is also project management for traffic detection solutions and their integration into our systems and, along with my colleague, I run a hardware laboratory where we develop, integrate, and test all our embedded projects together.
What excites you about your role?
We are a global leader in intelligent traffic systems and it’s exciting to be part of the DevOps team where we work on projects that contribute to making people’s lives simpler, smarter and safer. As a tech guy I like working on new technologies which are always at the forefront of our ever-evolving industry. As a manager, it’s a pleasure to see and share the same technology enthusiasm with my team and make sure we are all highly motivated and skilled to follow our Yunex Traffic vision.
Are there any challenges within R&D?
I would say one of the biggest challenges in general is keeping up with technological changes. For me, software development is by far the most dynamic industry where we must react not only on purely technical changes, but also social/political changes as soon as possible. Topics such as cybersecurity on its own present a challenge as we are committed to always be one step ahead of potential cyber threats. These challenges however bring lots of possibilities for innovation which is one of the key driving factors and motivation for our developers, including me!
How has technology within our industry changed over recent years?
This goes hand in hand with the cybersecurity point I mention. Cybersecurity is one of the key drivers for technology changes in the IT industry and as a result, it is one of the key drivers for changes within our industry and how we operate. The number of devices/systems that are always online (including our portfolio) is increasing constantly and we must continuously search and maintain the most effective yet secure way of connecting these devices to ours and our customer’s systems. Also, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Computer Vision are new and rapidly evolving technologies which are becoming a standard part in our daily development and product enhancements.
What does the future of traffic in our cities look like to you?
There are several factors which will very likely shape the future of the traffic in our cities.
The first is not new yet still the most important – Safety. AI traffic sensors, clever infrastructure and vehicles with the ability to talk to each other in real time will be able to predict dangerous situations, identify vulnerable road users and create a warning in advance or even react autonomously, all in real time. With more intelligent infrastructure, enhanced AI technology and worldwide law agreements, we could get closer to fully autonomous driving vehicles which could be the most safe and effective transportation in the future.
Another key aspect is the environment. Electric / hybrid vehicles will very likely become dominant in the near future, reducing air pollution and dependency on limited fossil fuels. This will require a significant change of city infrastructure and our habits but will also challenge technological companies (Yunex Traffic including) to make that happen.
As the infrastructure and sensors are getting smarter every year, with more precise data and AI predictive algorithms we can have much more effective personal transportation in general including next gen navigational apps etc.
What is really exciting about all this is that Yunex Traffic addresses all these aspects already!
If you could name just one project that you loved working on at Yunex Traffic – what would this be and why?
There have been many cool projects I’ve participated in, but I can pick one which “stays hidden” yet plays important role in our daily job – Hardware laboratory enhancement. The Hardware (device) laboratory is a central part for embedded development where we develop, integrate, test, and debug all our systems together.
The lab contains hundreds of devices from our portfolio in many different configurations and versions, not only for the SW/FW development itself but also to simulate and test various customer specific scenarios etc.
Operating, maintaining and simply working with real hardware has always been somewhat time consuming as it typically requires “mechanical” interaction to fully operate or test and debug our new software on the device. On top of that, our lab is a restricted area with limited access due to safety reasons. This was creating a time inefficiency, increasing with every new device installed in the lab.
We were trying to identify possibilities on how to optimise our work in the lab and automate things as much as possible. This topic was accelerated even more due to Covid-19 restrictions with fully remote working requirements during that time.
I’m very happy that using new infrastructure and network technologies, along with various support devices like Raspberry Pi, relay boards, GPIO expanders, simulators, serial convertors, we managed to find a solution which addresses most of the typical daily lab interactions for our developers while still working remotely. This dramatically improved the effectivity of our work and increased safety! As a side effect, we could also optimise/shrink the restrictive area in the lab.
One of our latest cool enhancements in the lab is the implementation of a fully automated GPS simulator which allows us to simulate real world vehicle movement so that we can develop and test our products using real vehicle Onboard Units safely and much faster without leaving the office and driving outside.
With all these enhancements we are happy to see that our lab is being used also by our colleagues from different locations around the world.
One last note aside, we can now also safely use our lab outside our normal working hours just to work on various cool DIY (Do It Yourself) projects. We meet here with tech enthusiasts across our teams, share and discuss interesting tech topics and actually create cool gadgets or test new cool technologies.
I’m really happy to see people willingly spending some of their free time outside normal working hours to work on small and cool projects, learning new things, gaining new skills and still having fun during the whole process. It’s one of the small things which costs almost nothing and yet can bring a lot to the teams and helps shape our company culture.
If you could say anything to a person considering R&D at Yunex Traffic – what advice would you give?
Simple! I would highly encourage you to come visit us and see with your own eyes what cool projects we work on, what technology we use and simply, how we already shape the future of smart cities and transportation. We are a company with an open culture with clear and transparent vision, and we are happy to show it to anybody!
Feeling inspired? Become a Traffic Transformer! We have many opportunities for you to join us in the Research, Development and Engineering space. Check them out today by visiting jobs.yunextraffic.com.