Every day I am fascinated by where the Internet of Things is taking us—from making large-scale manufacturing operations more efficient, to the wristbands that track calories burned throughout the day. Our ability to securely capture, process, and analyze real-time data is transforming our lives. The next big frontier? The car. These mechanical devices are rapidly becoming dynamic actors in today’s web of information flow. We welcome Peter Brink, software system architect at Intel, to the IoT@Intel Blog to discuss overcoming the challenges automakers and OEMs face with automotive computing in an open architecture. Welcome, Peter! ~ Valerie Scarsellato, aka @Intel_Chick, Marketing Specialist, Internet of Things Group (IOTG)
From Horsepower to Compute Power
Cars today are generating massive amounts of data, thanks to dozens of interconnected embedded control units that help us monitor vehicle performance, diagnostics, and even personal data synched with your smart phone. And the amount of data the car generates will only grow. The incredible value locked in this data—the power to develop new features, capabilities, and services to give drivers the safety and convenience they demand—is matched by the consistent and defining challenges automakers will face in processing and analyzing this data. As the car quickly becomes a supercomputer on wheels, these data-based challenges require data-based solutions: and data requires compute. To succeed in this new landscape, automakers must focus on solving compute challenges and embrace open architectures and standards to accelerate innovation.
Open Architecture Is Required
There are specific definitions around compute problems—such as the bounds of space, power, and heat—that help us understand what is truly possible in current and future generations of hardware and software. In his recent post, “Automotive Innovation – Skip the Open vs. Closed Debate,” Sam LaMagna made the case that the automotive industry must start designing with open architectures for the development of intelligent vehicles. Anticipating this ever-growing, consistent stream of data with common protocols on open platforms, automotive OEMs must design systems to parse the data accordingly.
Two Key Benefits
- Efficiency. We know that a wide variety of sensors is required to make any sort of accurate assessment of the environment around a vehicle. These sensors currently generate data ranging from high-bandwidth raw video data from a camera to lower bandwidth pre-processed object data from a radar sensor. For the vehicle to process the data from these disparate data sources, a variety of network connections and software for each unique source is required. Applying a standard interface and communication protocol is extremely helpful because it allows the auto manufacturer to select sensors of their choice and incorporate them into a design, without having to worry about additional complexity associated with what type of data such sensors might supply.
- Consolidation. In existing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), each unique function is performed by a specific compute module. With an open and standard communication interface—in which compute modules are capable of performing all required computations—the functionality associated with several compute modules in one vehicle can be performed in a single control unit, allowing the manufacturer to reduce cost and vehicle weight.
New Supply Chain
Approaching automotive challenges as compute problems also means a shift in the entire automotive value chain, including collaboration and support from new strategic partners and for all players to develop new areas of expertise. As an industry, we must embrace open platforms and standards as a way to collectively innovate and solve the compute challenges brought to light by today’s vast data flow. Automakers that work in this paradigm will be better equipped to scale their solutions, accelerate development, and differentiate their offerings beyond the limits of today’s proprietary systems. The industry will benefit from new forms of competition across multiple systems from multiple vendors.
About the Automotive Blog Series:
From in-vehicle infotainment to autonomous driving, Intel is using its proven expertise and R&D in computing technology, automotive systems, and consumer electronics to help automotive industry partners accelerate the evolution of connected, intelligent vehicles. This series is designed to offer the insights and observations of the Intel experts and engineers working to advance the next generation of driving experiences.