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Cloud is Driving the Future of Smart Connected Vehicles

By Deepak Singhal

 

So far, cloud computing has been a buzzword for most of the emerging technology trends, across sectors. Internet of Things (IoT) and the surge in connected devices leading to smart homes, smart cities, and AI powered innovations, is all said to be driven by Cloud. The same now holds true for the Automobile Technology segment.  Automobile segment has not seen much innovation in last century after Ford; but this decade would cover up that shortfall.  From building stronger, higher capacity engines to now changing focus on creating smarter cars, EVM and even AI powered driverless cars, the segment has been now innovating in real sense, and adopting the best in the emerging technology, at a fast pace. Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) is a term used for group of technologies powering innovation that is set to transform not only the automobile segment but the very concept of smart travel!

What is V2X or Connected Vehicles?

Simply put, Vehicle-to-everything or V2X is an integrated communication system that allows a smart automobile to be connected to its environment, always. All the communication cannot go via Cloud always because of possible high latency and un-availability of internet.  Advent of 5G will reduce this problem to great extent. These are also known as Connected Vehicles and typically comprise of automobiles with Interactive Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS’s) and Cooperative intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) and are designed to enhance ‘situation awareness’ and to identify and avoid traffic accidents. In other words, Connected Vehicles deploy intelligent communication that can be useful to solve traffic woes, enhance road safety, and offer seamless in-transit infotainment, advanced parking assistance and roadside assistance. It is also useful for remote diagnostics, and telematics for autonomous self-driving vehicles, and global positioning systems (GPS).

Largely, connected vehicles comprise of Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle-to-Network (V2N), Vehicle -to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle – to- Pedestrian (V2P), Vehicle –to- device (V2D), and Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) connectivity. The DSCR – a WLAN based V2X communication, is the simplest form of connected vehicle network, and is useful to ensure efficient V2V and V2I communication in remote areas. The 3GPP or Cellular V2X, utilises the cellular data connectivity and communication network that offers an advanced, more sophisticated, two-way communication for V2I, V2V, V2D and V2N interactions.

Although nascent right now, the V2X is globally emerging as one of the smartest technology applications that efficiently combines AI, Data Analytics, smart Infrastructure and IoT, with the best in automobile technology. As per a report by Stratistics MRC, the Global Automotive V2X Market was estimated to be USD 341.22 million as of 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 42.1% over the next decade, to reach USD 8060.79 million, by 2028. Factors like rising traffic congestion, need to curtail environmental hazards due to emission, need for intelligent navigation and smart transportation facilities powered by access to 5G connectivity, and road safety are some of the key motivators for the growth of the V2X market.

Role of Cloud in the Connected Vehicle Ecosystem

One of the key features of connected vehicles is the two way communication that translates into a lot of data, exchanged consistently over a seamless network. Connected vehicles not only share information about themselves but also capture lots of sensory information from its surroundings, especially data generated by cameras, and radars, all of which needs to be adequately aggregated, analysed, and shared in real-time to maintain a consistent V2X dynamics. If done singularly or in a disconnected method, it can reduce the efficiency of the network and render the entire technology redundant.

This can be avoided by employing Cloud connectivity, to ensure the data collected is not only effectively stored and utilised but can also be a game changer in designing future technology innovations. Using intelligent insights into the geographical, environmental and consumer usage patterns, over a long period of time, Automotive V2X communication systems connected to cloud can fuel the future innovations in automobile technology. It also helps deal with cyber-security concerns, while helping automotive manufacturers a real time information feed on varied parameters of vehicle performance, so as to assist efficient technology development.

Apart from these, the cloud-connected V2X has been instrumental in:

  1. The development of ‘software-defined’ vehicles, where ‘isolated automobiles’ are now converted into hyper connected and constantly communicating network of smart transportation
  2. Helping automobile manufacturers to effectively leverage the infinite scalability of the Internet and the potential of IoT to deliver progressive, next gen features to connected vehicles, and 
  3. Transforming the autonomous vehicle (AV) value chain, using data driven insights to enhance user experience, safety, and efficiency of connected vehicles and thereby transform the technology space for innovative mobility solutions.
  4. Sending peta bytes of data generated by vehicles to Cloud. This helps us to build complex machine learning models on cloud using this humongous data and then deploy models on Edge inside car. Hence, all heavy loading is done by cloud and models deployed on Edge inside car can take spontaneous decisions.

While the above factors paint a convincing picture, the cloud connectivity and V2X communications technology is yet to address challenges around integrated data collections, seamless network support, and access to high end connectivity bandwidth across terrains. Despite this, however, it would be true to state that the future of smart automotive technology is a dynamic and innovative phase of growth, where the car-to-cloud connectivity is set to redefine the idea of smart mobility, while making road transport in urban and rural areas more safe, energy efficient and effective.

(The author is Enterprise Architect Director for DEMS Business, Capgemini and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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