How to Make Intelligent Cars a Reality on the Roads

Russell Poole
How to Make Intelligent Cars a Reality on the Roads

With interconnection installed bandwidth capacity set to increase by 54% in the manufacturing sector by 2020 it is key that colocation data centres help automotive manufacturers develop and deploy an Interconnection Oriented Architecture to help them thrive in an increasingly connected world.

Future drivers envisage their cars to act as ‘smartphones on wheels’ that allow them to watch films, read e-books and seamlessly link to their mobile devices. However, the true benefits of connected cars are much more profound; it is estimated that connected cars could prevent 10,000 fatalities and around 500,000 injuries in the US alone. This is primarily due to the data they generate which maximises safety by providing valuable insights into both the car – it tracks other road users, detects vehicle faults – and the driver – their location, driving history and usage habits.

Yet, with these benefits come immense challenges and an interconnection strategy is essential to meeting these head-on.

Challenges to connectivity

Connected cars use vast amounts of data. In just one hour, a connected car will upload 25 GB/data to the cloud – exceeding the storage capacity of most modern smartphones and equaling roughly 12 HD films. In total, around 4,000 GB/data will be used a day. To put this in context, a smart hospital will use around 3,000 GB.

As a result, a major concern surrounding connected cars is cyber security. Recently, hackers exploited Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Uconnect software to wireless control a Jeep, disabling its engine and breaks, causing it to crash. Worryingly, there are around 100 electric control units and over 100 million lines of code in today’s cars which are sourced from various suppliers so that no individual person or organisation has control of the vehicle’s source code. However, threats can often be found and fixed by cloud security services before they can infiltrate the vehicle while also facilitating real-time updates and intelligence.

The insurance sector is a prime example where connected cars have already forged change. Human error is attributed to 90% of car accidents – as risk of accidents declines, so does the need for insurance. As such, many insurers are mitigating this threat by calculating risk using data on where, when and how you drive instead of an experience based model. Therefore, the industry relies on accurate data from telematics boxes to determine premiums. Debates are already in full swing as to whether this data should be stored in the cloud. If so what strain will it put on our digital infrastructure, and can we cope with the data requirements?

Enabling a new type of data demand through interconnection.

The fact that cars travel adds an additional layer of complexity as they constantly expand and redefine network boundaries. It is important to user safety that connected cars stay connected at these digital edges – so drivers can continue to receive alerts on immediate dangers and advice on safer routes. This is something that traditional fixed and siloed IT infrastructures cannot ensure, as their design prevents the gathering and processing of vast volumes of big data and they are not able to facilitate the stretching of network areas.

To guarantee the successful future of the connected car, we need to make sure data centers are equipped to cope with a new type of data demand. They will need to be able to:

  • Prioritise and react to data in real time
  • Bypass the public internet, to guarantee personal data about location and movement is stored and analysed in a secure environment
  • Ensure continuous, high-performance connection to access clouds, networks and partners – whether a vehicle is travelling in London or Rio De Janeiro

Automobile manufacturers require IoT and big data strategies and architecture that deliver globally-distributed IT and interconnection capabilities for real-time data capture. Data centres like Equinix provide strategically placed global colocation and interconnection services which meet these needs. They can collect, store, process and analyse data while simultaneously allowing businesses, networks and cloud providers to access it securely. Crucially, they can ensure the digital edge is available 24/7 in any location through the collaboration of the cloud, mobility and the IoT, which reduces latency and improves user experience.

Read more about how a direct and secure interconnection-first approach to your automotive IT infrastructure will help you develop an efficient and effective strategy for managing connected car big data.

Subscribe to the Equinix Blog