Today, most newer cars have the capability to tune engine performance, adjust chassis control and monitor fluid levels, as well as identify potential hazards and audibly notify the driver to prevent traffic collisions. But what’s more remarkable than a vehicle’s ability to inform a driver is its potential to talk to other vehicles while observing and responding to the world around it.
Experts have long discussed the life-saving potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected technologies, including vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X). V2X is a combination of V2I, V2V, V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian) and V2N (vehicle-to-network), connecting to cellular infrastructure and the cloud and extending those benefits to others on the roadway.
US automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been researching V2V technology in particular for two decades, estimating it could prevent 615,000 crashes every year while drastically reducing the number of fatalities from crashes—about 38,000 every year. But making this vision a reality will only be possible when all cars can communicate with each other. When that happens, the amount of data generated and collected by these connected vehicles will surpass current processing capabilities.
With MEC and the continued deployment of 5G, automakers will have the infrastructure, security and consistency they need to optimise the performance of embedded technology
That’s where multi-access edge computing (MEC)—also known as mobile edge computing—comes into play.
In the same way the telecommunication industry has been leveraging MEC to solve critical network challenges, the automotive industry is looking to MEC as a framework for ensuring connectivity. When cloud resources typically located in data centres hundreds or thousands of miles away are shifted to local data centres, base stations and individual servers closer to the end user, connectivity is enhanced significantly. That’s particularly important for connected vehicle technology since vehicles are typically in constant motion.
With more data providing more insight, we can expect a full autonomous revolution that transforms not only the auto industry but also the roads and highways we travel and the places we live
Centralised data channels not only hinder expansion but also create bottlenecks between devices and platforms and cause latency issues that impact user experience. Decentralised MEC, however, improves the experience by increasing speed and reliability. Here’s how: connected vehicles have sensors and actuators that collect data and perform a variety of functions, including monitoring road conditions and engaging the brakes when a hazard is detected. Because these functions produce such high data volumes that must be analysed in real time, it must occur at the edge rather than in a central site.
The future of connected vehicles depends on massive computing power, including the integration of Mesh architecture in the next generation of software defined vehicles. MEC fits as an integral part of the next generation vehicle electrical/electronic (E/E) architecture and will provide the means to handle the burgeoning data produced by cars. Further, as this technology is scaled and coupled with 5G, drivers can look forward to an improved customer experience and expanded vehicle services. With MEC and the continued deployment of 5G, automakers will have the infrastructure, security and consistency they need to optimise the performance of embedded technology.
But that’s just the beginning. With more data providing more insight, we can expect a full autonomous revolution that transforms not only the auto industry but also the roads and highways we travel and the places we live.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.
Maxim Ragotner is a Key Account Executive for Automotive at EPAM Systems, Inc.
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