Autonomous vehicle software specialist Oxbotica has struck a partnership with Cisco to unlock the potential of fully connected autonomous vehicle (AV) fleets, aiming to enable seamless and secure sharing of high-volume data while on the move.
The partners calculate that AVs make 150 independent vehicle detections every second and generate up to 80GB of data per driven-hour from sensors such as lidar, cameras and radar, as well as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) logs. This constant activity means amassing 1.2TB of data in a 16-hour day, much of which is gathered when the vehicle returns to base.
Oxbotica said it believes that, by 2024, more than 70 million new connected vehicles will enter the market every year, with each required to upload and download 8.3GB of data per day, including streamed infotainment, HD navigation, vehicle telemetry and ADAS settings. And all this is in addition to safety-critical information such as severe weather updates or passenger ill health. By comparison, the average smartphone will contribute just one-fifth of this daily volume, it noted.
Stretched across an autonomous fleet, which could include hundreds or even thousands of vehicles in a city or region, the potential result, said the firm, was an abundance of data, more than could be shared efficiently and cost-effectively using existing 4G, or emerging 5G, networks.
Oxbotica has already begun work to address this challenge, with on-road trials taking place in Stratford, east London, in September 2019 and the OpenRoaming system, which is designed to provide a solution to the issue of massive data in transit.
OpenRoaming, a Cisco-initiated federation of providers utilising standards-based wireless technology, is designed to enable devices, whether smartphones or AVs, to automatically connect to trusted Wi-Fi hotspots and networks without the need to enter usernames and passwords, instead using embedded credentials issued by identity providers – in this case, OEMs or AV software companies.
OpenRoaming is said to be particularly suited for connected vehicles, with opportunities for Wi-Fi hotspots to be deployed in locations such as petrol stations, electric vehicle charging locations, parking structures and vehicle service centres.
Oxbotica said its next-generation connected vehicles co-innovation trial with Cisco demonstrates how customers will be able to access, customise and integrate the mobile autonomy IP into their own products. The platform to be tested is designed to be fully scalable, capable of being deployed across various fleet networks, no matter the size or location, while delivering cost-effective and secure data offload.
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“We fully recognise that, in an autonomous world, fleets will need to upload and download vast amounts of data,” said Ozgur Tohumcu, CEO of Oxbotica. “The partnership with Cisco offers us the chance to solve one of the greatest data challenges of the future, already today…the software already reduces the amount of data sharing that is required, allowing vehicles to operate wherever they are, with or without network connection.”
Matt MacPherson, CTO at Cisco Wireless, added: “Today’s autonomous vehicles generate enormous amounts of data when they operate. The challenge is how to gather that information from the vehicle automatically and, perhaps more importantly, cost-effectively. Tomorrow’s connected cars will face the same [problem].
“For industrial applications where devices, such as autonomous vehicles, rather than people, are moving through areas that are covered by Wi-Fi, this technology is designed to enable that simple, automatic connection that users experience when using mobile networks. OpenRoaming opens up the possibility of a cost-effective alternative for transporting high-volume data to and from the vehicle, autonomously.”