June 28, 2017

Automotive Cloud Technology Will Transform the Industry

Information technology used by the automotive industry is on the verge of a major revolution. Driven by the increasing capabilities offered by cloud computing, big data, machine learning, and mobility systems, Automotive Cloud Technology (ACT) is being embedded into a growing number of business and consumer applications. Linked together through networks with direct connectivity to vehicles, the resulting data captured from vehicles are aggregated for analysis and available to service providers in milliseconds. As vehicle networks become more pervasive, the automotive cloud has the potential to radically transform the way in which consumers interact with existing automotive stakeholders, mobility solutions, and ride sharing services.

Able to monitor and supervise vehicles and travelers around the clock, Automotive Cloud Technology is much more than simply the next step in the evolution of vehicle-to-network connectivity.  Technically, it is built based on popular cloud and mobile computing technologies and provides interfaces for commonly used services such as network requests, connections to other applications, big data stores, and large databases.

Operating frequently within embedded environments, the automotive cloud runs as an application under a set of constraints and interacts with external cloud environments often running on the same network as the tethered device. It has the capability to load-balance and switch to a replicated instance sans downtime, should the application stop or fail unexpectedly. In that event, down instances are recovered automatically. In addition to the tightly coupled resource-constrained nature of these implementations, automotive cloud can also be directly integrated into workflows.

Some key features of the automotive cloud include open APIs to identify and connect to vehicles, the seamless flow of vehicle data across mobility systems, high availability, services provisioning, life cycle management, data security, load balancing, and network resource administration. Moreover, an automotive cloud may be connected by IoT devices, car links, enterprise systems, as well as other networks. It also allows for vehicle programming, remote diagnostics, monitoring, and service logging.

Key features:

Data Exchange – Share vehicle and diagnostics data with other systems. Additional services can be added to allow for the development of modular and reusable services for integration.

Mobility Services – Applications for ride sharing and mobility services require geo-location services to monitor vehicles and fleets in real time. There may be additional components necessary to communicate with consumers, emergency vehicles, and intelligent highway terminals in the future. The automotive cloud can also track maintenance requirements, user interactions, and delivery status.

Automotive Cybersecurity – Safety is a major concern, and issues of vehicle location, data privacy and security often arise along with those concerning reliability. It’s worth noting that mobility services will also be used by people who are not experts in vehicle or cloud computing technologies and there may be requirements to further secure information between the automotive cloud, connected vehicles, and applications.

Deep Learning – Designing for predictability requires modeling techniques, machine learning algorithms, and design strategies able to support understandable and manageable self-governing systems. These systems must allow for the isolation of system components and analysis of interactions that take place within the automotive cloud network.

Telematics-based commerce – The automated purchasing of replacement parts requires querying multiple vendors for the best price and availability. With Automotive Cloud Technology, the vehicles themselves will communicate the parts that must be replaced, thus requiring these parts to be machine coded – i.e. parts-specific codes suited for the vehicle.

In conclusion, realizing the potential of Automotive Cloud Technology requires more than the effective use of its core capabilities.  It is equally important that all systems and subsystems work together in an efficient, autonomous, and comprehensive manner.  Many mobility services are highly interdisciplinary due to the intricate ways in which users and automotive systems interact with the physical world. To succeed in today’s mobile first world, organizations must explore the opportunities provided by Automotive Cloud Technology regarding the self-configuration of services, adaptive coordination across multiple vehicle systems, and interaction with secure and reliable service providers to ensure safe and stress free mobility services for all constituents now and into the future.

Arvind Jain, CTO and Co-Founder, SHIFTMobility Inc.