Last month, AECC hosted its final member meeting of the year. It brought together some of the leading minds in the automotive, MNO and cloud technology spaces to explore some of the pressing questions that are shaping our work in the organization. For this meeting, we pioneered a new approach, structuring our main three sessions around industry topics related to business use cases, what the future holds for next-generation connected vehicle services, and what a future-forward automotive and edge computing ecosystem might look like to support those services. This approach delivered interesting, member-led discussions that brought varying perspectives to the table and explored a variety of issues, which we have highlighted below.

Making an Impact: Business Use Cases

In the first topic session, attendees were asked to discuss the emerging business cases for mobility, networking and infrastructure in the automotive industry. This is quite a large topic, and one that has been top of mind for a while. A clear perspective on business cases will dictate the direction of advancement and encourage progress, so its importance cannot be overstated. In fact, as noted during this session, business scenarios are at the heart of AECC’s work. The group is continually working on how to manage the impending influx of data needed for the connected vehicle services industry and demonstrate the value of AECC’s distributed edge computing approach in solving this data challenge through our growing Proof of Concept (PoC) program. Understanding the business implications of this data is critical to help the ecosystem deliver services, demonstrate value and make strong recommendations for future services.

During this discussion, the group explored a number of business problems, including enabling seamless connectivity, producing energy-efficient solutions, connecting and retrieving data from anywhere as vehicles are moving, and much more. At the conclusion of the discussion, three main points emerged. First, it was agreed that businesses will always gain from efficiency. The question is, how do we measure efficiency and demonstrate its achievement via the edge computing approach? A second key point of discussion related to the connection to the user – how do we better understand the user’s wants and pain points so we can effectively address them? And finally, the last key point discussed was around the idea of identifying unified requirements across the industry and determining what is needed to move those forward.

The Future of Distributed Edge Computing, Automated Vehicles, 5G and 6G

In topic two, meeting participants turned their eyes toward the future to explore the impending requirements for next-generation vehicles and AECC’s distributed edge computing approach. Throughout the session, discussion focused on how our assumptions from 2017, when AECC was formed, have changed for the next generation of vehicles, from cars to autonomous fleets to ships, drones, and HAPs vehicles. The situation is evolving all the time, with requirements becoming more concrete as time marches on. One interesting point that was made was around performance – performance is always expected to improve and get faster as technology matures, and our demands for performance continue to grow. However, it was also noted that speed might not always be the goal. As we look toward 6G, for example, some companies would define success not based on increased speed or less latency, but on reduced cost. For some, a victory for 6G could be the same speed and latency, but delivered 10 times cheaper – an interesting perspective and one we don’t usually take when thinking of platform advances.

Discussion also arose around technology improvements and how market evolution is not purely about technology, but also largely about business issues and societal acceptance. Self-driving cars were noted as an example here. The technology is almost there but is not likely to ever be 100% perfect. The question is whether we can accept a non-perfect autonomous vehicle as a society. The group also explored the topic of data privacy, particularly with AI, and the considerations that must be made around that, as well as what we can expect to see in the space in the coming 10-12 years.

A Smart and Connected Services World

On day three, we kept the focus on the future with a lively discussion around what the future-forward automotive and edge computing ecosystem might look like and how we can get there from here. The dialogue started around the digitalization of the transportation industry. With this digitalization transforming the definition of a connected vehicle, what can the industry do differently to provide, meet or exceed these changes in expectation? Many interesting thoughts were shared, including the possibility of the rise of a new class of company to facilitate interactions between automotive and infrastructure companies.

Additionally, the question of who will pay for V2X communications was a hot topic, and with that came discussion around the challenges of truly executing a V2X communications environment. It was argued that the difficulty has more to do with business deployment issues than technology issues, as without regulation or incentive to have the necessary equipment in each vehicle, it’s impossible to deploy this functionality widely. However, if we can leverage the connected capabilities of each vehicle for the purpose of sending data and information to and from vehicle modems, we can leverage that data for services that could yield big benefits. We are still in the very early days of this, but that could be the first step toward true V2X communication. And, if that data can be utilized by business partners, their usage could help pay the bill, which helps answer one of the biggest questions around this topic.

Thank you to AECC Members and Invitation to Join the AECC

Thanks to all our members for their contribution to a successful all member meeting. It’s your participation that makes these gatherings engaging and beneficial. The AECC works with leaders across industries to drive the evolution of edge network architecture and computing infrastructures to support high volume, data-dependent connected vehicle services to advance a smarter, more efficient connected-vehicle services future. AECC membership gives you a seat at the table and the chance to collaborate with some of the world’s leading companies to help shape the future of the connected vehicle space.

To learn more about AECC membership, visit our membership page or get in touch. And remember to follow the AECC on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest.