The AECC’s recent Annual All Member Meeting, held February 8-10, brought together OEMs, MNOs and Cloud providers from around the world to discuss the group’s work, recent developments in the space and the possibilities going forward. This year, Roger Lanctot, Director in Strategy Analytics’ Global Automotive Practice, gave the opening keynote presentation on edge computing, Mobile Edge – a New Autonomous Paradigm, which we were pleased to open up to the entire ecosystem. With more than 30 years of experience in the technology and automotive industries, Roger enabled attendees to understand data, software and connectivity in the automotive space and the steps the industry needs to take to move the connected vehicle ecosystem forward.

Roger began by looking at the three primary applications of edge computing:

  1. As a tool to gather massive information from local “things” as an aggregation and control point
  2. As a local storage and delivery provider of bandwidth-intensive content as part of a content distribution network
  3. As an on-premise application and process to replicate cloud services and isolate the data center from the public cloud

That said, when we discuss edge computing in the automotive sector, he noted, the proposition is unique. This is because cars not only receive data, they also collect and transmit data, all while moving at high speeds in an urgent operating environment. Accuracy must be guaranteed, and delays are unacceptable.

Addressing the High-Volume Data and Connectivity Needs of Connected Vehicle Services

The AECC is actively working to address the challenge of managing high volumes of data to support connected vehicle services. Through this effort, the AECC is helping demonstrate that connectivity is essential to ensuring safety, decreasing emissions and enabling a wide range of connected vehicle services – and mobile edge computing (MEC) has a significant role to play. In fact, Roger argued, MEC has come to the forefront in the automotive sector with the arrival of 5G. In today’s environment, the two must work together to enable connectivity and ensure safety as vehicles and their ecosystem continue to evolve. This presents an enormous opportunity for mobile network operators (MNOs) working with cloud providers and automotive OEMs. These groups make up the membership of the AECC and are working together to help address the connectivity needs and data transfer challenges of the growing connected vehicle industry.

Collaboration Across the Ecosystem is Key

Roger went on to explain that there exists an idea in the automotive industry – particularly in the autonomous vehicle space – that everything must be self-contained and managed in the vehicle. Ultimately, however, this is not feasible. He argued that the industry must embrace external data sources and effective data sharing and find a path forward that is driven by connectivity and edge computing. That is exactly why the AECC is working with members across the entire ecosystem: OEMs, MNOs, Cloud and Service Providers. We are working to create meaningful use cases in the areas of intelligent driving, HD maps, mobility as a service and beyond, to help further the ecosystem and unlock the connected vehicle services opportunity.

Distributed Edge Computing Will Unlock the Connected Vehicle Services Opportunity

At the end of the day, Roger argued, we can’t solve the connected vehicle services challenge or enable autonomous vehicles without connectivity, data sharing and edge computing. Edge computing and the work of the AECC is necessary to deliver on the promise of the connected vehicle ecosystem. We’re on the cusp of a whole new world of vehicle connectivity, and the AECC will help get us there.

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