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More Edge Computing In The Future Of The Automotive Sector

Edge Computing is not just about the purely IT world. Factory Edge – aimed at manufacturing and logistics processes, and Vehicle Edge, relating to networked vehicles – is gaining in importance in the automotive sector. The future of this market lies in software-controlled vehicles, autonomous, electric, and connected with all road users (therefore, not only cars or trucks but also pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, traffic lights, infrastructures) to acquire and exchange information, which makes it possible to increase road safety significantly.

Moving to Edge Computing involves moving data processing from centralized data centers to remote and distributed locations. This means that data can be consolidated and analyzed locally before being transferred to a data center, eliminating connection challenges in terms of bandwidth or latency, reducing transmission delays, and avoiding service interruptions.

Edge Computing In Production And The Vehicle

There are two Edge scenarios for a vehicle manufacturer: Factory Edge and Vehicle Edge. Factory Edge is the foundation for a closer relationship between manufacturing and logistics and optimizing manufacturing capabilities and logistics processes by enabling automakers to implement their current initiatives optimally. On the one hand, companies modernize their processes to produce and deliver new models quickly, safely, and economically. On the other hand, they are increasing the degree of agility of manufacturing facilities through automation, intelligent manufacturing, or AI to support the transition from mass to custom manufacturing.

However, it is necessary to analyze large amounts of data quickly to do this. This activity falls directly on the production line with the networking of plants or control systems, i.e., on the Factory Edge, with scenarios such as condition monitoring, predictive maintenance, data sharing services, or resource management. On the other hand, the Vehicle Edge consists of having a calculation unit in the vehicle, capable of operating independently or in conjunction with an Edge Gateway near the car, for example, on the roadside.

The Vehicle Edge is of increasing importance for the evolution from the traditional car toward an intelligent and connected vehicle that needs to analyze data and make decisions in real-time. Additionally, Vehicle Edge is the foundation of a software-defined vehicle where features can be dynamically reloaded and unlocked. In principle, connected vehicles will in the future be intelligent nodes, parts of a much larger ecosystem that they interact with. For example, a car could provide environmental information or data to optimize the parking system in cities. 

Ultimately, the Vehicle Edge is also necessary to implement innovative concepts such as Car-as-a-Service, Mobility-as-a-Service, or Smart City. While central, Edge Computing and 5G aren’t the only technologies driving change in the automotive industry. An important role is also played by V2X communication, i.e., the ability of the Vehicle Edge to communicate with other vehicles, road infrastructures, central platforms, or LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging) systems for self-driving cars.

IoT And Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure As A Basis In The Automotive Sector

In principle, the digital transformation in the automotive sector largely depends on the Internet of Things (IoT) and the strategic use of data. In this context, digitization requires various solutions, platforms, and technologies such as device sensors, IoT gateways, agile back-end systems, and open hybrid cloud architectures. Above all, the IoT will determine the new automotive era: sensor data is a fundamental component of its success. But the IoT is also the protagonist in the Factory Edge area. 

For example, the Open Manufacturing Platform (OMP) initiative – launched by BMW Group and Microsoft and recently embraced by Red Hat – is working on developing innovative Industry 4.0 solutions and IoT applications for the automotive and manufacturing industries intending to promote the digitization of production through open source and open standards. Red Hat is actively involved in various working groups, including “IoT Connectivity,” which aims to connect IoT devices and machines to the Cloud to digitize production lines and improve Cloud-based IoT applications. As cars become more connected and digital, so do the needs of IT. 

Conventional architectures are not adequate due to their agility and flexibility, speed, and scalability limitations. In principle, an automaker can only successfully tackle the challenges with a hybrid or multi-cloud cloud IT infrastructure that enables the delivery of applications in short development cycles in a dynamically scalable environment. It is fundamental that an open half and half cloud stage additionally upholds full Edge arrangements, i.e., it should go about as an even distinct stage that – from the center to the Edge – gives a bound together turn of events and functional experience. Edge registering must, in this way, be turned into an essential piece of an open mixture cloud methodology.


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