Intel: Self driving cars are not too far in the future
By Chong Jinn Xiung March 20, 2017
- Advanced economies in Asia Pacific and Japan express great interest in autonomous vehicles
- Artificial intelligence and 5G Network are key elements to make this technology a reality
TECHNOLOGY moves at a rapid pace and so too will people one day. In fact, they won’t even have to touch the steering wheel when they are getting around. Cars piloted by computers may sound like something taken straight out of a science fiction novel but that reality is closer than we actually think.
“Autonomous driving is not at all far away. In fact, we expect to see fleets of driverless vehicles on the streets in less than a decade,” said Intel Solution Group Asia Pacific and Japan director for automotive and transportation Leif Nielsen.
Already there is a lot of excitement around autonomous vehicles this year and that was evident during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January.
Carmakers like BMW Group are working together with technology companies Intel and Mobileye to test a fleet of 40 autonomous BMW vehicles on the road by the second half of this year.
The benefits of driverless cars are definitely compelling as autonomous vehicles are said to be more environmentally friendly, offer a less stressful commute, are easier to park and come at predictable commute times.
However, as useful and convenient as they may be autonomous vehicles are also connected devices and that means that there are more potential entry points for hackers to exploit if left untreated.
To this end, Intel says that automakers, software suppliers and other transportation providers must ensure security and functional safety at all levels -- hardware, software, network and cloud.
Even secondary and tertiary support systems for these cars like the charging station need to have enhanced security.
Intel is working with top automakers to integrate cyber security from design through production and operation, mitigating the risks of connected and autonomous vehicles while encouraging technological progress and innovation.
For example, Intel has already developed some of the most advanced in-vehicle security features on the market. Features rooted in hardware, like secure boot and Intel Trusted Execution Engine, help resist attacks and infection from malware.
Powering the car of tomorrow
The technology that powers autonomous vehicles actually exist today with cars that can connect to the cloud.
The next-generation network technologies such as 5G will play a big part in running the connectivity between car and cloud.
5G networks won’t just be about offering faster speeds but they are expected to deliver extremely low latency with high bandwidth as a means to manage the unprecedented demand for data and more connected devices.
This is true as cars need to react to changes on the road within a split-second and it takes sophisticated data centres to handle the immense computational power to create, simulate and train the self-driving algorithms.
Much in the same way that oil lubricates parts of a car’s engine, data is the virtual lubricant that oils this car-cloud-connectivity mechanism.
“There is a staggering amount of data generated by technologies powering autonomous vehicles. We estimate each autonomous vehicle will be generating approximately 4,000GB of data a day,” said Nielsen.
Preparing for the coming age of autonomous vehicles, Intel launched its Intel GO In-Vehicle Development Platforms for Automated Driving that provides tools specific to automated driving industries including data centre technologies, machine and deep learning training and simulation infrastructures.
Intel also believes that Artificial intelligence (AI) – where machines sense, learn, reason, act and adapt to the real world and amplify human capabilities – will be a key enabler of autonomous vehicles.
The opportunity in autonomous vehicles
According to a report by Morgan Stanley, autonomous driving is set to contribute US$1.3 trillion in annual savings to the US economy alone, with global savings estimated to be over US$5.6 trillion.
Intel’s Autonomous Driving survey conducted last December shows that there has been immense interest in driverless cars among respondents from five countries: Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.
Close to 50% of the polled 1,250 respondents expressed a desire to buy a driverless car or use a driverless taxi when they are commercially available.
In Asia countries like China, Japan and Singapore are already exploring regulations for the safe testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles.
For example, the world’s first autonomous taxis have already launched as a pilot test in Singapore, and we expect to see many of such experiments and implementations taking place across the region in the next few years.
According to Nielsen, autonomous vehicles have the potential to disrupt different industries, changing the way people live, work and even alter the way cities are designed.
“It still may be early days but once fully autonomous vehicles are on the roads, safety regulations are in place and people get comfortable with the idea of being driven around by intelligent machines, the possibilities are endless,” he said.
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