The driverless car concept promises us a future of convenience, mobility and safety that could potentially revolutionise modern transportation. A world where autonomous vehicles will perform errands such as picking up the kids from school or groceries from the local shops.
By replacing the fallible humans responsible for 90% of accidents with a machine brain, we welcome the prospect of safer roads and a massive reduction in insurance costs and repairs.
As technologists and car-makers continue to evolve the technology to realise this vision, much of the driverless car conversation focuses on improvements in computer vision, radar sensors and software algorithms that mimic human intelligence.
However, missing from these discussions has been any substantial planning to lay the groundwork for the next-gen communication network that will be required to support any driverless ecosystem.
When real autonomy arrives, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications that enables vehicles to interact with each other as well as with stoplights, buildings, bridges and other environmental elements will play a crucial role in the safety, efficiency and overall viability of any such ecosystem.
Current proposals which include embedding V2X capabilities in 5G offer poor solutions for the variety and complexity of challenges driverless cars will encounter amid the traffic and weather conditions that characterise everyday driving life.
Unfortunately, the communication system we need to realise the vision of safe driverless cars cruising congestion-free roads is still a way off but here’s what we need to do to start building that platform.
Pace of innovation is the new innovation
Salesforce founder and entrepreneur Marc Benioff says that, “Speed is the new currency of business,” yet another important element is innovation. Although a great many organisations operating today tout innovation as the attribute that sets them apart and drives growth for their customers. The reality is that innovation is table stakes for most every company; the real differentiator is how rapidly you can innovate.
For the past 30 years, IT hardware has grown smaller, faster and cheaper at a rate described by Moore’s Law, a pace that enabled the largest expansion of transaction processing that the global computing world has ever seen.
As the pace of innovation in hardware decelerates, software is the linchpin for accelerating innovation. It’s become the great facilitator of speed, and it’s done so by riding on the shoulders of the innovative cloud architecture that supports it.
Now that cloud computing sits squarely in mainstream technology, we’re at an innovation crossroads where many companies will fade away while others speed to dominance.
This is relevant for the V2X future that will empower driverless cars as the cloud offers a perfect location for building the scalable, distributed and ultimately flexible systems that will glue both vehicles and infrastructure into a true ecosystem.
So what’s next for innovation? What can experts predict about what’s coming as we reflect on the slowdown of Moore’s Law? One thing is certain: cloud computing will be in the driving seat for exponential innovation and ultimately become the power behind the autonomous wheel.
Sourced by Curtis Peterson, SVP Cloud Operations, RingCentral
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