MOTOR Magazine

A MOTOR Magazine Newsletter
December 5, 2016

Contributed by Bob Chabot
Harnessing the Coming Surge of Data

Vehicles will soon generate incredible amounts of data

"The automotive industry is on the cusp of a major transformation, demanding unprecedented levels of computing, intelligence and connectivity," stated Intel Corp. CEO Brian Krzanich, during the Automobility 2016 keynote held at the recent LA Auto Show. "Just as oil has transformed our world over the last century, data is poised to transform our world for the next hundred years – and beyond."

The use of fully autonomous cars – defined by US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as “Level 5” on a scale of zero to five – has already begun in some urban areas. For example, in August 2016, Uber began to rollout a fleet of 100 autonomous Volvo XC90s in Pittsburgh. According to the Boston Consulting Group (and other market research firms), the number of automated driving vehicles in operation will see strong growth over the next 20 years and beyond. “Autonomous and semi-autonomous cars are expected to represent 13 per cent of new car sales globally in 2025 and around 25 per cent in 2035. Of note, with each passing year, expect the share of fully autonomous vehicles to dominate that growth.”

Data is the New Oil
The world of today runs on oil — from heating and cooling our homes to powering almost all forms of transportation. Without oil-based products, you won’t get far trying to drive a vehicle: Engines overheat, pistons and rings fuse to cylinder walls, block cracks and there's no fuel.

"You could say oil is the key technology that allowed the automotive world we know today," Krzanich explained. "However, when it comes to the car of the future with increasingly automated driving experiences, data has the potential to radically change the way we think about the driving experience as consumers, as automakers, as technologists and as citizens of our communities. The enormous flood of data driven by the proliferation of smart devices connected to the Internet of Things will disrupt the automobile and every other industry.

Those who think the world is already flooded with data haven't seen anything yet, according to Krzanich. In 2016, the average person generates 650MB of data a day, through use of their PCs, mobile phones and wearables. By 2020, Intel's projections show that the average person will generate 1500MB (1.5 Gigabyte or 1.5 GB) of data a day. While that's an impressive 200 percent increase in less than four years, it pales in comparison to what we’re about to see in autonomous vehicles.

Within five years, new autonomous vehicles will generate more than 4,000 GB of high-speed, high volume, real time data per day, the equivalent of data generated daily by 3,000 people. According to Intel CEO Krzanich, "The automotive industry is on the cusp of a technological revolution that is set to have tremendous social, cultural and economic effects on our lives. Self-driving vehicles, which seemed like figments of our imagination even five years ago, can decrease accidents and save human lives; save the U.S. economy $121 billion a year in wasted time and fuel; and offer unprecedented levels of mobility to the elderly and disabled. (Images — Intel Corp.)

Data Will Drive New Opportunities
The reality for the next several is that it will be the pieces of automation (e.g. pieces of active safety), rather than full automation, which will initially enter the market in volume. But make no mistake: The shift to automated driving — along with the massive amounts of data involved — has both the support and momentum necessary to change how vehicles are built and serviced.

"Vehicles that can perceive the world around them, and respond more quickly than a human can, require a variety of sensors, cameras, radar, and of course, software," Krzanich noted. "Within five years, autonomous vehicles will each generate 4,000 to 4,500 GB (4.5 Terabytes or 4.5 TB) of data per day. One million autonomous vehicles in operation will generate the volume of data that three billion people would. To frame the massive volume of data another way, all of the information in the Library of Congress today comprises 20 TB of data. Just five automated vehicles would match that.”

Krzanich explained emerging new technologies would be high-speed, real time and data-intensive cameras, compared to those used today. Examples include complex radar, sonar, GPS and LIDAR systems, and other audio-visual data components that will be as essential to the new way of driving as pistons, rings and engine blocks are today. Cameras will generate 20-60 MB/s, radar upwards of 10 kB/s, sonar 10-100 kB/s, GPS will run at 50 kB/s, and LIDAR will range between 10-70 MB/s.

Intel's current platform spans both hardware and software solutions for Advanced Driver Assisted Systems (ADAS), Software Defined Cockpits and the heavy computing power capabilities required for the fully autonomous cars of tomorrow, such as vision processing, 5G, cloud, machine learning and security.

Data Will be the Automotive World's Cash Cow
"Do the math: 4 TB of data per day per vehicle is just the beginning," Krzanich noted. "Our entire transportation system is about to be disrupted. For those throughout the automotive ecosystem, from vehicle manufacturing to maintenance, there will be huge opportunities to service, reprogram and leverage these systems. In addition, the new sources of data will drive insights, enable new business opportunities to be developed, and help create a safer world."

"It’s not enough just to capture the data," Krzanich emphasized. "We have to turn the data into an actionable set of insights to get the full value out of it. To do that requires an end-to-end computing solution from the vehicle through the network and to the cloud with strong connectivity. Copious, low-cost, non-volatile memory; field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs); cloud-based systems; and 5G communications are just some of the fundamental technologies needed to realize this solution."

Krzanich, differentiated three types of data that will drive value into the automotive ecosystem:

  • Technical Data — Think of this as the “inside-out” data that comes from the vehicle's sensors that interpret the difference between a child or an animal, a fallen branch or a traffic cone and directs the outward decisions and movements of the car. This data takes an incredible amount of computing power, and whoever has the best data can develop the best artificial intelligence tools of machine learning, deep learning algorithms and data analytics.
  • Societal and Crowdsourced Data — This is "outside-in” data, collected from the world around the vehicle, such as traffic and other influences that affect how the car gets from point A to point B, and how the car can change course to point C. The Waze app, is a good example of outside-in data today. With outside-in data, whoever has the most data will be able to develop the best applications.
  • Personal Data — Personal information tracks how many people are in the car, music preferences of each passenger, or even what stores or brands passengers prefer and tees up when you are near them. Smart phones, tablets, wearables and other sensors inside the car can monitor personal preferences, behavior, focus, emotional and biometric status to increase safety and security. Individual privacy is of course a concern here, but when collected en masse, agglomerated and anonymized, the data becomes marketable. Whoever has the most personal data will be able to develop and deliver the best user experience.

"In just the past 12 months, Intel has already booked more than $1 billion worth of development projects, based on 49 design innovations with leading global car manufacturers including BMW, Daimler, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar XF, Kia, Lexus, Mini Cooper, Rolls Royce, Toyota, Tesla and others. In the next two years, Intel will invest more than $250 million into new opportunities focused on handling the deluge of data generated by new connected devices in the transportation sector, specifically on those that mitigate risks while improving safety, mobility, and efficiency at a reduced cost."

Understand this: Intel Corp. isn't the only company making these kinds of investments in data generation, collection and marketing. Others include tech giants (e.g. Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook); most automakers; Tier One suppliers (e.g. Delphi, Bosch and Continental); as well as telecoms and other service related firms are also actively involved. Those in the automotive service repair sector need to recognize this is indeed where the "smart" money is going. With proper preparation and training, data can be a friend rather than an overwhelming foe.

[Editor's note: Visit for the latest diagnostic and service insights.]

Important Links
MOTOR Current Issue
MOTOR Current Issue
MOTOR Magazine

MOTOR Information Systems • 1301 W. Long Lake Road, Suite 300 • Troy, MI 48098