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Speaker Interview with Said Tabet, Automotive Edge Computing Consortium

What role do you see infrastructure playing in the future of connected & autonomous vehicle services?

As we talk about connected vehicle services, we tend to focus on the idea of vehicle-to-vehicle data sharing. We think of connected vehicles as big data generators and concentrate on how that service data can be received and utilized by other drivers on the road. However, an important aspect of vehicle connectivity – and the idea of the connected vehicle ecosystem as a whole – revolves around how those vehicles receive and process data coming from other sources as well, including next-generation infrastructure.

As this ecosystem continues to mature, infrastructure-to-vehicle communication will be an important part of the puzzle. For example, think about sensors that are built into city streets transmitting information about upcoming detours or road work. Imagine connected streetlights sharing data on traffic patterns throughout the day to help navigation systems make smart choices. Without a doubt, infrastructure has a key role to play in unlocking the connected vehicle services opportunity, and there are myriad examples of how infrastructure-to-vehicle communication can influence safety, traffic patterns, emissions and many other aspects of connected driving.

Can you give some key application areas you expect to be enabled by integrated intelligent infrastructure?

One of the important services use cases the AECC has worked on is High Definition (HD) Mapping. HD Maps include multiple layers with information that changes at varying time intervals. For example, the most static layer would be the items that stay the same, like street width. The most dynamic layer would be the items that change on a second-by-second basis, such as pedestrians – with everything from traffic to road construction, to parked cars in between.

HD Map Example

These maps are critical for services such as autonomous driving, and they require constant updates and resolution down to 10-20 centimeters, or better. Intelligent infrastructure can play a significant role in informing these maps, particularly the middle layers that include road work, accidents, etc. This is where technology like road sensors, for example, could prove invaluable in informing connected and autonomous vehicles of upcoming obstacles.  

What do you see as the key challenges in this market where the industry needs to collaborate for the full potential of the opportunity to be realized?

I think data sharing will be a key challenge that the industry must overcome. There are a lot of security concerns around the sharing of companies’ data, and rightfully so, but this is a hurdle that we will have to conquer if the future of connected cars is to be successful. Without easy, uniform access to data coming from all models of vehicles, as well as all types of infrastructure built by varying manufacturers, this connected vehicle services ecosystem model will not work.

What are you looking forward to at the Intelligent Infrastructure conference in Austin?

I’m looking forward to hearing from and collaborating with leaders at the organizations who are advancing the intelligent infrastructure space. At the AECC, our mission is to help address the growing data requirements of connected vehicle services by evolving current network architectures and computing infrastructure (which we’re showcasing with our Proof of Concept program), and I think this work goes hand in hand with the advancements we’re seeing in intelligent infrastructure. I look forward to participating in a panel on “Building the Platform for Integrated Intelligent Infrastructure” to share the AECC’s views and learn more about how we can work together to help further the connected vehicle ecosystem.  

Answers from Said Tabet, AECC Board Director and Chief Architect, Emerging Technologies & Ecosystems, CTO Office | Dell Technologies