Oxbotica Hopes for Connected Autonomous Fleet Breakthrough

The UK’s autonomous driving specialist Oxbotica is hoping to see a breakthrough in mass data handling to advance adoption of connected autonomous fleets.

It plans to use connectivity provider Cisco’s OpenRoaming platform to allow the large data transfer required to make driverless commercial fleets a reality. The company points out that AVs make 150 independent vehicle detections every second and generate up to 80GB of data per driven-hour from sensors such as LiDAR, cameras and radar as well as ADAS logs. This constant activity means amassing 1.2TB of data in a 16-hour day, the equivalent of over 500 HD movies or over 200,000 songs, much of which is gathered when the vehicle returns to base.

It says that by 2024, more than 70M new connected vehicles will enter the market every year, with each required to upload and download 8.3GB of data per day, including streamed infotainment, HD navigation, vehicle telemetry and ADAS settings, as well as mission critical information like severe weather updates or passenger ill health. By comparison, the average smartphone will contribute just a fifth of this daily volume.

Stretched across an autonomous fleet, which could include hundreds or even thousands of vehicles in a city or region, this would produce an abundance of data beyond that which could be shared efficiently and cost-effectively using existing 4G, or emerging 5G, networks. Oxbotica has already started work on addressing this challenge with on-road trials taking place in Stratford, East London last September.

Now it says OpenRoaming, a Cisco-initiated federation of providers using standards-based wireless technology, could enable AVs to automatically connect to trusted wifi hotspots and networks without the need to enter usernames and passwords. Instead, the platform uses embedded credentials issued by identity providers, in this case automakers or AV software companies. It claims the platform can use wifi hotspots deployed in locations such as gas stations, EV charging locations, parking structures and vehicle service centers.

Ozgur Tohumcu, CEO at Oxbotica, said: “As part of our Universal Autonomy vision, our pioneering software already reduces the amount of data sharing that is required, allowing vehicles to operate wherever they are, with or without network connection. In fact, our software has been designed to operate not dependent on any infrastructure, so it can understand the vehicle’s environment in infinite detail. However, we fully recognize that in an autonomous world, fleets will need to upload and download vast amounts of data and the partnership with Cisco offers us the chance to solve one of the greatest data challenges of the future, already today.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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