The car of the future will become a “supercomputer on wheels”November 22, 2019
Robomobiles cannot operate without the collection and processing of large amounts of information. However, modern communication systems used in machines are too slow and inefficient. In order for convenient and safe autonomous transport to appear on the roads, you must create them from scratch.
Cars will soon cease to be a simple means of transportation. Future robomobiles will collect huge amounts of information about the user and the environment every second and exchange it with each other. So far, machines do poorly with information processing, and there is a good reason for this, the New York Times notes: the data transfer standard has not been updated for decades.
Internal automotive electronics still rely on the CAN (Controller Area Network) standard developed by Bosch over 30 years ago. Initially, the CAN bus was used to transmit information about the state of the engine and parts, but gradually the load on it grew. New features, such as automatic braking or steering assistance, require instant communications, and automakers are complementing cars with cabling speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
However, each new option requires another layer of wiring. This is an inefficient and expensive way.
With the advent of robomobiles, the situation will become crisis: they collect and collect a huge amount of data that must be processed instantly. For example, a car equipped with a lidar scans the terrain 10 times per second. Other sensors – cameras and ultrasonic detectors – will also require additional information power.
According to experts, in one hour the robomobile will generate 4 TB of data. To process and transfer this enormous amount, the machine will have to turn into a supercomputer with a computing power of 300 teraflops.
Thus, all the internal electronics of cars must be rebuilt from scratch. So far, the industry has not developed an optimal solution for physically transferring such an impressive amount of information to the machine’s central processor. Wireless communications are susceptible to interference, and fiber is vulnerable to dust, moisture, and vibration. Most manufacturers believe that copper wires can be an alternative.
It is equally important to choose the appropriate type of network protocol. Ethernet LAN protocol usually provides a speed of no more than 1 Gbit / s, which is not enough for robomobiles.
As a replacement, it is proposed to use the Multi-Gig Automotive Ethernet or HDBaseT standard, originally created for processing high-definition video.
Many major electronics manufacturers have entered the race for leadership in the industry, and it is not yet possible to predict their chances of success. The important thing is that no matter which communication system becomes dominant, the automotive industry will face serious changes. Previous standards will not be able to serve the increased flow of information and will serve less and less functions.
The first robomobiles are already appearing on city streets. In the US state of Arizona, unmanned vehicles are entrusted with the delivery of products. In the project, Kroger supermarket chains and Nuro startups will use stand-alone Toyota Prius.
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