UK-based autonomous vehicle (AV) software developer Oxbotica has partnered with American networking technology multinational Cisco Systems Inc. to demonstrate how OpenRoaming can unlock the potential of fully-connected AV fleets, enabling the seamless and secure sharing of high-volume data while on the move.
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 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (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. By 2024, over 70 million 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 safety critical information such as severe weather updates or passenger ill health.
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.
OpenRoaming offers the ability to unlock solutions to the large data transfer challenge for AV fleets. A Cisco-initiated federation of providers using standards-based wireless technology, OpenRoaming enables devices, whether it be smartphones or AVs, to automatically connect to trusted WiFi hotspots and networks without the need to enter usernames and passwords, instead using embedded credentials issued by identity providers; in this case OEMs or AV software companies. OpenRoaming is particularly suited for connected vehicles, with opportunities for WiFi hotspots to be deployed in locations such as fuel stations, EV charging locations, parking structures and vehicle service centres.
The Next Generation Connected Vehicles Co-Innovation trial collaboration with Cisco demonstrates how Oxbotica customers will be able to access, customise and integrate the world-leading mobile autonomy IP into their own products. The platform to be tested is designed to be fully-scalable, capable of being deployed across various fleet networks no matter the size or location, while delivering cost-effective and secure data offload.
“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,” explained Oxbotica’s CEO, Ozgur Tohumcu. “However, we fully recognise 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.”
Matt MacPherson, wireless CTO at Cisco, commented, “For industrial applications where devices, such as autonomous vehicles rather than people, are moving through areas that are covered by WiFi, this technology is designed to enable that simple, automatic connection that users experience when using mobile networks. OpenRoaming opens up the possibility of a cost-effective alternative for transporting high-volume data to and from the vehicle, autonomously.”