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Three Requirements for the Next Generation of Connected Cars

Smart cars have the potential to change the world in a meaningful way.
By Christer Boberg

To truly get smart cars off the ground (figuratively), industries as diverse as cybersecurity providers, cloud vendors and automotive software providers, along with automotive OEMs, will need to begin working closely together. Regulators and governments will also need to be part of the discussion. Everyone from the car producers and owners to the network, connectivity and other technology providers, to the ones regulating everything will need to be on the same page and develop requirements that work.

This collaboration has already started in earnest. One example is the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium (AECC), which was launched when automakers began to realize the amount of data needed to make the ecosystem successful. Groups like AECC, 5GAA and others can help lead the way, but the problem requires broad and deep collaboration and understanding across industries.

All of the things discussed so far point to the most important requirement: standardization. When creating devices (cars) that operate in a multi-actor environment on a global scale, it's critically important that standard infrastructure be in place. This allows for the development of standardized applications for the cars, as well as a framework to develop against.

Developing a consistent view of the technology to use represents a real challenge. Every industry involved—telecom, automotive, software and so on—has a different focus. To make the connected car dream a reality, companies in the automotive industry—the ones developing the cars themselves, along with the technology providers making this happen—must start moving toward a standard infrastructure. The supporting industries involved will then collaborate to work toward a suitable network architecture, deployment and business model for the automotive sector's specific application need.

Emerging standards like 5G—including improved capacity, network slicing for precise quality of experience support and distributed cloud for improved latency, security and compute utilization—are extremely important. The car industry is focusing on how to use the network for its commercial services, and it always comes back to the huge amount of data and the high bandwidth usage. 5G is promising, but any technology standard used has to work in a multi-network environment that includes 4G and even 3G—the old and the new—and be able to support the many different services the industry requires.

Smart cars have the potential to change the world in a meaningful way. Everything is in play, from eliminating traffic delays to making accidents a thing of the past. It won't come easily, however. These three areas are a start. Once the diverse parties pioneering this technology collaborate to develop the technology and standards required for the leap, the potential for innovation and change is beyond our wildest expectations.

Christer Boberg has worked at Ericsson for more than 20 years. Currently, he is the company's director of service layer technologies, technology strategy, business area technology and emerging business, and is driving technology strategies for the IoT and the cloud.

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