Highly Automated Driving Through "Streams"

Manager of Portfolio Strategy, IBM

Recently, various publications including the Times of India, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters and CNET (just to name a few) have been abuzz with news of IBM’s partnership with international automotive supplier Continental. On September 10, at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, IBM and Continental announced a commitment to bring highly automated driving to market, building on the already established connected car and smart cloud technology. Continental expects cars to drive themselves by 2020. The partnership is a perfect union of the auto industry and computing, and this relationship will truly help the auto industry reinvent the driving experience.

connected-cars-645x403.jpgTo be ready for 2020, the ability to capture, analyze and act upon many gigabytes per second is required. This is where InfoSphere Streams comes into the picture. Cars that drive themselves need to be equipped with Internet access and a wireless network. Why? Because they will need to communicate with other devices both inside and outside the vehicle, including smartphones, satellites and other vehicles on the road. This is easier said than done given how fast vehicles are moving. Also, communication with various devices will spew different kinds of data at lightning speeds, and it could be very difficult to capture. Therefore, a highly scalable analytics platform like InfoSphere Streams is required to provide sub-millisecond response times, allowing cars to analyze information and events as they unfold before the data is lost.

Today, drivers have many ways to interact with their cars via connected car technology including the ability unlock the doors, check the status of batteries, find the location of the car, or remotely activate the climate control system. Connected cars can also automatically notify of crashes or speeding and correlate remaining gas levels to the nearest rest stop.

It will be fun to watch connected cars evolve into cars that drive themselves without human intervention. What will it be like to sit in the passenger’s seat as your car takes you to work? Looks like all those science fiction movies got this one right.

To learn more about stream computing, which is already available today, read InfoSphere Streams: Redefining Real Time Analytics. Alternatively, take it for a test drive yourself with InfoSphere Streams Quick Start Edition, a no-charge on-ramp to real-time analytic processing. We invite you to go ahead and build your own connected car application today.