The LA Auto Show may be remembered more for its technologies than the actual cars it showcased. That’s because automakers and technology companies are no longer isolated; instead, they’re part of a new and fascinating picture in which, when it comes to the future of automobiles, “data is the new oil.”
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, delivering a keynote address at the Automobility LA conference (as part of the LA Auto Show) on Nov. 15, described the confluence of automobiles, data dependence, and connectivity as being equally valuable as an integrated whole as automobiles currently are on oil. Krzanich stated,
“We are in a time when technology is valued not just for the devices it produces, but for the experiences it makes possible. Data has the potential to radically change the way we think about the driving experience: as consumers, as automakers, as technologists, and as citizens of our communities,”
Intel’s interest in self-driving vehicles has grown over the last year after acquiring machine vision company, Itseez, Inc. this past May. With Itseez in its portfolio, Intel is developing algorithms and implementations of computer vision around automobiles, among other applications. Additionally, a partnership with BMW and system-on-a-chip maker and ex-Tesla partner Mobileye may produce an open platform for designing autonomous vehicles.
“It’s not enough just to capture the data,” Krzanich argued. “We have to turn the data into an actionable set of insights to get the full value out of it. To do that requires an end-to-end computing solution from the car through the network and to the cloud — and strong connectivity.”
Krzanich’ keynote speech marks the first time that Intel, the semiconductor conglomerate, has ever had a prominent role at an automobile show. It follows an editorial that he wrote earlier in the year in which he outlined five key points to accelerate Intel’s transformation from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices. According to Krzanich:
- The cloud is the most important trend shaping the future of the smart, connected world. Virtualization and software are increasingly defining infrastructure in the cloud and data center.
- The many “things” that make up the PC Client business and the Internet of Things are made much more valuable by their connection to the cloud. The Internet of Things encompasses all smart devices – every device, sensor, console and any other client device – that are connected to the cloud. Everything that a “thing” does can be captured as a piece of data, measured real-time, and is accessible from anywhere. The biggest opportunity in the Internet of Things is its ubiquity.
- Memory and programmable solutions such as FPGAs, which are integrated circuits that can be programmed in the field after manufacture, will deliver entirely new classes of products for the data center and the Internet of Things. Breakthrough innovations and products to the cloud and data center infrastructure are revolutionizing the performance and architecture of the data center, with growth for years to come.
- 5G will become the key technology for access to the cloud, providing computing power to a device and connecting it to the cloud makes it more valuable. The example of the autonomous vehicle, with its need for connectivity to the cloud alongside the cloud’s need for machine learning capabilities, requires the most up-to-date algorithms and data sets to allow the vehicle to operate safely. In this way, connectivity is fundamental to every one of the cloud-to-thing segments we will drive.
- Moore’s Law, in which Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965 noticed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention, will continue. This concept has fueled the recent technology revolution.
Krzanich elaborated at the Automobility LA conference that autonomous cars may soon utilize sensors from LIDAR, sonar, and radar, as well as GPS and cameras. A single autonomous vehicle could generate approximately 4 terabytes (4,000 GB) of data daily. “Every autonomous car will generate the data equivalent of almost 3,000 people. Extrapolate this further and think about how many cars are on the road. Let’s estimate just 1 million autonomous cars worldwide — that means automated driving will be representative of the data of 3 billion people,” Krzanich said.
The keynote speech augmented an Intel press statement that its Capital division will invest $250 million over the next two years into developing technologies around autonomous vehicles, which are “areas where technology can directly mitigate risks while improving safety, mobility, and efficiency at a reduced cost; and companies that harness the value of the data to improve reliability of automated driving systems.”