There is a great deal of talk about the advent of autonomous cars in the automotive industry. Autonomous cars are talked about a kind of disruption that is sure to transform the way driving is done. The arrival of self-driving cars is awaited with much anticipation and excitement across the globe. Any talk on autonomous cars cannot miss the mention of the ‘flood’ of data that would get generated in such cars. In fact, it would be nothing but a ‘data explosion’ with the buzz in industry circles being that data will emerge as the new ‘oil’.
According to a top industry official, self-driving cars are expected to generate and consume around 40 terabytes of data for every eight hours of driving and this data is going to be significantly more than the amount of data generated by an average person today.
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According to various industry experts, autonomous cars on an average will churn out 4,000 GB of data per day and mind you, that is just for one hour of driving a day. It is important to note that video, chat and other internet use of an average person is estimated to be around 650 MB per day, which is expected to escalate to 1.5 GB per day, or essentially double, by 2020.
The big question is: why so much of data gets generated in autonomous cars and that’s largely because such self-driving cars are equipped with hundreds of on-vehicle sensors. According to industry estimates, cameras deployed in such cars alone will generate 20 to 40 Mbps, and the radar is estimated to generate between 10 and 100 Kbps, Intel says.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich puts things in perspective while speaking at a show recently. “Each autonomous car driving on the road will generate about as much data as about 3,000 people. And just a million autonomous cars will generate 3 billion people’s worth of data.”
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Autonomous cars can bank on maps that will feed incoming data a car will need. There is a line of thought that maps won’t be a one-time Google map download and will have to be extremely detailed and timely. Such maps can be leveraged for lane control and road hazards, among other things; given this such maps have to be continuously updated.
Self-driving cars will have to rely on three types of data. One is technical data that will enable a car to learn about such things as cones in the road and other hazards. Then there is societal data that includes an automatic version of platforms such as Waze - a community-based traffic awareness app that is heavily reliant on crowd-sourced traffic reports. Self-driving cars can count on personal data that includes locations and stop time.
There is no denying the fact that data will be extremely integral part of autonomous cars as any self-driving car sans data will have to deal with the world in a very manual way.