Connected and autonomous mobility to rewrite data storage rules

Western Digital offers its perspective on the changing requirements of data storage in automotive applications. By Megan Lampinen.

Data is becoming increasingly valuable to automotive players as connectivity makes its way into both vehicles and urban architecture. Today, half of all new car sales are considered to be connected in some way. Trucks are heading that way too, and TomTom Telematics expects to see 37.9 million connected trucks on the road next year, a whopping 122% jump from 2015 levels.

It’s not just the number of connected vehicles that are growing, but also the amount of data they are each processing. From live traffic maps, dash cams and in-vehicle infotainment to over-the-air updates, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication and eventually autonomous driving—they all devour data. The floodgates could really open with the arrival of 5G, which by some estimates will facilitate data speeds up to 10 Gbps and latency as low as 1ms. But all of this data usage is opening up challenges around storage and management.

Data drivers

Solutions have evolved along with use cases and data requirements. “The automotive industry has seen considerable change with data storage,” observed Russ Ruben, WW Automotive Segment Marketing Director at data storage specialist Western Digital.

Thirty years ago the main place for storage was the navigation system, and transparencies were the go-to solution when the first automated automotive navigation systems launched in the early 1980s, but these were quickly replaced by cassette tapes. By 1987 the first CD-ROM navigation system had arrived on the market, followed ten years later by DVD systems. The new century saw the use of hard disc drives, SD cards and more recently eMMC (embedded Multi-Media Controller) packages.

But today’s data-storage requirements are shaped by much more than navigation systems. “The need for more storage is being driven broadly by connectivity and the move towards autonomous driving,” said Ruben. NAND flash is the most common solution, and the typical requirements for NAND storage use in modern vehicle are considerable. Telematics and V2X applications could consume anywhere between 8GB and 64GB, while infotainment consumes between 64GB and 256GB. Other major data drivers include ADAS (8-128GB), app stack or HMI (32GB), instrument cluster (8-64GB), dash cam (8-64GB), and augmented reality (16-128GB). Not everything can be sent to the cloud or transmitted to the network, and so storage requirements are hefty—up to 1TB, Western Digital estimates. And it will only continue to grow with the move towards self-driving vehicles… Full article


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