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Cloud Computing in Your Car? It’s Already Happening

Cloud computing is integrated into just about every part of our lives. At work, we store documents in the cloud. We might even do all of our work from a cloud-based virtual desktop. In our personal lives, we store photos in the cloud and share videos with friends and family using this invaluable resource. The gaming industry is even experimenting with cloud gaming, where you access the game you’re playing via the cloud without the need for a disk. 

Travel is changing in big ways when it comes to the cloud. There is a big push to utilize this resource in every possible place, but a growing trend is leaving some wondering what the cloud can offer us on-the-go. From automated driving features to in-dash applications that enhance the driving experience, cloud computing is coming to a car near you.

Big Investments from Automakers in the Cloud

Volkswagen Group is the latest carmaker to join the growing movement to cloud computing for vehicles. The first big company to invest in this sort of technology was Tesla, which utilizes an advanced cloud network for its vehicles. Volkswagen is hoping the cloud can help advance and improve efforts in automated driving. At the moment, we see automated driving occur in small ways, like automatic breaks and steering. The goal one day is to offer automated driving that controls the vehicle from the moment you leave the driveway until you reach your destination. 

Ford is also investing in this technology and not just for automated driving. The cloud offers the automotive sector the ability to bring practical applications to cars without the need for external devices. Improved GPS directions, real-time updates to traffic and nearby stops, as well as safety checks that run automatically while driving with a detailed diagnosis, are all improved and possible with cloud computing. 

One approach to this new move for cloud driving is a full-speed-ahead approach to cloud computing in every aspect of a company. These carmakers are using the desire to improve cloud computing in vehicles to level up all cloud applications and uses across their business. While things like data servers and storage take place in the cloud for many of these companies, advanced cloud applications for virtualization and Omni-operational programs across numerous devices are possible now. It’s a trend experts see in big companies like Ford and Volkswagen as well as small businesses.

Cloud Applications for the Auto Industry

One of the largest interests for carmakers is cloud applications that help create a better system for designing cars. A single car in production can use up to 36 million CPU hours and rely on 1,200 terabytes of data from start to finish. If all of the design properties moved to the cloud, the process could be much smoother for engineers. A smoother process for those working on design can also lead to improved production standards and practices.

Once someone takes their car home, automakers don’t relinquish responsibility for the vehicle’s performance. In fact, automated driving leaves many automakers nervous about what happens if the software fails and causes an accident. Development capabilities are a huge part of Volkswagen’s $50 billion plan to invest in cloud tech. For example, in-house operations for vehicle production usually rely on immense amounts of software. Volkswagen really only develops 10% of that software itself. This investment can allow Volkswagen to prepare its own software for vehicle operation and production and in turn create valuable IP that the company can use for its projects.

Cloud Enhancements for Drivers

It goes without saying that more technology in a vehicle might sound dangerous. If you have distractions in your touch-screen dashboard hub, then driving might end up being more dangerous than it already is. Luckily, many of the cloud computing enhancements coming to the auto industry rely on improving already vital aspects of driver behavior. 

Applications like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are found in most new vehicles built today. These applications help drivers talk hands-free, use GPS, and avoid high-density traffic when it occurs. These practices can all improve with cloud hosting that takes the burden off the actual computer inside your car and outsources the computing and performance to the cloud. Instead of integrating more technology into cars, which is pricey, the cloud is simply given a larger role in the driving experience. It also means faster connections and better results for your favorite in-car applications. 

These enhancements might seem years away, but the big-time investments coming from automakers is going to make an impact on vehicles produced in the coming months rather than years. It’s an exciting time to be a car enthusiast and an even better time to look inward at how cloud computing could help improve your business.

 

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