Driving automotive innovation at Automotive World Japan
At the Edge

Data is Driving Automotive Innovation in Japan & Beyond

Western Digital hit the road to attend the 10th Automotive World in Tokyo, Japan, where data was driving automotive innovation.

Automotive World Japan is the world’s largest exhibition of advanced automotive technologies. More than 2,600 exhibitors showcased their services and solutions for this rapidly growing industry. More than 38,000 visitors attended the show — up 30% over last year – all converged to talk about the latest trends in the automotive industry.

Data Enabling ADAS, AI, ML and Autonomous Drive

One of the most common themes at the show was advanced driver-assisted systems (ADAS). A multitude of exhibitors shared what they’re building for ADAS. As connected cars evolve to autonomous cars, ADAS requires a “brain” to operate at every step in the journey. Think of all the sensors both inside and outside of a car. The sensors are like human nerves that capture data then send it to the brain for processing.

Data is prominently at the center of ADAS that relies on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to make autonomous drive a reality. We are excited to see this critical evolution in autonomous vehicles, and are proud that Western Digital creates environments for data to thrive, helping the automotive industry advance from connected cars to fully autonomous cars.

Going Beyond the 1 TB Boundary

As we’ve covered automotive trends around the globe (see previous blogs covering top automotive trends at the AutoTech Council, Automotive in India, and CES ) we’ve shared that it is expected that a single autonomous car will have up to 1 TB of storage by 2022*.  However, as autonomy advances with increased AI, we may now be crossing the 1TB boundary.

Data from mapping & navigation, telematics, vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications, accident alerts and recordings, and more will be captured, preserved, accessed and transformed to drive autonomous cars. Add to that even more data that needs to be captured by more sensors (or “nerves”) that sends information to the “brain” to enable AI and ML.

From IoT to LoT “Location of Things” 

Another hot topic at the show was the evolution from IoT to LoT for automotive. The “Location of Things” has emerged as a market that is expected to grow to $71.6 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research, Inc.

What makes LoT different from IoT is the emerging market that pinpoints location in applications such as Mapping & Navigation, which is critical to autonomous vehicles. While IoT is important for automotive, for example in using GPS in connected cars, LoT takes it one step further. A GPS may have latency, or could lose its signal when driving off the grid. Technologies enabling accurate LoT ensure vehicles will know what’s in their path, in real-time, all the time. These are the technologies that will make Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy happen!

Western Digital is Data Driving Automotive Innovation

In addition to seeing all the latest trends in automotive at the show, we were busy hosting our first Automotive World Japan booth showing our complete edge to core storage solutions for all autonomous applications. As an official sponsor for the AUTOBACS SUPER GT 2018 series, one of the largest automotive racing competitions in Japan, we had a GT race car roll in for the event. In addition to the GT race car, we also featured the very first Augmented Reality experience from Western Digital giving attendees an opportunity to look around a virtual car on an iPad with hot spots to view where data lives in a connected car, and how all the functionalities work together to enable an autonomous drive.

Driving Automotive Innovation
Western Digital’s Junya Suzuki demonstrating AR experience

We demoed our iNAND 7250A e.MMC Embedded Flash Drive on an i.MX platform by NXP inside an oven with the temperature running as high as 75°C/105°F showing the reliability, robustness, performance and endurance of our flash storage. Visitors also learned how flash is ideal for applications targeting the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge compute that are increasingly essential for enabling autonomous driving technologies.

Oded Sagee, Senior Director of Embedded Solutions, delivered a keynote speech on the importance of creating the right data environments for automotive storage applications. He highlighted four critical factors in data storage: (1) bandwidth; (2) latency; (3) connectivity and (4) security. He offered in-depth analysis to help attendees identify the right solutions for the inherent challenges designers face in building their autonomous applications.

Oded on driving automotive innovation
Oded Sagee gives a keynote speech on creating the right data environments for automotive storage applications

Russell Ruben, Director of the Automotive Team in Embedded and Integrated Solutions, presented a technical session (in fluent Japanese!) on how NAND flash has evolved to take on the important role of edge storage in autonomous vehicles. He provided examples of various automotive applications where NAND Flash is used, and the reasons why storage will remain in the vehicle. He called out critical features including data retention, endurance and temperature requirements.

Russ on driving automotive innovation
Russell Ruben talks about the important role of edge storage in autonomous vehicles (in fluent Japanese!)

Western Digital’s participation at the increasingly popular Automotive World Japan in 2018 is yet another testament of our commitment to the automotive market. Data is evolving and growing at an insatiable rate driven by technologies such as IoT, LoT, ADAS, cutting-edge infotainment and safety systems, and other connected technologies. A new approach to data storage is required to deliver speed, agility and longevity for various applications, workloads and outcomes that can make it economical to make data alive at scale. We’re driving the innovation across every layer of the infrastructure necessary to stay ahead of new demands.  Our breadth of expertise and level of integration give us an unmatched ability to deliver carefully calibrated solutions for every type and use of data.

Driving automotive innovation in Japan and beyond
Western Digital automotive industry experts at Automotive World Japan

Check out our new automotive video, “Flash Storage Driving Connected Cars to an Autonomous Future.”

*Based on internal estimates


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Charlene Wan
Charlene Wan is Marketing Programs Director, Western Digital.