Amazon Web Services drives data developments

09 December 2020

9 December 2020

New vehicles are increasingly equipped with a vast array of technology, including on-board computers, sensors, and cameras. These systems provide consumers with advanced features like automated lane-keeping, connectivity and digital personalisation. But in order to operate, these technologies require data. Cars are now capable of gathering, analysing and utilising massive amounts of information. This transformation has been echoed across the automotive industry, something which has not been lost on the internet giant, Amazon.

While many consumers may revel in the revenue of its online retail platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a major profit driver for the company. The cloud-services business made up more than $3.5 billion (€2.8 billion) of Amazon’s approximate $6.2 billion operating income in Q3 this year. Now, as the automotive industry looks to cloud-based solutions to weather the incoming data flood, Amazon is stepping in to help build AWS arks.

BMW and AWS

BMW Group recently announced a new strategic collaboration with AWS to accelerate digital innovation, by putting data and analytics at the core of its decision-making. The two companies will develop cloud-based IT software solutions to increase efficiency, performance, and sustainability, with applications across the value chain, from vehicles to after-sale services.

As part of the collaboration, the carmaker will migrate data from across its business operations to the platform, including a number of its central IT systems and databases, which deal with sales, manufacturing, and maintenance. Aiming to gain new data-based insights from analysis, the manufacturer wants to be able to update customer experiences with greater speed and agility.

Data-centric

BMW currently uses its AWS-powered cloud data hub, boosting the development, production, sales and performance of vehicles. By further advancing these capabilities, the carmaker expects it could better forecast model and equipment demand. This would allow it to optimise purchase planning, production and sales.

′The BMW Group is driving digitalisation and innovation in the automotive industry,’ said Alexander Buresch, CIO and senior vice president of BMW Group IT. ′We are making data central to the way we work and we look forward to collaborating with AWS to merge our talents, continuing to raise the bar for innovation among automakers and delivering exciting new experiences for our customers around the world.’

5,000 software engineers

The two companies are also looking to train up to 5,000 software engineers with a new global qualification programme. Around 2,000 of these will become AWS-certified, with an emphasis on machine learning and data analytics.

Experts from both companies are planning to work with the automotive group’s employees to identify current challenges and develop new cloud-based solutions. For example, the partnership plans to develop a ′natural language-processing solution,’ which works with automotive terminology and can automatically extract, process, and translate data from diverse text sources.

BlackBerry and AWS

AWS has also announced a new agreement with security software company, BlackBerry, to develop an intelligent vehicle-data platform called BlackBerry Ivy. The scalable, connected software will allow carmakers to provide a secure way to read vehicle sensor data, creating insights to power responsive in-vehicle services.

The system will apply machine learning to the unique data created by vehicle sensors, generating predictive insights that will allow carmakers to offer personalised in-vehicle experiences. It will support multiple operating systems to ensure wide compatibility across models and brands.

Ivy will run inside a vehicle’s embedded systems but will be managed and configured remotely from the cloud, giving carmakers greater visibility into data, control over who can access it, and optimised processing. This then opens the door for manufactures to deliver new features, functions and performance to customers, as well as unlocking new revenue streams and business models.

Ivy applications

In terms of application, Ivy could use data to recognise a driver’s behaviour in hazardous conditions, such as heavy traffic, and then recommend enabling a safety feature like adaptive cruise control. The system could then provide carmakers with feedback on how and those safety features are used, allowing them to make targeted investments to improve performance. Another example might include drivers of electrically-chargeable vehicles (EVs), who could share battery information with third-party charging networks to proactively reserve a charge point and tailor charging time according to current location and travel plans. 

The systems could also allow carmakers to analyse real-time performance data, recognising the first signs of potentially faulty parts, applying code to affected vehicles, alerting drivers and performing targeted recalls. Manufacturers would also be able to remotely deploy and update software for the cloud to continuously improve functionality.

′Data and connectivity are opening new avenues for innovation in the automotive industry, and BlackBerry and AWS share a common vision to provide automakers and developers with better insights so that they can deliver new services to consumers,’ said John Chen, executive chairman and CEO of BlackBerry. ′This software platform promises to bring an era of invention to the in-vehicle experience and help create new applications, services, and opportunities without compromising safety, security, or customer privacy.’

While cars and carmakers alike undergo a digital transformation, service providers like amazon have a golden opportunity to plant their flag in the automotive industry. The gold rush of the wild west is long since over and now, as the age of oil recedes, data is dominating a new digital world.