Volkswagen, NVIDIA, Bosch launch Networking for Autonomous Vehicles (NAV) Alliance
NAV Alliance

Volkswagen, NVIDIA, Bosch launch Networking for Autonomous Vehicles (NAV) Alliance

Leading automotive manufacturers and technology providers have joined forces to create the Networking for Autonomous Vehicle (NAV) Alliance.

Aquantia, Bosch, Continental, NVIDIA, and the Volkswagen Group of America have formed a partnership that will draw on their expertise in the car manufacturing, networking, and AI spaces, to help develop new autonomous and connected vehicle technologies.

The NAV Alliance will offer a framework for collaboration around technologies, specifications, interoperability, testing, and product development, with a focus on multi-gigabit in-vehicle networking.

It is hoped the initiative will help solve real-world challenges in connected-vehicle technologies, and develop solutions that can be adopted throughout the industry.

This includes plans for arrays of ECUs (Electronic Control Units), CPUs/GPUs, high-definition cameras, sensors, gateways, and storage devices, all connected through a high-speed, multi-gigabit ethernet network.

The importance of multi-gigabit ethernet

Gary Hicok, senior VP of Hardware Development at NVIDIA, emphasised the importance of high-speed connectivity for autonomous vehicles (something Internet of Business highlighted in a report on the significance of fibre optic cables advances for IoT):

Multi-gig ethernet has a proven track record for interoperability and scalability, making it a natural choice for automotive connectivity, delivering critical data from the sensor suite to the vehicle’s AI brain.”

The alliance will also seek to build consensus around, and help streamline the development of, new multi-gig specifications, in collaboration with standards organisations, such as the IEEE.

Other NAV Alliance objectives include creating specifications for the interoperability, security, and reliability of autonomous vehicles, as well as educating the market about the technology.

NAV Alliance membership

Following its public launch, the NAV Alliance is now accepting submissions for membership by other industry players.

The Alliance claims that members will gain access to the most up-to-date information on multi-gig development for autonomous vehicles. They will also gain ability to influence the direction of new technologies and specifications, opportunities to generate business advantage through the early adoption of new specifications, and the chance to work and network with multi-gig industry leaders.

Going forward, the NAV Alliance will evaluate technology solutions for data speeds exceeding 10Gbps, as bandwidth requirements for high-resolution cameras and sensors, backbones, and storage connectivity continue to increase.

Plus: Bosch announces Mojio tie-up

In related news, Bosch has announced a strategic investment in, and an innovation agreement with, Mojio, a technology platform and SaaS provider for connected cars.

Mojio says it has gathered real-world data from more than seven billion miles of driving for its connected-car platform, which is available to subscribers of major network operators in the US and Europe, including Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile US, and TELUS.

As part of the innovation agreement, Bosch and Mojio will co-develop vehicle communication and diagnostics solutions, as well as crash detection and notification systems.

Chris Middleton.

Internet of Business says

Just as a high-performing athlete needs a fast-thinking tactical brain linked to equally responsive muscles, so too must the central nervous system of autonomous vehicles be able to support a complex network of sensors, cameras, and control systems, and the vast quantities of data they create.

Autonomous vehicles are essentially data centres on wheels, highlighted by this week’s announcement that Tesla will start charging for premium connectivity. However, autonomous cars themselves require internal high-speed, high-capacity networks to link their control systems.

Networking technology may lack the popular appear of AI, but technological progress and standardisation in this area will be just as vital to building the connected autonomous cars of the future.

The NAV Alliance has an impressive roster of founding partners.

Aquantia will provide the kind of high-bandwidth functionality that has been the preserve of data centres, while Bosch is supplying vehicle computers, central gateways, and high-resolution cameras and sensors to enable autonomous driving capabilities.

NVIDIA has quickly become a leading player in AI, backed by its roots in graphics processing and workstation hardware, which are integral to enabling the demanding, parallel workloads of AI and machine learning.

Meanwhile, Continental and Volkswagen bring their substantial automotive pedigrees to the table.

As the NAV Alliance grows its membership, we expect to see it bring further cooperation and standardisation to what is still an immature and disparate market, building on existing initiatives such as the Future Mobility Challenge and the MOBI blockchain consortium.