Self-driving cars eventually won’t need a human operator — but what the vehicles will need is a network powerful enough to handle the massive amount of data generated by their autonomous tech.
In order to ensure that network is as powerful as it needs to be, the Volkswagen Group of America — joined by four autonomous tech suppliers — formed the Networking for Autonomous Vehicles (NAV) Alliance on Tuesday.
The newly formed group of autonomous tech industry leaders aims to develop products for self-driving cars that support multi-gig ethernet connectivity, allowing those vehicles to better handle the data overload from all the sensors, cameras, RADAR, LIDAR, ultrasound, and other equipment that allow them to operate on the road without human drivers.
For a self-driving car, a faster network like the one proposed by the NAV Alliance can take in all the inputs from the road and make a faster, better decision if the vehicle should need to brake, switch lanes, or slow down.
In a release about the new alliance, the NAV Alliance laid out its plans to develop this automotive network, set up testing procedures for network security, create standardization within the autonomous industry, and educate users and would-be buyers about autonomous vehicle networks.
“The NAV alliance will catalyze the development of a reliable next generation of networking platform for self-driving cars,”James Hodgson, a senior analyst at ABI Research, said in a statement about the alliance.
Now it’s a matter of convincing more companies to put competition aside and join the NAV Alliance in the hopes of optimizing data networks industry-wide.
The announcement of the NAV Alliance’s formation comes one week after carmakers, logistics companies, and other self-driving companies announced the formation of the Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity. This group is focused on the transition to autonomous cars and how that will impact the driving workforce.
Waymo, Uber, Lyft, Ford, Toyota, and FedEx are some of the founding members of that group.