Edge Technology Vital to Autonomous Vehicle Future
Innovation might be a major benefit to car rental industry
A leading expert in the field of automation is stating that the use of edge technology will be vital to make autonomous vehicles hit the road in the near future. Kenneth Brown, a senior vice president at Schneider Electric, an international company specializing in energy management and automation innovations, declared that the use of edge technology, as well as a sophisticated waving of micro data processors and storage processors that can shove all that information into a cloud footprint less than a hundred square feet will be the key to vehicles being able to drive themselves on public streets and roads.
Since an array of these footprints will be near every road accessible by a self-driving vehicle, the automobile will be able to exchange information to heighten its awareness of immediate surroundings. If received data includes a strewn object or a careless pedestrian, the data exchange can be instantaneous, enabling the vehicle to make a split-second decision that mitigates the danger to anyone in or around the automobile.
“While the vehicle is trying to process what’s happening around it using this data, many sensors are used to understand what’s going on, what’s at risk, and what decisions should be made,” said Brown at a conference in Singapore this week.
“That’s why when an accident occurs, it’s usually because those sensors don’t recognize what’s happening. Therefore a crucial enabling element is the ‘micro data centers’ purely built into the car. However, other supporting infrastructure around that, such as 5G, will determine its performance.”
Brown didn’t reveal when that edge technology would be available commercially or what industries will get access to it. However, he did say that Schneider Electric is testing the innovation with positive results. Additionally, Formula One drivers competing at the forthcoming Singapore Grand Prix will be using some variation of edge technology in the race.
If edge technology proves to be the tipping point in the evolution of autonomous vehicles, the impact on the rental car industry would be huge, according to some experts. Additions of totally self-driven autos, according to one pundit, would greatly affect costs of a short-term rental, insurance and additional premiums, and heightened risks of accidents and thefts. Another expert warned that autonomous vehicles would make it attractive for governments to place traffic congestion charges on vehicles or additional taxes on those running on green technology, as a way to replace the old fuel tax, which would provide a smaller revenue stream if more eco-cars hit the market. Car rentals would likely be hit by such measures, although chances are those costs will be passed onto the consumer.
Still, with the move shifting from an ownership market to a sharing economy, an autonomous vehicle would not only be an attractive incentive to rent, especially if it’s cheaper than actually owning a vehicle.