July 20th by Jake Hertz
Link: All About Circuits
NXP and MOTER join forces to provide insurance companies with a way to get real-time data on intelligent vehicle systems, skipping the dense and costly method of sending all data to the cloud.
As vehicles become more intelligent and produce more and more data, both automotive and insurance companies find themselves in an interesting predicament. On one side, automotive companies suddenly have excessive driver/vehicle data that they would love to monetize. On the other side, insurance companies would love to purchase this data for more accurate coverage. However, a gap exists: there is currently no way to connect these two sides of the equation.
Modern cars produce exorbitant amounts of data. Image used courtesy of Future of Privacy Forum
By and large, there is no existing hardware or software infrastructure that facilitates this communication between automotive and insurance, that is, until now. A new collaboration between NXP and MOTER, announced earlier today, looks to solve this industry’s problem precisely.
Last week, All About Circuits had the privilege to speak to Brian Carlson of NXP and Michael Fischer of MOTER to hear about the collaboration firsthand. However, before diving into what this team-up is doing, some historical context might be important.
Connected Vehicles = Too Much Data
For vehicles to send their data to someone, be it a company or insurance agency, the old-fashioned way would be to send all data, including video from onboard cameras and data from other sensors, from the vehicle to the cloud.
A high-level, generalized depiction of vehicle data deployment. Image used courtesy of AECC
Here, the insurance companies would access the data and run their machine learning algorithms on it to determine, from the raw data, how safe a driver is. Brian Carlson describes this method as “bringing the data to the software.”
This technique is not feasible, however. One of the primary reasons getting driver/vehicle data from the automobile to the insurance company has historically been such a challenge is the vast amount of data generated on-vehicle.
Fischer begins to explain, stating: “… we’re talking gigabytes and terabytes of data. Once video and LiDAR start kicking in, you’re getting like some estimates of terabytes per hour.”
The result is that it’s not feasible economically to transport all this raw data to the cloud for digestion by insurance companies because it’s just too expensive. Despite this setback, NXP and MOTER hope to have found a unique way to sidestep this challenge.
NXP and MOTER’s Idea
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Instead, NXP and MOTER have teamed up with a new concept: what if the insurance company’s algorithms could run on the vehicle? This way, the only thing that would have to be sent back would be the raw output of the data (e.g., did a tailgate event occur, was the driver speeding, etc.) instead of the data itself. Carlson calls this “bringing the software to the data.”
Fischer explains, “Let’s say we’re looking at a video. Instead of uploading that whole video… you want to minimize your costs. Instead just send ‘A tailgate event took place at this time.’ So that’s maybe like a byte of data.” This more precise way of processing data could help significantly reduce data transmission needs and hence cost.
Even though this idea sounds great, what hardware is needed to push this from concept to actualization? This situation is where NXP’s role truly comes into play.
To do this, the companies needed to develop a computing platform that was highly capable of edge computing and had wireless connectivity to transfer the output information to the insurance companies.
The companies’ solution is the NXP S32G GoldBox: a reference design for a service-oriented gateway that leverages NXP’s new S32G2 family of radar processors. The GoldBox leverages the S32G2’s integrated network accelerator to deal with the incredible amount of vehicle data constantly being pushed around. On top of this, it features the ability for
over-the-air updates, cloud connectivity for service-oriented gateways, and enough compute to support edge-processing.
The S32G GoldBox is a reference design from NXP and MOTER. Image used courtesy of NXP
This approach also has the benefit of increased security due to minimal data transmission to the cloud. As Carlson explains, “the vehicle data within there is processed in the vehicle, and all that raw, sensitive data is not being shipped to the cloud. So that’s a key advantage at the end of the day, from a privacy perspective.”
Concerns for Users
Some users may be concerned and not feel comfortable having their vehicle data automatically sent to their insurance company. NXP and MOTER have already considered this and have integrated a feature to completely turn off communications, effectively disabling all data transfer to the insurance companies. This could help give consumers peace of mind as this hardware is looking into being implemented into new vehicles.
Altogether, the collaboration leverages NXP’s hardware and MOTER’s software platform/insurance know-how for a highly creative idea.
With more and more vehicle data available, it’s only a matter of time until insurance companies somehow get involved, and these two companies think they’ve figured out how to bridge the existing gaps.