Datacentres: In the driving seat of the connected car revolution

Here is an interesting article by

(16 December 2016, 11:11 a.m.) on the IOT site:

http://www.iottechnews.com/news/2016/dec/16/datacentres-driving-seat-connected-car-revolution/

When I started driving, cars were generating very little data. They got you from A to B without the addition of gadgets or gizmos. Connected cars as we know them today were certainly not a thing.

Today many vehicles are computers in their own right, connected to the Internet and data is flooding in. In fact, it’s estimated that a single connected car uploads 25GB of data to the cloud per hour.

(c)iStock/aleksle

With a quarter of a billion smart vehicles set to be on the road by 2020, that’s over 6 billion GBs every 60 minutes.

Such vast amounts of data are only going to continue growing in the years to come, putting the automotive industry in a leading position within the Internet of Things (IoT).

But at the same time a growing number of challenges and pressures are becoming apparent – namely the need to process, analyse and store all this new information.

As a result, datacentres are fast becoming the solution to the automotive sector’s rapid data growth, but how exactly are these data halls driving the connected car revolution forward?

From connected cars to autonomous autos

For the past few years, connected cars have been the hype of the sector.

By ‘connected’, we mean vehicles that have access to the internet in some form; cars that are often spotted with sensors that enable machine to machine (M2M) and machine to human (M2H) communication. As already noted, this level of connectivity generates substantial data sets.

The industry is continuing to innovate rapidly, and before connected cars even become commonplace, conversations are shifting to autonomous (or self-driving) vehicles – the futuristic Hollywood vision realised.

Here we’re talking about vehicles that operate without a human driver. While this could well give rise to many transportation efficiencies (reduced driving costs, improved convenience etc.) it will also undoubtedly bring about a more drastic automotive data revolution.

If one connected car today generates 25 GB of data an hour, one autonomous car in the future is likely to generate ten times that information.

On top of all the data a connected car generates, self-driving vehicles will have to be truly intelligent – learning how to their ‘drivers’ like to drive, sensing the physical environment around them, broadcasting location data and interacting with other vehicles and objects to traverse the roads safely.

By producing data on data in this way, autonomous cars will require even quicker analysis and bring entirely new elements of machine learning to the mix.

Which means beyond M2M/M2H communication we must also consider vehicle to vehicle (V2V), vehicle to everything (V2X), vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) vehicle to person (V2P) and vice versa (P2V).

Driving datacentre demand

The resulting complexity and scale of automotive data sets means more and more automotive giants are recognising the need for complex computing to drive their businesses (and vehicles) forward.

HPC – and the datacentre industry as a whole – sits in the driving seat of the intelligent automotive revolution

In turn, this has resulted in an exponential growth in the number of customers from the automotive industry turning to external data centre providers to meet their Big Data and High Performance Computing (HPC) demands.

The need for scalable, secure HPC datacentre solutions is therefore being felt keenly. For many auto-companies, these kind of data hubs are not necessarily those on their doorstep, and IT decision makers are looking to colocation datacentre providers to support their HPC operations, by supplementing compute capacity and improving operational costs.

In order to support the rapid innovation the automotive industry is showing at present, such campuses must present an ‘HPC-ready’ solution – offering the expertise to support the management of information loads as quickly, efficiently and successfully as the automotive experts that have been handling complex vehicle data for decades.

Innovating in Iceland

More often than not, these are remote facilities with the power infrastructure, resiliency levels and computing resources needed to process HPC loads cost-effectively. Moving automotive HPC workloads to campuses with inherent HPC-ready capability gives automotive manufacturers the medium and high power computing density required at significantly lower energy costs.

Ultimately that enables the ability to gain more insight from more data, and moves us closer to the benefits of autonomous driving.

A number of automotive leaders have recognised these benefits, and are already reaping the rewards. One such manufacturer is Volkswagen, which recently announced the migration of one megawatt of compute-intensive data applications to Verne Global’s Icelandic campus in order to support on-going vehicle and automotive tech developments.

Likewise, BMW is a well-established forward-thinker in this area, having run portions of its HPC operations – those responsible for the iconic i-series (i3/i8) vehicles, and for conducting simulations and computer-aided design (CAD) – from the same campus since 2012.

These automotive leaders consider Iceland an optimal location for their HPC clusters – not only for the energy and cost efficiencies it delivers, but the opportunity it allows them to shift their focus from time-intensive management of the technical compute requirements of their day-to-day work to what’s really important: continued automotive innovation.

Even so, wherever automotive data is stored, analysed and understood one thing is for sure: HPC – and the datacentre industry as a whole – sits in the driving seat of the intelligent automotive revolution.

It will advance our understanding of auto-tech, smarten our driving behaviours and ultimately carve a path to the coveted driverless and connected car technologies that will radically change the way we travel into the future.

AI in self-driving cars – sci-fi no longer

Intelligent machines powered by artificial intelligence (AI) computers that can learn, reason and interact with people and the surrounding world are no longer science fiction. Thanks to a new computing model called deep learning using powerful graphics processing units (GPUs), AI is transforming industries from consumer cloud services to healthcare to factories and cities.

A great article from Bosch, more here:

http://blog.bosch-si.com/categories/mobility/2017/01/ai-self-driving-cars-nvidia-bosch/

 

Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill

A license to practice in general in the automotive service and repair industry is essential in my opinion. However, we are more likely to have success with this in connection with Electric Vehicles (includes all hybrids and variants). I fully support the IMI and the work they are doing to achieve this:

VW Golf GTE (PHEV)
The following is a brief from the Institute of the Motor Industry.
Making the most of electric vehicles – Infrastructure, skills, and safety.

The previous Secretary of State said, ‘The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra–low emission by 2040.’

The Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT) and KPMG have forecast that the overall economic and social benefit of electric, connected and autonomous vehicles could be in the region of £51billion per year. The estimates indicate 320,000 additional jobs, and the potential to reduce serious roadside accidents by 25,000 casualties per year, which would save the NHS £24m by 2030.

The elimination of 40,000 deaths and 100,000s of respiratory illnesses caused by air pollution from diesel and petrol motor engines will increase this saving significantly.

The IMI believes that to achieve the Governments aims and reap the predicted economic and environmental benefits there is a need for a holistic approach. Government must address all the infrastructure issues.

The main focus of the VTAB is charging infrastructure

The IMI agrees that UK needs to have consistent and sustainable EV charging facilities across the country. There are currently 11,840 charge points across the UK. These are segmented into three categories slow charge (6 to 8 hours), fast charge (3 to 4 hours), and rapid charge (30 to 60 minutes). In addition, Professor Jim Saker of the University of Loughborough points out that the New Automotive Industry Growth Team project have indicated there are only two ways forward as regards to the future power train of vehicles; and that is Electric Vehicles and (Hydrogen) Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV). Currently however there are only 7 hydrogen filling stations in the UK. Professor Saker suggests that thousands more are needed to entice the public to make the switch to FCEVs en masse.

Issues the Bill does not address

Skills gap and competition issues
A problem will come from the skills gap facing the industry. A recent study conducted on behalf of the IMI showed that 81% of independent garages found it difficult to recruit technicians with the skills and competences to undertake work on technologically advanced vehicles, such as hybrid and electric cars. Out of 183,869 vehicle technicians in the UK only 2,000 are qualified on EVs and these are all employed in manufactures dealerships.

The lack of competition will exasperate the issue of the skills gap that would be taking place in the market. Manufacturers will train technicians and provide them with the equipment to repair EV and FCEV; this will lead to a group of skilled technicians who can repair the modern vehicles and a large percentage of technicians who have only been trained on the old technology.

This will mean that the market will fail to open up because of high repair and insurance costs. ULEV insurance costs are up 50% more expensive than petrol and diesel because of the skills shortage.

Government Investment in training
With major problems over recruitment and large skills shortages within the sector it is clear that unless a proactive strategy is undertaken the UK will not be able to support the growth of low carbon emission vehicles. The IMI has called for a modest investment of £30 million to assist the independent sector to train the required number of people.

Additional focus for the VTAB

Safety a risk to life and the reputation of the technology
The battery pack on a plug-in hybrid/electric vehicle carries up to 600v direct current. Manufacturers have taken the necessary precautions to ensure that the vehicles are safe in their day-to-day use. However, the risk of untrained vehicle technicians attempting to repair hybrid vehicles in particular is high as many of the components (other than the electric motor) are similar to that of standard combustion engines. Any technician making these assumptions puts their lives and the lives of others at risk.

To put this into perspective a UK household runs on 240v alternating current. In order legally conduct any electrical work on the premises the electrician has to be licenced under the NiCEIC BS 7671 scheme. Yet, no such licensing exists for electrically powered vehicles. Without an equivalent licence how could an automotive technician work on a faulty charging point or vehicle at the home of the vehicle owner?

Licence to practise
The Government should make it illegal for unqualified technicians to work on EV and FCEV cars from 2017.

The Government should mandate the IMI, along with the Health and Safety Executive to maintain the register of licenced technicians
.
Questions for the Minister

1. It is clear that the introduction of alternative fuel cars has the potential to reduce emissions and save lives (9,500 deaths in London associated with pollution, Kings College London study , 2015), as will the introduction of autonomous vehicles (25,000 according to KPMG). However, does the minister agree that introducing these advanced technological systems without the necessary legislation or licensing in place to ensure those that are working on these vehicles can repair the vehicles safely could cause avoidable injuries and fatalities?

2. Is the Minister aware that sales of electric vehicles have risen by 31% in the last year, but out of 183,869 technicians working on cars in the UK only 2,000 are currently qualified to work on the high voltage systems of electric vehicles, all of whom work solely in manufacturers’ dealerships?

3. If he does know can he say what plans the government has got to ensure the necessary skills are developed in the wider service & repair sector to maintain Electric and Hybrid vehicles safely and at a reasonable cost for consumers in the future?

4. Is the minister aware that insurance premiums for electric vehicles are up to 30% higher than for equivalent petrol or diesel models, and that Thatcham Research Ltd says this is due to the cost of repairs, the complexity of the cars, and there being fewer appropriate repairers driving competition?

5. Is the Minister aware of the very stark difference in the technology in electric vehicles compared to petrol powered cars, effectively the dawn of a second era in automotive technology, and the potential danger to an unqualified individual attempting to repair a machine that contains up to 600DC volts, which is potentially lethal?

6. Will the Minister meet with representatives from the Institute of the Motor Industry, the industry’s Professional Body, who are working closely with manufactures like BMW and Mitsubishi, to hear their case for a licence for professional technicians working on EVs, to protect the workers and to encourage businesses to invest in building the skills base required to support the exponential growth of electric and hybrid vehicles expected in the coming years?

7. Has the Minister calculated the potential savings for the NHS from the switch by drivers to ULEVs from diesel and petrol cars, and have these been factored into the investment decisions outlined in the VTAB?

SAE standard for wireless charging

Electrified powertrains, specifically Battery Electric and Plug-In Electric (BEV/ PHEV) vehicles are projected internationally to become more prevalent in production due to environmental factors (such as CO2 emissions), regulations (such as the Greenhouse Gas and the California ZEV Mandate) and the increasing price of fossil fuels. The main benefits of electrified powertrains are eliminating or significantly reducing local emissions while increasing the overall well-to-wheels efficiency.

Standardized Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) through wireless charging allows the BEV/ PHEV customer an automated and more convenient and alternative to plug-in (conductive) charging. Essentially the customer simply needs to park into a SAE J2954 compatible parking space (e.g., residential garage or parking structure) in order to charge the vehicle.

More details here: http://standards.sae.org/j2954_201605/

Digital Headlights

Mercedes Benz has introduced digital HD headlights that constantly monitor the road ahead and adjust instantaneously to illuminate pedestrians, bicyclists, road markings and street signs.

Each headlight has over 1,000,000 LED facets that are controlled individually by data from forward facing cameras that is processed by the computer system. When a person or object in the road ahead is detected, the headlights illuminate it with a beam of light. The light is also directed and focused to eliminate glare that would dazzle other road users or pedestrians. It can also work like other adaptable lighting and so light the roadway around curves.

The lights can act like a head-up display (HUD), but instead of projecting information onto the windscreen, it shows as a digital image of a zebra crossing or a street sign directly onto the pavement using light. The technology is expected to make it into production by 2020.

Bosch electrification technology


Bosch solutions make electrification technology accessible and offer powertrain choices for OEMS

Making its global debut at NAIAS, Bosch’s electric axle drive system (eAxle) makes electrification accessible for automakers through a scalable, modular platform that can bring 5-10 percent cost efficiency as compared to stand-alone components. The eAxle is flexible for multiple platforms and brings together top-of-the-line Bosch powertrain components into one system.

The Thermal Management Station will show how Bosch technology efficiently manages heat flows in electric vehicles and extends range by up to 25 percent, especially in winter driving conditions. The holistic thermal management approach for electric vehicles makes heating in the winter and cooling in the summer cost effective and energy efficient.

Advancements in the electrified powertrain are not limited to battery-powered vehicles. Bosch continues to drive innovation in the internal combustion engine. Direct injection (DI) makes up nearly 50 percent of today’s internal combustion engine market, and its share continues to grow as it enters its third generation of system technology. This new generation can provide significant improvements in efficiency, as well as reduced particulate and gaseous emissions, and improved acoustic performance to decrease overall noise.

Electrification enhanced by collaboration with automated and connected technologies

In addition to powertrain technologies, Bosch will also feature automated and connected technologies including the global debut of a key requirement on the path to fully automated driving. The Electric Power Steering (EPS) system with fail-operational function is a highly redundant feature that enables either a driver or auto pilot system to independently return to a minimal risk condition while maintaining about 50 percent electric steering support in the rare case of a single failure. This technology will enable OEMs to comply with the fall back strategies as proposed in the Federal Automated Vehicles Policy documents from the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Traffic Highway Safety Association.

 

Introduction to SAE J2534 (Pass through)

Introduction

J2534 is a concept that enables flash programming of an emission related ECU regardless of the communication protocol that is used by the ECU. The purpose is that only one tool (hardware device), often referred to as the pass-thru device, should be needed for all kind of ECUs. The connection between the J2534 device and the ECU is a SAE J1962 connector. The J2534 hardware device is to be connected to a standard PC which holds the Application Program Interface (API) from the vehicle manufacturer (Figure 1). The connection between the PC and the J2534 hardware device is up to the manufacturer of the tool, but USB is probably the most common. A J2534 API DLL is provided from the hardware tool developer which handles the communication to the PC. The J2534 document withholds requirements for the hardware and software of a J2534 tool. The communication protocols supported are; ISO9141, ISO14230 (KWP2000), J1850, CAN (ISO11898), ISO15765 and SAE J2610. In 2005 J1939 was also included.

Figure 1. J2534 setup.

Background

Vehicles become more and more complex and almost every function is controlled by an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The ECUs are often connected onto a communication bus to be able to share data between each other. The most common protocol is CAN, but there are other protocols. There are many Vehicle manufactures and almost as many different communication protocols. Every vehicle manufacturer has a tool for analyzing and reprogramming their product, and this tool is often expensive. This makes it difficult for a car, bus or truck workshop to analyze and repair all kind of vehicles.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) have been trying to get vehicle manufactures to support common emission-related services for the aftermarket. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) created the J2534 standard, in 2002, to promote the EPA and ARB in their work.

Hardware Requirements

The J2534 hardware works like a gateway between the vehicle ECU and the PC. This pass-thru device translates messages sent from the PC into messages of the protocol being used in the vehicle ECU. J2534 supports the following protocols:

The connection between the PC and the J2534 hardware can freely chosen by the manufacturer of the device i.e. RS-232, USB or maybe a wireless interface. The vehicle manufacturers programming application is not dependant on the hardware connection. Therefore any device can be used for programming any vehicle regardless of the manufacturer.

The connection between the J2534 hardware and the vehicle should be the SAE J1962 connector, also called the OBDII connector. The maximum length of the cable between the J2534 device and the vehicle is 5 meters. If the vehicle manufacturer doesn’t use the J1962 connector, necessary information for connection has to be provided.

The J2534 hardware interface should be able to provide a supply voltage between 5 and 20 volts to the J1962 connector. The power supply should use one of the pins 6, 9, 11, 12, 13 or 14 of the connector and this choice should be selectable in the software. The maximum source current is 200mA and the settling time should be within 1ms.

The J2534 hardware interface should have enough memory to buffer 4Kb of transmit messages and 4Kb of received messages. And the processor must naturally be fast enough to process all messages so that no messages are lost.

Software Requirements

Programming of an emission related ECU using J2534 is done from a PC, preferably a laptop computer, with a Win32 operating system (Windows 95 or later).

Each vehicle manufacturer will have an own API software used for analyzing and programming of their vehicles. If their vehicles only use i.e. ISO 9141, no other protocols have to be supported by the application. It is important that this application conform to the functions in the J2534 API.

This application will have complete information of the ECUs that are supported by the application. This application also includes a user interface where choices can be made depending on the ECU and what action to perform.

A vehicle repair workshop that wants to analyze and re-program vehicles from different manufactures must have an API for each. This API can be downloaded from the internet or installed from a CD or DVD. How this API is provided depend on the manufacturer, but they do charge the customer (repair workshop) ordering it. The price differs a lot between manufacturers, a one year subscription costs between $75 and $2500.

Each manufacturer of a J2534 tool (hardware device) must have a DLL-file which includes functions and routines for communicating with the PC. The DLL-file is then loaded into the vehicle manufacturer’s application. The functions in the J2534 tool are linked to a corresponding function in the application. The DLL-file also includes routines for the connection (RS-232, USB etc.) between the J2534 tool and the PC.

The intention is that every J2534 tool should to be capable of communicating with all protocols supported by the J2534 standard. The application provided by the vehicle manufacturers use commands described in J2534 standard to connect to a hardware tool (of any brand). The connection and initialization gives the hardware tool information of which protocol that is used. Thereafter it is up to the hardware tool to manage the connection to the vehicle with de desired protocol. The PC application will send messages in the earlier determined protocol format to the hardware tool which buffers the messages and transmits the messages in the order they were received.

J2534 Application Programming Interface (API)

The J2534 API consists of a number of functions for communication which must be supported by both hardware tool and vehicle manufacturer application. For the PC application developer this means that all commands and messages must made with the functions defined in the API. See table 1 below.

Function Description
PassThruConnect Establish a connection with a protocol channel.
PassThruDisconnect Terminate a connection with a protocol channel.
PassThruReadMsgs Read message(s) from a protocol channel.
PassThruWriteMsgs Write message(s) to a protocol channel.
PassThruStartPeriodicMsg Start sending a message at a specified time interval on a protocol channel.
PassThruStopPeriodicMsg Stop a periodic message.
PassThruStartMsgFilter Start filtering incoming messages on a protocol channel.
PassThruStopMsgFilter Stops filtering incoming messages on a protocol channel.
PassThruSetProgrammingVoltage Set a programming voltage on a specific pin.
PassThruReadVersion Reads the version information for the DLL and API.
PassThruGetLastError Gets the text description of the last error.
PassThruIoctl General I/O control functions for reading and writing protocol configuration parameters (e.g. initialization, baud rates, programming voltages, etc.).

J2534 function description.

The first command that is sent is the PassThruConnect which establish the connection between the PC application and the J2534 hardware tool. This command includes information about which protocol to use, standard or extended CAN identifier or if ISO15765 is used. The command also includes a channel identification which will be used for all following communication. If the connection was successful, a STATUS_NOERROR value is returned, which indicates that the function has been successfully performed. Before any messages can be sent an initialization has to be made, PassThruIoctl, where parameters like node address, baud rate or protocol specific parameters are set.

All messages sent from the PC application follow the same structure which consists of: protocol type (i.e. J1850, CAN, J9141), receive message status, transmit message flags, received message timestamp (microseconds), data size in bytes, extra data index (start position of extra data in received message i.e. IFR, CRC, checksum), and last but not least an array of data bytes (the received message). It is possible to send CAN messages longer than 8 bytes using ISO15765 commands if this feature was selected upon connection.

Some ECUs sends a lot of messages with short period of time between each message. The filter function, PassThruStartMsgFilter, can be set to either block or pass messages. This will decrease the messages needed to be sent between the hardware tool and the PC. The message is first “ANDed” with a mask which gives the opportunity to compare only some important bits of the identifier. Thereafter the “ANDed” message is compared to a specific pattern.

J2534 API DLL

The J2534 API DLL provides a linkage between the API functions and the hardware tool. Since the PC application should not have to care about which communication protocol is being used between the PC and the hardware tool. Each manufacturer of a hardware tool has a DLL-file with a unique name. This way it is possible for the software application on the PC to distinguish which hardware tool to connect. It is important that the developer of the firmware in the hardware tool follows the API and name the functions exactly as in the J2534 description. Otherwise it will be impossible for the PC application to find the functions in the DLL when performing the linkage.

Source: https://www.kvaser.com/about-can/can-standards/j2534/

Alternative fuel vehicle registrations

Brussels, 28 October 2016 – In the third quarter of 2016, demand for alternative fuel vehicles in the EU grew (+7.0%), totalling 137,423 units.

In the third quarter of 2016, demand for alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) in the EU grew (+7.0%), totalling 137,423 units. Results were diverse among different vehicle categories. On the one hand, registrations of both new electrically chargeable (ECV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) continued their positive momentum, posting double-digit percentage gains during the last quarter (+20.2% and +29.2% respectively). Growth in the ECV segment was particularly supported by plug-in electric cars (+26.4%), which represent more than half of total ECV registrations. On the other hand, demand for cars powered by propane, ethanol or natural gas (NGV) fell by 26.2% to 34,384 units during Q3 2016, following the trend of the first and second quarter. The main reason for this has been a contraction of the Italian market, which accounts for the majority of these vehicles.

full details and source: http://www.acea.be/press-releases/article/alternative-fuel-vehicle-registrations-7.0-in-third-quarter-of-2016