HPE Will Drive Network Connectivity In The IoT Fueled World Of Driverless Cars

Research sharing and Internet of Things (IoT) network services will form HPE’s strategy for the rise of connected and driverless cars.

In an interview with Silicon UK at HPE Discover 2016 in London, Sven Postels, strategist and chief technologist for the automotive sector at HPE, explained that the company has been involved in providing networking and servers for supporting connected car services for major automotive companies such as General Motors.

But with the rise of driverless cars and the sheer amount of data and computer electronics cars now contain, that position is looking to evolve.

“The car is now becoming a server on wheels,” Postels said, noting there is a need to move away from the traditional electronics of car to seeing them as having a pool of resources than can be used in a more flexible manner, embracing the “software-defined” nature of modern servers and data centre architecture provided by HPE.

Connecting the connected car

There are two aspects to HPE’s future in the automotive sector. The first and most prominent is its position to provide the network infrastructure and systems to connect connected cars.

HPE currently has its universal IoT platform to do this; an external system that offers cloud-based data services, analytics via HPE Vertica, device and service management, and a host of other network interconnectivity features.

The system could be thought of as the external IT plumbing that connects current connected cars to their backend systems as well as paving the way for communications between driverless cars and the external systems that will support them.

“Beyond the 1.6 billion edge devices on rubber wheels in the future, there is a need to build the entire distributed mash network in the back end to linking intelligent traffic systems, to cities, to parking….this integration work needs to be done,” said Postels.

Unlike some tech giants like Intel and Nvidia, Postels said HPE is not looking at providing hardware that will be used directly in car and will instead provide supporting services and networks, as well as tech to companies more suited for providing such hardware systems into present and future vehicles.

“We are so much better in the ‘I’ of IoT than the ‘T’,” said Postels. “We are the interconnectivity company.”

Sharing is caring

While HPE will not be putting some of its noteworthy tech from its HPE Labs division, such as memory-driven computing system The Machine. Postels said HPE is up for sharing the research it has done in the labs with companies looking at producing car tech that needs to work with large amounts of data and required high levels of interconnectivity, compute power and data throughput.

Postels did not reveal any current or upcoming research sharing partnerships directly, but did insinuate there were a few on the table.

“You can imagine if there’s strategic partnerships with Nvidia, strategic partnerships with Intel, the jump to reach out to HPE and leverage what we have developed due to the strong partnerships we have with them anyway, is not a big jump,” he said.

“You can easily assume there is a research exchange between Nvidia, Intel, us, Mobileye and other,”

“We’re helping industry partners that are building the ‘Things’ and they rely more and more on the inventions we’ve made in computing.”

With the IoT being used in increasingly interesting ways, from powering RAC telematics to tracking Harbour Seals in Scotland, providing connectivity services and an universal platform seems a shrewd move by HPE.

What do you know about the Internet of Things? Take our quiz!

Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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