The Extreme Data Challenges of The Connected Car

Connected Cars Will Change the World — Once Manufacturers Figure Out How to Process the Data

Driving back from Yosemite last weekend, on a dark road in the middle of the Sierra Nevadas, my back left tire blew.

My car skidded to the side of the road, the car trailing me swerved to avoid an accident, and for hours I was stuck next to a cow pasture on the shoulder of CA-41.

Almost everyone who’s operated a motor vehicle can empathize with that experience, but the exciting thing is, with industry forecasts projecting that every car will be “connected” by 2025, what happened in the woods outside of Yosemite should play out much differently in the future.

It’s likely that in a few years, my car, with enhanced connectivity, would have been able to sense something wrong with the tire many miles prior and reported that information to me in real-time. I would have been able to pull over, get the tire patched, and avoid what turned into an incredibly dangerous situation.

If the tire did blow suddenly, my insurance company, AAA, and car manufacturer would have all been contacted instantaneously. Help would have been on the way without having to make a phone call.

“The technology that will fundamentally change the future of transportation relates to vehicles that are both autonomous and connected. These vehicles will be orders of magnitude safer than human drivers, reducing accidents with superhuman sensing and perception capabilities, and improving convenience with features like AI in the cockpit. Autonomous and connected technology can also decrease time stuck in traffic, using data from other vehicles and infrastructure to optimize navigation and traffic flow.”


The prospect of a fully connected car — one equipped with Internet access that can tap into a local wireless network — is thrilling for a number of reasons. These new age vehicles will lead to increased safety, efficiency, and also have an enormous environmental impact.

“The total amount of wasted fuel topped 3.9 billion gallons in 2009 according to the Texas Transportation Institute — 130 days of flow in the Alaska Pipeline (nearly a third of the year),” says Prakash Darji — Former General Manager at SAP — in his article: Why Connected Cars Are Poised To Have A Fundamental Impact.

“Connected vehicle environmental applications will enable system users and system operators to make choices that reduce the environmental impacts of surface transportation travel.”

Nobody questions the potential benefits of connected cars, but one vital question remains: how will manufacturers process the data?

The daily data of one connected autonomous vehicle will generate as much data as 2500 smartphones in 2023.

“Robust autonomous and connected technology requires massive amounts of data,” says NVIDIA, widely considered to be the company on the forefront of next-generation automotive technology.

“While exact figures depend on the situation, the vehicle must be able process this data in real time.”

For a car to be fully connected, manufacturers will need to find new, innovative ways to process the incredible amounts of data. The modern datacenter, even based on the most conservative estimates of connected car data output, can’t come close to providing an economical solution.

Forcing manufacturers to pick and choose the features to technologize would be a profound loss for consumers and society as a whole, which is why at we believe PlasmaENGINE® — our GPU-native software built for the real-time processing of infinite data in motion, over multiple nodes, with multiple GPUs — will prove the answer to this looming industry crisis.

The biggest challenge for automobile manufacturers will be prioritizing and reacting to data in real-time. PlasmaENGINE® is the only streaming data software that collects, processes, then stores data, opposed to CPU-bound alternatives which collect, store, then process.

By processing streaming data first, PlasmaENGINE® can prioritize and react to data in real-time while discarding any and all non-pertinent data.

All of these attributes are vital to the future of connected cars, but the ability to only store pertinent data is the true game-changer. Without that ability, it’s likely that no manufacturer could create a palatable pricing model for consumers, which would be an absolute shame considering connected cars could prevent as many as 10,000 fatalities and 500,000 injuries in the United States alone.

Efficiency and cost-effectiveness will be at the forefront as automobile manufacturers construct their global big data strategies. The future of automotive transportation is incredibly exciting, but the connected car cannot exist on a worldwide scale without data processing innovations like PlasmaENGINE®.

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