Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and 5G Lab Germany joined to research “the impacts of 5G wireless networks combined with HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems on the telecommunications and mobile industries.” The focus is on the Internet of things (IoT) in general, and motor vehicles specifically.
HPE’s announcement follows Ericsson’s formation in November of a consortium based in Germany dedicated to creating the infrastructure to support connected and autonomous vehicles. Members of the 5G-ConnectedMobility consortium are Ericsson, BMW Group, Deutsche Bahn, all three German mobile network operators – Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica Deutschland, and Vodafone, and – perhaps not coincidentally – the 5G Lab Germany. Autonomous vehicles are expected to rely heavily on 5G networks for connectivity.
HPE has not joined 5G-ConnectedMobility, and though neither HPE nor 5G Labs mentioned the consortium, connected vehicles are explicitly what the collaboration is about. The two organizations said they will partner “to build proof points in autonomous vehicle intercommunication and deliver rich end user applications by leveraging 5G wireless networks and HPE Edgeline Systems.”
In a statement, Tom Bradicich, HPE’s vice president and general manager, servers, converged edge and IoT systems, referred not only to autonomous vehicle use cases but also smart cities.
HPE’s Edgeline products include servers and gateways designed to be placed at the network edge specifically to support IoT applications.
Some IoT applications are expected to involve thousands and perhaps even millions of sensors – that will certainly be the case with connected vehicles. These sensor arrays are likely to produce huge amounts of data, perhaps in enormous surges. The potential exists for swamping the data centers that would have to process it all. Even if data centers could handle the flow, shipping every bit of data to centralized data centers is still apt to result in unacceptable network latency.
In the case of supporting motor vehicles – especially those with autonomous navigation – latency wouldn’t be an annoyance, it would be a safety issue.
One way to potentially reduce latency would be to put more resources at the edge of the network to handle some of the data flow. That’s what HPE is attempting with Edgeline, which it describes as “a unique convergence of datacenter and operations technologies.”
The system delivers software-defined services on industry-standard computing equipment, enabling high-performance computing functions to be deployed at the network’s edge as opposed to the datacenter, HPE said. HPE Edgeline integrates virtualized network functions (VNFs) with National Instruments software-defined radio solutions within LabVIEW.