Why Cisco’s partnership with automotive companies like Hyundai is a game changer for automotive innovation

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In the technology industry, it’s typical to see a company launch hundreds, if not thousands of new features a year – features developed within weeks or months and then ready for “production.” When it comes to the automotive industry, a new capability takes closer to five years of design, development and test before it goes into production on an automotive factory floor. But as more and more sensor technology goes into a car and as cars become more like “data centers on wheels,” relationships between Silicon Valley high-tech companies and the automotive industry continue to strengthen and are helping to speed up the pace of innovation in cars.

Coming together to accelerate the creation of technology that will move the hyperconnected car forward, both industries understand the clear demand for a more sophisticated and secure network inside the car.

Cisco’s partnership with Hyundai Motor Company is a strong proof point of the accelerated innovation that happens when a high-tech leader joins forces with an automotive giant. This week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Cisco and Hyundai announced the production of a next generation hyperconnected car. This new in-vehicle network will be available and featured in premium 2019 Hyundai production vehicles.

What sets this partnership apart is how quickly the two companies have brought this innovation to market. Bringing their respective expertise to the table in 2016, the companies agreed to create a flexible and more secure platform that would offer a path to innovate and build on smart-vehicle solutions. Announced ahead of schedule, this new platform features a software-defined vehicle architecture inside the car with tremendous value to auto companies, and the consumer.

Dramatic reductions in time to market: Cisco and Hyundai are dramatically reducing time to market for new capabilities in the car by using a next generation architecture.  The normal lifecycle on a car is 4-5 years, and the companies will deliver an in-vehicle network in 2-3 years from design to production.

Significant saving with digitization: With smaller form factors, lighter cables and more flexible software, Cisco expects a 30-40% cost savings from the new infrastructure, and savings will continue to increase as cars become fully digitized.

Auto companies will exceed customer expectations: With over-the-air updates, consumers are going to be able to get the new technology, advanced features and increased functionality post-sale as they become available.

Current vehicles are built with closed and disparate networks and heavy wiring harnesses that are bulky and inflexible. Dozens of closed networks and proprietary solutions that exist today are not readily available to accept innovation. They also don’t provide true connectivity for the future applications needed in a self-driving world.

Cisco is taking an approach that starts with the vehicle infrastructure. That means opening up the closed systems to create a full IP and Ethernet fabric. That includes interoperability of legacy hardware with an end-to-end secure platform. This is the only way to achieve full autonomy and enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-roadways communications. And, it will allow connection through to data centers and smart cities, allowing new services over time.

Traditionally, the central gateway connects to all the legacy endpoints, devices, and buses inside the car. By putting software inside the central gateway, the new solution enables high speed connectivity downstream to every device in the car – and upstream to the cloud. This IP connectivity is required for applications to control devices based on real-time data and analytics.

The software defined platform:

  • Provides Over-the-Air (OTA) update functionality to extend the value post-sale
  • Drives seamless networking within the car
  • Enables automated policy and configuration to be applied downstream to every device and endpoint
  • Delivers real-time, two-way telemetry on everything in the car
  • Provides data compression, data encryption and intrusion detection

Cisco is enhancing in-vehicle networking by providing seven and twelve port Ethernet switches (depending on vehicle type) with industry leading high-speed switching from 100Mbps up to 1Gbps. This replaces the existing proprietary, costly and complex wiring solution with a high-speed digital solution for applications such as camera video. The faster processing, along with access to up-to-date telemetry allows data to be collected and analyzed in real-time.

Cisco is taking an in-depth approach to security to address the multiple attack surfaces that exist in vehicles today.  This end-to-end security architecture includes encryption, authentication, intrusion detection, firewall and network traffic analysis. But, the true strength of the solution ultimately is in securely connecting vehicles, roadways, smart cities and the multicloud environments utilized by consumers and OEMs alike.

Cisco’s partnership with Hyundai is just the beginning. With the software-defined vehicle in place, there will be more high-speed networks to manage the centralized compute, sensor integration and consolidation within the car. There will be a ubiquitous IP fabric throughout to enable future services. Auto companies will begin to open up their vehicles by consolidating and standardizing current networks on an IP over Ethernet backbone.

Be sure to check back or subscribe to Cisco Blogs to learn what’s happening next with the next generation hyperconnected car.

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