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Driven to the Edge: How Edge Computing Can Empower Car Manufacturers & Insurance Companies

Driven to the Edge: How Edge Computing Can Empower Car Manufacturers & Insurance Companies

In the fast-paced autobahn of the automotive industry, both car manufacturers and insurance companies seek innovative routes to leverage technology to create new business models. One great solution: opening part of a vehicle’s on-board E/E platform to serve as a vehicle edge computing node. This move not only enables the establishment of an open ecosystem but also facilitates the introduction of new service monetization models, similar to what we have witnessed with public cloud computing providers.

Let’s explore this topic and its potential for transformative impact on insurance companies, particularly in the context of user behavior insurance (UBI).

Current Challenges in Implementing UBI

Insurance companies face many limitations when implementing UBI, due to the available data retrieval options. The two prevailing approaches have inherent disadvantages. The first requires partnering with aftermarket automotive hardware vendors and employing devices such as OBD2 dongles for data retrieval. It also introduces potential challenges in terms of connectivity sustainability. The second approach involves leveraging cloud-based APIs, provided by car OEMs, to access data already streamed to the OEM cloud. In both cases, a lack of real-time actionability due to undefined data retrieval delays, hampers systemic effectiveness.

Leveraging Edge Computing Node Architecture

The concept of edge computing nodes has long been established in the telco and cloud computing industries. It involves performing data processing near the data source, ensuring low latency and improved efficiency. But the automotive domain presents unique challenges concerning functional safety and security, necessitating tailored solutions.

Empowering Insurance Companies

Envision a scenario where insurance companies can deploy data retrieval and preliminary analysis services directly onto the vehicle's edge computing node. By doing so, insurance companies can eliminate the need for aftermarket dongles and overcome real-time data retrieval limitations. With data processing happening on-board, close to the data source, insurance companies gain full control, flexibility and the opportunity to introduce new features, such as real-time recommendations based on the preliminary analysis conducted on-board. It’s a great way to enhance the value proposition of UBI.

This precise problem can be addressed with a platform that enables vehicle edge computing orchestration, focusing on the embedded nature of the car's on-board platform, functional safety and security.

So, what technical requirements are needed here?

  1. Fit for Purpose
    The platform must be built for operation on embedded devices, which have limited resources compared to cloud computing nodes. It must be lightweight and require minimal CPU and memory resources.
  2. Operating Outside of the Confines of Connectivity
    Consider the wireless nature of connectivity between the car and its back-end systems. Since this wireless connection can be interrupted or limited at any time, traditional orchestrators like Kubernetes are not suitable for environments where guaranteed connectivity between control and worker nodes cannot be ensured. The platform must be designed to operate effectively even in the absence of connectivity.
  3. Ensured Security
    There must be a strong emphasis on security. It must incorporate mutual transport layer security (TLS), with certificate-based authentication at every level, and its own public key infrastructure (PKI) to manage the provisioning and rotation of certificates. Each car must be assigned a unique certificate, ensuring that a security breach in one car does not compromise the security of other vehicles.
  4. Multi-Stakeholder Support
    Such a system must support multi-tenancy and multi-fleet environments. This will enable different tenants, such as insurance companies or other vendors, to own and control their respective services while allowing the car OEM to maintain full control over the overall system. For example, insurance companies can deploy their UBI services on different fleets, while other vendors can independently manage fleet management services.

Driving Toward a World of New Possibilities

It is possible, right now, to speed toward a transformative edge computing solution. What’s needed is a powerful tool for driving innovation, enhancing customer experiences and unlocking new revenue streams in the automotive and insurance industries. Learn more here.


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