Saturday, 16 September 2017

Will Driverless Cars Dream in Cisco Hues?

Google, Uber, Ford. They are the big names in driverless vehicles. But did you know Cisco is already empowering nearly every Connected Car on Earth? Through its cloud-based IoT platform, Jasper, Cisco has become a key player in Smart Car technology, helping Honda launch its connected car services across Europe and working with Hyundai to create a new concept for connected car data collection. Plus, Cisco is already partnering with communities like yours to deploy fog and speed sensors along public roads. So we can just imagine what the visionaries at Cisco have in store for driverless cars.

If We Let Cars Dream, Great Things Will Happen

My parents are nearing 80 years of age, yet they are keen on technology. From tablets to Rokus and everything in-between, they haven’t let the future pass them by. My mom especially enjoys real-time video calls with my mother-in-law who now lives on the other side of the planet. For my mother and father, both of who grew up poor on small Kentucky tobacco farms, wireless technologies are a literal miracle.

What Driverless Cars
Recently my mother started talking about driverless vehicles and how wonderful that will be for people her age who can no longer drive. Both her and my dad were pretty excited about the thought and hoping that self-driving cars will become the new normal very soon. But my mom had one intriguing question: “What will my driverless car do once it drops me off at the store? Will it go back to the garage?”

At first thought, it seemed a funny question. But in truth it is very insightful. Driverless cars, also known as Autonomous Vehicles, will contain a significant amount of technology. This will include advanced processors, cameras and sensors and all the hardware and software needed to connect to the world around them. So why should all this advanced tech go to waste when the vehicle is not driving?

Why not let them fall into a deep sleep . . . and dream of Big Data.

The Real Future of Autonomous Vehicles

Piggybacking off my mom’s keen insight, let’s imagine the unending stream of Big Data that autonomous vehicles can gather not only when they are awake, but also when they are at rest. If we do so, we can begin to see much more clearly the true value and the most likely future of driverless cars:

◉ Tens of thousands of driverless vehicles sitting at NFL stadiums – all their once idle processors and sensors working collectively to help keep the event secure, to process regional government Big Data needs, or even linking to NASA to provide much needed processing power for long-range telescope imagery.

◉ Hundreds of self-driving cars momentarily idle at red lights, collecting pedestrian, micro-climate and roadway maintenance data and sending it to the state Department of Transportation to improve road navigation and to municipalities to expand their Public Safety mission fabric or improve long-term planning projects.

◉ Your autonomous vehicle, sitting quietly in your garage every night, using its sensors to do automatic sweeps for a variety of threats including burglary, gas leaks, or even wind loads or moisture levels from severe weather and then relaying that info to your bedside smartphone via alerts, your home alarm system or a Next Generation 911 Operations Center.

Driverless Cars as Personal Health & Safety Hubs

And as for my mom’s questions about what her future car will do while she is in the store, it will do so much for her and other elderly persons like her. In the near-future, my mom’s driverless car may serve as a “Personal Health & Safety” hub, monitoring her medical condition through wearable sensors or implants, and calling for help if she is harassed by would-be thieves. It could even serve as a personal valet, pulling up to the curb on a stormy night so she doesn’t have to walk alone to the car in the cold rain, risking a fall or accident with a traditional vehicle.

For people like my parents, with their curiosity about life blossoming in their later years through the miracle of wireless technologies, Cisco is helping drive a future of continued connectivity with friends, family and community regardless of their physical health. Most importantly, Cisco is helping lay the groundwork, through Jasper and Connected Transportation, for their continued mobility in the future. And thanks to my mother’s question perhaps we can all imagine a little more clearly what Cisco could do for autonomous vehicles as well.

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