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Volvo c26

Autonomous Driving Back-end System Design

Partnering with Volvo to help launch their ‘Concept 26’, Ericsson helped bring to life the automaker’s perspective of autonomous driving in the future. As lead designer for the team, I designed a trip simulator incorporating real data derived from our team’s actual driving history. In order to set a baseline for our data, we developed a simple tracking Android application, loaded it on three burner phones, and kept the phones in our car glove boxes.

Over the course of a few weeks we had sufficient data to plot actual trips and establish real-life use cases. Monthly business trips to Santa Clara from Boston meant we had data from two very different regions as well. Volvo believes that self-driving automobiles will give back, on average, 26 minutes to the driver. By freeing-up this time normally spent commuting, the driver is enabled to do other things like make calls, check email, watch television, or video chat.

All imagined use cases from the manufacturer were dependent on a very strong and reliable cell connection. This is where our networking background proved helpful. In order to realize the vision of a continuously connected individual inside a continuously connected automobile, we needed to explain how this might all work.

The data picked up from our burner phones highlighted every minute detail of our driving, including every radio tower we encountered with timestamps. Scheduled pings from the app allowed us to select from dozens of different trips linked back to different drivers on our team. Different driving patterns and personas were developed based on our history. In-car services could only be enabled if we could predict locations, stop durations, network KPIs, etc.

The key features of the simulator we developed were location prediction, delivering a conceptual connected car user experience, proactive network optimization, edge computing optimization, and content delivery. For Concept 26, demonstrations focused on the idea of predicting where the driver will be going, applying customized driving settings, and recommending content for consumption. Upon the driver selecting a destination, our system would recommend routes with different amount of autonomous driving, push content from linked video accounts like Netflix, and then analyze the data. In the simulator we showed the network capabilities and ramifications in an approachable way for visitors at trade shows. The number of connected devices that rely on timely data analytics to deliver a seamless user experience elevated the importance of the network. With this tool Volvo could visualize the effects and demands from a network in the future of self driving automobiles.

Press Release

Press Release