1:00 pm EST – The Digital Brain: Taking Humans out of the Driving Environment

An AutoMobili-D panel mainly of IBM executives concluded that the surge toward autonomous driving carries great promise but also huge challenges for auto companies, suppliers and the humans who will be passengers in the self-driven cars of the future.

“Security and safety are a big part of what is taking so long to bring autonomous vehicles to market,” said Donna Satterfield, a vie president for IBM Global Services.

Added Dave Lawson, product line manager for Omron Automotive Technologies:
“Safety is the fundamental [need] of the system in order for the industry to move forward to autonomy.”

Agreed George Ayres, associate partner for the Internet of Things for IBM: “We need to think about the occupants of the car and how to reassure them” about the safety of autonomous driving.

Binby Damodaran, an associate partner with IBM Automotive, expanded on those ideas by mentioning that whatever safety regime takes shape also must take into account “the people who are still driving cars that are not self-driving.”

And in that regard, Ayres added, getting to the self-driving future still has many obsctacles. “There isn’t even mass deployment yet of connected vehicles” relying on Iot, much less completely autonomous cars, he noted. “We need to make the system better.”

Josh Hartung, CEO of PolySync, a middleware platform in the autonomous-driving arena, challenged his fellow panelists and AutoMobili-D listeners on how to go about ensuring safe autonomous vehicles.

“The challenge for the auto industry is not to figure everything out internally” to get to the autonomous-driving tipping point, he said, “but to embrace a more collaborative approach, to use the cloud.”

Hartung said that automakers shouldn’t add to what he called the mistake of massive verticalization, in which the vast majority of capital devoted to car design and manufacture is spent on things that don’t differentiate the end product from its competition.

To win in the autonomous-driving future, he said, auto companies “should focus on very specific, important problems for their customers [with solutions] that differentiate their products.”