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Ford Tasks AWS with Underpinning Its City Data Platform

Platform provides an automotive manufacturer-agnostic hub of transport/vehicle data

By CBR Staff Writer

Ford has contracted AWS to provide the backbone of its nascent Transportation Mobility Cloud project; a cloud-based infrastructure platform capable managing information flow and “basic transactions” for cities — from  service providers, personal vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians and mass transit systems to city infrastructure.

Transportation Mobility Cloud (TMC) was designed by Autonomic, a Silicon Valley company bought by Ford last year. Autonomic says the platform “ingests and enriches vehicle data in real time”. It then standardises the data formats coming in, and provides a platform for software developers to access it via APIs.

The automotive giant is making a major push into smart city services and sees the TMC as capable of supporting location-based services,  identity management, payment processing and more. The decision follows Ford’s commitment to ensure all of its cars are online by 2022 and as the company hopes to generate more value from data.

Autonomic’s website gives a flavour of the platform’s potential value: “[TWC] equips vehicle manufacturers to generate real revenue from the data locked inside their vehicles” [and] “gives developers secure and easy access to the processed data, be it telemetry, analytics, geolocation events or vehicle metadata, via APIs to support the rapid development of mobility services and applications”.

The multi-year deal is AWS’s latest major automotive sector win: last month it announced that it had been awarded a contract with Volkswagen to connect 30,000 facilities and 1,500 partners in VW’s supply chain into a “Volkswagen Industrial Cloud”.

Autonomic’s chart of some of the capabilities the TMC could provide. Credit: Autonomic

Ford’s Transportation Mobility Cloud

Rich Strader, Ford Vice President of Mobility Product Solutions wrote in a Medium blog: “This platform can manage information flow and basic transactions between a variety of components in the transportation ecosystem — service providers, personal vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, mass transit systems and city infrastructure, including traffic lights and parking locations.”

The agreement signed with Amazon is a global multi-year agreement which will see the AWS provide the backbone of the TMC. On AWS, Autonomic will be able to engage with the AWS Partner Network as well as work with independent software vendors and systems integrators. Given the scope of the TMC project, being able to reach as many vendors and system developers as possible could be crucial in establishing a standardised transportation IoT infrastructure framework.

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Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS commented: “Autonomic customers will be able to bring innovative mobility services and differentiated customer experiences to their customers worldwide, by integrating TMC with AWS. Such capabilities, together with AWS’s Partner Network community and broad customer base in Automotive, will help reimagine the future of the automobile industry.”

How will this connectivity happen?

As Ford put it earlier this year: “We’re strong believers in the potential of cellular vehicle-to-everything technology. C-V2X uses cellular technology between equipped vehicles, bikes, scooters and even infrastructure to communicate with each other.”

“As we look to jump-start adoption, we are committed to deploying C-V2X in all of our new vehicle models beginning in 2022, pending a technology-neutral regulatory environment. But, a conducive regulatory environment must be in place for C-V2X to be deployed. That is why we are working just as much with industry and government organizations to create such an environment.”

See Also: AWS will create a company-wide data lake, handle machine learning for Volkswagen

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