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The automotive industry is undergoing incredible transformation creating new services and opportunities for drivers, passengers, automakers, insurance companies and manufacturers. The rate of market expansion is expected to grow. New innovations promise to deliver improved driving experiences and safety, lower energy consumption and more intelligent integration with cities, traffic and transportation.

NTT and Toyota Motor Corporation are working together to combine their shared expertise to develop an ICT platform for connected vehicles. We have been working with Toyota since 2017 on developing, verifying and standardizing technology in the connected car industry, combining the automotive vehicle-related technologies of Toyota with the information and communications technology of NTT Group companies.

Taking the automotive experience to the next level
At the heart of this effort is the overarching goal to create economic opportunities, lower carbon emissions and promote safer and secure driving experiences.

Improving traffic and congestion, accidents and new smart city services

Put simply, a connected car is a vehicle that connects to a network via the internet and can share access and data with other devices placed inside or outside. The basis for an ICT platform connects cars with data communication, edge computing and the cloud via LTE and 5G mobile networks and IoT networks. Big data collected by vehicle sensors forms a significant part of how connected cars work. It also applies computing resources to collect, accumulate and analyze vehicle data.

This ICT platform covers many different scenarios, including self-driving cars, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, device integration and smart cities. A three-year trial has been completed that covers in-depth research and development technologies, including:

  • High-speed and effective collection of big data generated from connected vehicles.
  • Verification of real-world use cases.
  • A system that supports end-to-end verification tests with vehicles in the real-world.
busy traffic closeup on xiamen haicang bridge and graceful curve shape

Data collection that results in warning drivers of real-time hazards

Developing a connected ICT platform means ensuring adequate capacity for the number of vehicles connected to the system, real-time execution and precision. The platform needs to handle ultra-large volumes and ultra-high transactions to collect and apply vehicle and image data from tens of millions of vehicles. Real-time data processing, data compression from sensors and vehicles and object estimation are also critical.

As part of testing these technologies, NTT Group’s R&D put over 100 computing resources to the test using cars mounted with collection devices and cameras. The ICT platform was populated with simulated data to conduct verification testing with the equivalent of tens of millions of vehicles.

In our experiment, data transmitted from the cars were used to identify traffic signs and signals to estimate the car’s location. We successfully recreated real-world roads and traffic scenarios on the platform. And after objects identified as obstacles were located on the dynamic map, we verified that nearby vehicles affected by hazards could be identified and notified quickly.

NTT and Toyota continue to work together to construct a new communications infrastructure for the future of cars and contribute to a more sustainable, smarter society.