Why video image compression is a vital requirement for the modern vehicle

When the modern automobile was first invented many of its critics didn’t trust drivers to keep their eyes on the road. If you could go back in time to the dusty roads of Europe or America to witness the first internal combustion engines bolted onto rudimentary carriage frames you might have heard passers-by shout, ‘Get a horse!’ Many correspondents in the newspapers of the era, especially in The Times in England, complained that the new automobiles were noisy, smelly, and their drivers too easily distracted. That’s because one set of eyes had been taken out of the equation: those of the horse.

Strangely, history is repeating itself. If you believe the predictions about autonomous, self-driving cars, then we’re set for a time when we won’t need to keep our eyes on the road. The car will do it for us. How? Through a range of video cameras placed strategically around the frame of the car, inside and out. And the visual information will be processed not just within the car, but out in the cloud too. It will be data that helps you get from A to B, as well as data that enables the car manufacturers, transport authorities, city planners, traffic management systems, and law enforcement to optimize the traveling experience for everyone – from the driver the cyclist to the pedestrian.

But video data is truly BIG data. The amount of data being produced each day has been growing exponentially. By the time you look up a figure that attempts to measure it, it’s out of date. So, I won’t quote any numbers. Let’s just agree that they’re huge – and growing. The global Internet supports millions of new videos being uploaded to YouTube as well as those being watched on the platform. It supports the passage of video from hundreds of millions of CCTV cameras, smart doorbells, GoPros, dashcams, and thousands of other devices. The modern automobile is set to add greatly to that video traffic. That demands management. Connected cars can’t cope with high-quality video; the bandwidth would be too expensive and too slow. What’s needed is a clever solution.

And that is video image compression. It’s vital because video traffic will only grow – some say it will make up 82% of all internet traffic by 2021. A vehicle in motion needs to be able to use the video data instantly and accurately. The manufacturer has to be able to process the data quickly and also store it. If the video is uncompressed that gets difficult to do swiftly – and expensive. So, video image compression helps to speed data processing and the use of the information its yields, as well as cuts costs in terms of storage.

In our new Spotlight on the automotive sector, Hugo Lerias describes how Fujitsu’s video image compression solution is helping OEMs manage huge volumes of video data that are being generated by modern cars. Connected vehicles depend on real-time, instant connectivity. It’s what makes them smart. It enables them to navigate their way through changing conditions in terms of traffic, location, or even business needs. Think of a fleet of trucks delivering goods just-in-time, or a taxi operation attempting to cope with emerging trends across urban areas.

Video is also vital for safety and for ensuring that vehicles behave in optimal ways. So, the need to manage high-quality images is obvious. Why not just deliver low-grade (and therefore with lower bandwidth needs) video? The quality of the image is important: it supports better decision making as well as safety. So, there can’t be a compromise on quality. There needs to be a cleverer way to stream the images. And that’s what Fujitsu’s solution does. Have a read of the Have a read of the Spotlight, it’s makes vivid reading!

Download the Automotive Spotlight here.

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