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VW, Nvidia, Bosch, others team up to suss out the back end of autonomy

Standards and bandwidth and wires, oh my!

Not every bit of autonomous-car development is glamorous, but it still needs to be dealt with. That's where the Networking for Autonomous Vehicles (NAV) Alliance comes in.

Volkswagen has teamed up with four major suppliers -- Aquantia, Bosch, Continental and Nvidia -- to create the NAV Alliance. Its goal is to hammer out some of the more complex back end work required to bring autonomous cars to market on a wide scale. In time, the NAV Alliance hopes to bring more automakers and suppliers into the fold.

Intra-vehicle networking doesn't exactly make for pretty pictures.

NAV Alliance

It needs as much teamwork as possible because one of the NAV Alliance's primary goals is to promote standardization. Multiple companies developing similar systems in parallel means a lot of wasted time and money, making an introduction to the market more difficult.

The primary piece this group will attempt to standardize is the high bandwidth data transfer that AVs will need to process the data from their various sensors -- and what do you know, Aquantia specializes in that kind of connectivity. It's estimated that AVs will need to process dozens of terabytes' worth of data over a day's worth of driving, so it's a fair bit more data-intensive than usual.

In addition to promoting more standards including networking, the NAV Alliance hopes to create common procedures and requirements for AV systems in terms of security and overall reliability and educate the public about what's required to make AVs a reality.

"Together with our alliance partners, we are therefore contributing to the creation of a standardized network that is safe, reliable and redundant, and helping bring autonomous driving to our roads," said Viktor Molnar, Bosch's senior vice president of its body-electronics division, in a statement.