AWS has allowed us to gain a competitive edge in the development of networked vehicles. With AWS we have become incredibly fast and have the opportunity to innovate.
Thomas Fleischmann Head of Technolgoy & Innovation, Connected Car

Elektrobit (EB) has made its name as an established player internationally with embedded software for the automotive industry. As a reliable partner for software technologies, platforms, and tools, EB supplies manufacturers such as BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi, and Ford. EB is developing the next generation in intelligent, flexible, and efficient automotive software solutions.

EB specializes in the development of trendsetting products and services as well as consulting for the automotive market. They deliver production-ready software solutions related to steering devices, driver assistance systems, infotainment, navigation, HMI, and connected cars.

The connected vehicle is probably one of the most groundbreaking technologies in the automotive industry and a prerequisite for new concepts in future mobility. EB is proud to be an innovator in this revolution. "Software is playing an ever greater role in the vehicles of today," says Thomas Fleischmann, head of technology and innovation, Connected Car at Elektrobit Automotive GmbH.

In order to quickly bring new features and services to market, EB's DevOps teams need the right tools for research and development (R&D). "Our principal requirement for IT is speed," says Fleischmann. "Because we work in a very fast-moving industry, we don't have time for lengthy development cycles. Furthermore, we don't want to waste our time on maintaining basic IT infrastructure functionality. We'd much rather focus on creating added value for our customers."

Keeping networked vehicle solutions, for example navigation systems, up to date necessitates massive amounts of data. This requires fast time-to-market in addition to extensive compute power. For EB to be able to take care of their customer base—the major vehicle manufacturers—availability 24/7 worldwide is also essential.

EB took a look around the cloud services market but quickly decided on Amazon Web Services (AWS). "It was evident that AWS would provide us with the speed we required," says Fleischmann. "In addition, AWS was large enough to help us in building the backend we needed for our R&D."

To provide automatic updates to its navigation software, EB uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon Elasticsearch Service. "Amazon S3 and Amazon Elasticsearch helped us with running our navigation engine. We use AWS for development, to distribute new car data globally, and to ensure that the on-board navigation is up to date," says Fleischmann.

Diagram 1: Simplified Learning of the Map from Sensor Data

"One of the challenges with our navigation app, EB Dirigo, was the deployment of 1 GB-sized map updates for our customers so that they could also access maps offline. With the help of Amazon CloudFront, AWS's Content Delivery Network (CDN), we can stream the data to our users with very low latency. To improve our map materials we are building on Hadoop-based processing of large data sets. Amazon Kinesis and Amazon Elastic MapReduce supported us in setting up the necessary infrastructure.”

Automation is an essential factor in EB's selection of the cloud provider. By implementing AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Thomas Fleischmann and his team have more time to devote to core development rather than simple IT concerns. To be able to provide reliable services worldwide, EB is using several regions and Availability Zones (AZs).

Fleischmann also touched on the topic of security: "We read up on the ISO 27000 standards and internally recommended using AWS because of its numerous fulfilled certifications. According to Gartner, AWS is a secure, reliable service, and we too subscribe to this opinion."

After a brief orientation the Elektrobit team found it easy to work with AWS. "The training and the direct contact with the AWS architecture team helped us immensely with coordinating everything, as well as ensuring that provisioning was correct," says Fleischmann.

Automotive manufacturers and suppliers choose EB because the company helps them to differentiate their products over the long term and always stand at the forefront of automotive development. "In our industry it is imperative to demonstrate that our products work in a networked world," says Thomas Fleischmann. "We always mention that we work with AWS, because that reinforces our attractiveness to the premium automotive manufacturers that we supply. They know that technology doesn't limit us and consequently our R&D work knows no bounds."

Thomas Fleischmann points out that automotive manufacturers are turning to AWS in increasing numbers to address the extreme load fluctuations associated with on-board vehicle technologies. "We demonstrate to our customers that we can use the AWS Cloud securely to deploy services for piloted driving and, in the future, driverless cars," says Fleischmann.

For EB, innovation and automation go hand in hand. Automating costly, daily IT processes gives the team the time they need to focus on developing services and features. "Thanks to the confluence of our years of experience and the foundation that AWS provides, we can use technology optimally to create new solutions for the automotive market. It simply wouldn't make any sense not to use AWS to operate our software," says Fleischmann.

"We have a few items in the pipeline, and with AWS we were able to develop our product range without substantial investments in our IT infrastructure. Our usage of AWS grew rapidly. By and large this can be attributed to how easy it is to work with the technology."

A further advantage to working with AWS is the fast market introductory time for new features and products. "Our development cycle has grown a lot shorter in the meantime," says Fleischmann. "Whereas in the past we had to manually install software on multiple standalone servers, we now distribute it automatically with AWS Elastic Beanstalk."

Having a worldwide customer base increases the need for global services with continuous availability. "We value AWS's regional coverage, because it helps us to provide our services to customers worldwide," says Fleischmann. "With AWS we've created a highly scalable architecture without any bottlenecks. Our availability has to stay at 99.9 percent. We are convinced that we can attain this with AWS."

EB is constantly striving to further build out its software portfolio and provide exciting new features and services that support customers in getting ahead of the competition. In this sense Thomas Fleischmann and his team are also interested in exploring the possibilities in AWS IoT. "The obvious application of IoT services is to enable communication between vehicles over the cloud. For example, it could warn drivers of adverse driving conditions, such as black ice," says Fleischmann. "A car that sends out thousands of communications sounds like a challenge, but combining it with AWS services makes it entirely possible."

"AWS has allowed us to gain a competitive edge in the development of networked vehicles. With AWS we have become incredibly fast and have the opportunity to innovate."

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