Honda Builds Serverless Connected Car Platform for Millions of Cars on AWS
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (“Honda”) is a world-leading manufacturer of motorcycles, automobiles, and power products under the slogan “The Power of Dreams.” The company, which provides connected car services that utilize data obtained from vehicles, uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) in many of its data collection and storage platforms. When building a platform for 2020 models, Honda engaged AWS Professional Services for assistance, launched a serverless platform, and quickly deployed the platform in Japan, Europe, India, and Thailand utilizing AWS CloudFormation.
AWS Professional Services gave us great advice in areas such as scalable architectures and system recovery and constantly provided proactive suggestions. The project proceeded smoothly thanks to not only their dedicated technical assistance but also their business support."
Assistant Chief Engineer from the Honda Global Platform Department, Honda
Adopting AWS for a Connected Car Platform to Collect Data from Vehicles
Honda is working toward its 2030 Vision to “Serve people worldwide with the 'joy of expanding their life’s potential'” under the three next-generation business domains of connected services, mobility services, and energy services. Honda also established a new term, Honda eMaaS, to represent technologies and services through which Honda will strive to bring change to where mobility and people’s daily lives are connected seamlessly between electrified mobility and energy technologies and services through connected technologies. The company has plenty of experience with connected services, releasing the internavi communication navigation system in Japan in 1998 and launching an initiative to migrate its on-premises connectivity platforms to the cloud in 2013.
Honda began building on AWS in 2014, using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to build the Honda Connected Platform, a first-generation data connection/storage platform for model year 2016 vehicles, and launching the platform in Japan and the US. “We selected AWS in 2014 because it was fast, scaled to data volumes, and provided infrastructure that made overseas rollouts easy,” says Yozo Takehara, assistant chief engineer from the Honda Global Platform Department.
After conducting research for the second-generation of the Connected Platform for its upcoming 2020 models, Honda again chose AWS, using managed services and containers to develop a microservices-based platform while aiming to reduce operational workloads and roll out services at a faster pace.
Overcoming Development Project Difficulties with AWS Professional Services
Although Honda planned to develop the second-generation platform on its own, the manufacturer decided to adopt AWS Professional Services, aiming to expand its use of the latest AWS services. “The Connected Platform plays a vital role in supporting the safety of automobiles,” says Daiki Nogami, chief of the Honda Global Platform Department, who oversaw development. “We decided that it was best to get expert advice to create a high-quality platform.”
At first, during the design and development phase, Honda received assistance from AWS Professional Services in the form of technical QA. However, the team encountered unexpected challenges in the operational design and implementation phase for production deployment. To get things back on track, AWS Professional Services joined the development team and handled everything from design to implementation, testing, and handover. Thanks to this assistance, the second-generation Connected Platform launched in Thailand, Japan, Europe and India between December 2019 and June 2020.
"AWS Professional Services gave us great advice in areas such as scalable architectures and system recovery and constantly provided proactive suggestions. The project proceeded smoothly thanks to not only their dedicated technical assistance but also their business support," says Takehara.
The second-generation Connected Platform offloads infrastructure management to AWS through serverless architecture and services such as AWS Fargate and AWS Lambda and enables vehicles to communicate bidirectionally with the cloud using AWS IoT Core.
“Because the second-generation platform was designed to handle bidirectional transfer of enormous amounts of data, we chose a serverless architecture which offers flexibility in capacity planning and scaling,” says Nogami. “We use AWS IoT Core for our MQTT broker and for maintenance operations, which provides a secure and scalable environment.”
Overseas Rollout Only Takes a Minimum of Two Weeks with AWS CloudFormation
Honda developed the CI/CD environment for its second-generation Connected Platform using AWS Developer Tools, building a deployment pipeline without having to manage servers. Using AWS CloudFormation to manage infrastructure as code makes it easy to deploy infrastructure globally and manage changes, according to Keisuke Umehara, chief of the Honda Global Platform Department.
“To roll out an environment built in Japan to AWS Regions in Europe, Thailand, and India while fulfilling the legal requirements of each area, we needed CI/CD and infrastructure as code,” says Umehara. “AWS CloudFormation made it possible to launch our services quickly because we were able to roll out the same server environment settings to each region, and deployments that normally take two to three months per region took only two weeks.”
Since transitioning to the operational phase, Honda has been using AWS Enterprise Support and Technical Account Managers to get technical and operational guidance and details about service updates. According to Korehide Kitamura, who oversees budget and actual performance control in the Honda Global Platform Department, the manufacturer is particularly fond of the support it receives for ongoing cost optimization.
“Technical Account Managers give advice on reducing costs based on resource usage and infrastructure configurations. We had been using reserved instances (RI) since our first-generation platform but had to purchase them for each account, so they were difficult to manage,” Kitamura says. “As soon as AWS released Savings Plans in 2019, their sales team contacted us, suggesting a plan to reduce costs and showing us the applicable scope. This simplified RI management and enabled us to manage costs for the first- and second-generation platforms.”
An Advanced Connected Platform to Cut Costs and Expand Revenue Streams
Millions of cars around the world are now connected to the Honda Connected Platform with the number of connected vehicles growing continuously as services expand to more models. Considering this situation, Honda is aiming to further reduce costs and expand revenue streams.
“We'll keep optimizing costs via the continuous price reductions and Savings Plans that AWS offers. We currently offer remote control and security call-out services, but we’d also like to add new services to please even more customers,” says Takehara.
Honda has decided to use AWS Professional Services again for the Third Generation Connected Platform for which planning has already begun. Nogami says, “With AWS Professional Services supporting us from the requirement definition and design phase, we'll be able to discuss the best services for our business goals.”
About Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
In 1948, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. started manufacturing bicycle auxiliary engines at its town plant in Hamamatsu. Since then, it has developed a wide range of businesses, including its main business of manufacturing and sales of motorcycles, four-wheeled vehicles, and power products. Now, Honda's capital is 86 billion yen and its consolidated sales is 14.9 trillion yen with 218,674 employees (as of March 2020). "The Power of Dreams" is its slogan.
Benefits of AWS
- Support from AWS Professional Services assists the release of the advanced Honda Connect platform
- Managed services and serverless architecture reduces workloads for infrastructure management
- Using AWS CloudFormation cuts the time required for global rollouts to overseas offices to just a minimum of two weeks
AWS Services Used
AWS Professional Services
The AWS Professional Services organization is a global team of experts that can help you realize your desired business outcomes when using the AWS Cloud.
AWS CloudFormation gives you an easy way to model a collection of related AWS and third-party resources, provision them quickly and consistently, and manage them throughout their lifecycles, by treating infrastructure as code.
AWS Developer Tools
Implement continuous integration and continuous delivery with the AWS Developer Tools to accelerate your software development and release cycle.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud.
Companies of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS Cloud journey today.