At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Cisco announced a partnership with Hyundai. The automaker will create a new generation of what they have labeled “hyper-connected, software-defined” cars in 2019. Inside will be a Cisco-designed network platform that will transform the way vehicles operate.
Imagine a software-defined network (SDN) inside your next car or truck! This new advance will help not only ordinary drivers, but it also will give new freedom to people who are blind, elderly, or otherwise unable to drive conventional vehicles.
Writing for ComputerWeekly, Alex Scroxton says, “Now termed a software-defined vehicle (SDV), the developing platform will be highly configurable, offering integrated, multi-layer security, full end-to-end networking enabling sensor integration, and an integration layer between software and legacy hardware.”
Both Hyundai and Cisco foresee that this will substantially accelerate the time it takes to bring new features to drivers, Scroxton adds.
At some point, these networks may be integrated with Hyundai’s data centers. These could connect vehicles to smart city infrastructures so they can communicate with traffic signals, road condition monitors, parking meters, and the like.
Jeremy Kaplan, writing for Digital Trends, notes that removing a weighty “spaghetti mess of wires” inside the vehicles will probably add one mile of fuel efficiency per gallon. But beyond that, the new technologies will enable remote maintenance, diagnosis, intelligent navigation, more accessible video feeds from backup cameras and blind-spot monitors, over-the-air (OTA) updates to the infotainment system, and much more. And the networking systems will include secure technology, thanks to Cisco’s expertise in encryption, firewalls, and other safety features.
All of this will take time, of course. Some technologies will be available from the get-go, while others will be phased in with future vehicle models. It’s a long but exciting process.
It will mean new technology jobs.
While some analysts worry that autonomous and connected vehicles will eliminate jobs (delivery drivers, taxi drivers, certain maintenance jobs, gas station attendants, etc.), they also will open up new opportunities for higher-paying technology positions—not only working with the vehicles themselves, but also with the systems with which they will communicate.
For example, automakers will need engineers to design and build these networking systems. They must create common communications protocols so all vehicles speak the same language. They must anticipate the variables both inside the vehicles and in the surrounding environment, and they must address them by leveraging safety and security technologies. Programmers will be needed to build the code and ensure that it operates properly.
As these technologies develop, municipalities and transportation agencies will need people who are skilled in developing roadway sensors, interactive traffic signals and highway signs, intelligent parking lots and meters, emergency protocols, accident alert systems, and traffic metering systems, just for starters. Many professions will be expected to expand their expertise, including civil engineers, factory systems engineers, programmers, cybersecurity experts, and others.
Cisco can provide the training.
Where will these engineers and technicians obtain their training? That’s where Cisco comes in. Our technical training programs have been developing the skills for cybersecurity experts, programmers, design engineers, data center experts, industrial designers, and more.
If you think, as we do, that smart-vehicle technology offers incredible career opportunities, you aren’t alone. Many people are anticipating this new wave of opportunities as the world moves forward with networked vehicles and the infrastructure in which they will operate.
 ComputerWeekly, Alex Scroxton, “CES 2018: Hyundai And Cisco Bring SDN To The Automobile," January 11, 2018.
 Digital Trends, Jeremy Kaplan, “What Happens When Detroit And Silicon Valley Meet? Automotive-Grade Magic," January 9, 2018.
Donna Maurillo is a content manager at Learning@Cisco, creating white papers, blogs, website content, and other materials. She has a lifelong career in public relations and corporate communications. Her goal is to highlight the many benefits of a connected environment.