Interview with Dean Phillips, Amazon Web Services

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Automakers are leveraging cloud resources for compute-intensive development tasks, explains Dean Phillips, global automotive technical lead at Amazon Web Services.

VSsound resources are revolutionizing the way engineers access computing power. Rather than having to house HPC (high performance computing) hardware in-house, with the support staff and infrastructure requirements that entails, it is now possible to access an a la carte menu of capabilities. a multitude of suppliers.

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One of the biggest hitters in the game is Amazon, through its Amazon Web Services (AWS), which generated $45.4 billion in revenue in 2020. It’s an impressive stat that AWS got 32% of the cloud computing market share, more than Microsoft. and Google combined according to market analysts. Launched in 2006, it offers a variety of products, one of the oldest and most relevant of which is EC2, the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud service, which provides scalable access to compute cores for tasks such as simulation.

As Dean Phillips, global technical lead for automotive at AWS, explains, “We provide automotive solutions across the entire ecosystem, from automotive production to car sales to cars on the road. We are the only cloud provider capable of offering fully integrated end-to-end solutions to its customers, from initial ideation and innovation on a new vehicle through engineering and manufacturing to the consumer.
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Although automakers will invariably have their own internal HPC resources, these will always have limited capacity; With ever-increasing demands in areas such as electric vehicle development and AD/ADAS, the ability to quickly access on-demand computing is an attractive option for businesses.

“AWS offers three mission-critical workloads for the automotive industry,” continues Phillips. “The first one
is AWS Connected Vehicle Solution, which enables automakers to build serverless IoT applications that collect, process, analyze, and act on data from connected vehicles, without having to manage any infrastructure.

“It also provides a full suite of services to support the development and deployment of ADAS and autonomous vehicles. OEMs are leveraging AWS to process simulation workloads of over a million cores on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, as well as development operations for automotive software development and software-defined vehicle initiatives.

“Finally, AWS supports digital customer engagement workloads with customer solutions like ZeroLight that leverage a wide array of virtual GPU instances on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.”

Delivery service
When it comes to simulation work specifically, one of the main selling points of AWS is that it can offer in-house technology to increase efficiency and shorten development times in a cost-effective way. It not only provides HPC for areas such as aerodynamic simulation, but also machine learning capabilities for CAD and structural simulation. In applications like these, users rarely interact directly with AWS; Instead, major players in computer-aided design/manufacturing and simulation, such as Autodesk, offer access to Amazon’s cloud computing resources through their own built-in interfaces.

However, Phillips notes that the capabilities can also be directly integrated into manufacturers’ existing IT infrastructure: “This includes the ability for automakers to transfer massive amounts of data from real-world testing and use the power of cloud computing from AWS to run computer simulations and in-depth analyses. learning exercises at an accelerated pace. As automakers move from simulation to assembly, they can then apply AWS and Amazon SageMaker analytics to inform testing and influence vehicle design for performance and efficiency.

He cites the example of Nissan using Rescale (a specialist that has developed an application-agnostic interface to access cloud infrastructure) and AWS HPC to reduce the time to market of its AI workloads. computer such as crash simulation and aerodynamic development. .

Another area in which AWS is deployed by many manufacturers is cataloging and querying the vast amounts of data generated by their organizations. AWS IoT can provide secure connectivity and management for millions of vehicles and devices around the world, plus tools to easily track and manage data access rights and updates. security.

For example, BMW Group used AWS to help its digital transformation with the manufacturer’s Cloud Data Hub, which processes and combines anonymized data from vehicle sensors and other sources across all departments, making it easily accessible to internal teams creating internal and customer-facing applications. “The AWS-based centralized data lake forms the basis for the BMW Group to develop data-driven IT solutions and allows the company to scale automatically and independently on a serverless architecture,” says Phillips.

A data lake is where largely unstructured data is stored in a flat architecture, with each piece of data associated with an identifier and metatags, a useful way to organize data on everything from consumer
habits to manufacturing and testing activities. In the case of a company using AWS for its data lake, many
the heavy burden of establishing and managing such a resource is removed. “So it can innovate faster than with the previous on-premises solution, which required infrastructure management and capacity planning for each new initiative.”

Another example detailed by Phillips is from self-driving startup Torc: , storage and computing capacity. With AWS’s ability to deliver fast and secure data transfer, intelligent tiered storage, managed orchestration and analysis tools, and high-performance multi-core CPU and GPU compute, Torc has been able to scale its platform. form of agile and cost-effective development and accelerate its testing. and technology commercialization.

Of course, AWS is not the only player on the cloud computing block, and even with a smaller market share, Microsoft, with its Azure platform, is also heavily invested in the automotive market. Regardless of vendor, the advent of easily scalable and rapidly accessible cloud computing resources can only be a boon for automakers in the increasingly data-intensive and simulation-driven automotive industry.

Case studies
Rivian: AWS announced in 2021 that electric vehicle maker Rivian is leveraging the cloud to perform powerful simulations, with AWS enabling speed and scalability, reducing the need for real prototypes. According to AWS, the OEM was previously limited by the compute capacity of its on-premises compute infrastructure. Rivian migrated to a new stack and used various AWS services. As AWS notes, using Amazon EC2 C5n instances, Rivian’s software performance improved by up to 66%. Engineers can reduce their focus on technology management and focus on development tasks.

Cleou: In 2021 AWS highlighted how tech startup Keyou turned to AWS to develop a new computational fluid dynamics simulation tool. The solution is said to be both fast and scalable, able to support hundreds of cores, and able to deliver results in just one day.

VW: IIn another of its 2021 case studies, AWS detailed how Nice DCV, a high-performance remote display protocol included in AWS, enabled Volkswagen Passenger Cars to deliver applications remotely to 1,000 engineers, providing near real-time responsiveness and enhanced security.

BMW Group: In late 2020, it was announced that AWS and BMW were jointly developing cloud-based IT solutions and training up to 5,000 software engineers in cloud technology.

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