Western Digital’s Storage Innovations Pave The Path For Future Self-Driving Vehicles


Projections indicate that storage needs may climb to as much as 11TB as vehicles increasingly integrate connectivity and artificial intelligence.

As the automotive industry transitions towards Software-Defined Vehicles (SDVs), which heavily rely on sophisticated software, the need for robust on-car or edge storage solutions has become more pronounced. This critical demand facilitates SDVs’ functionality by enabling enhanced connectivity, automation, and personalization. These capabilities, which heavily depend on data, support advanced features, improve safety measures, and elevate the user experience.

The SDV market is anticipated to contribute over $650 billion to the automotive industry by 2030, representing 15% to 20% of its total value. A BCG analysis predicts that revenues for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from automotive software and electronics will nearly triple, from $87 billion to $248 billion by 2030. Additionally, the supplier market is expected to almost double, reaching $411 billion, spurred by the demand for advanced vehicle features, stringent safety standards, and improvements in navigation and connectivity.

Khalid Wani, Senior Director – Sales India at Western Digital, highlights the benefits SDVs offer and the solutions his company provides. As vehicles transform into “data centres on wheels,” the significance of a multi-layered SDV architecture, especially the storage layer, grows. A new storage architecture is critical, featuring centralized, high-performance devices that offer greater capacity, lower latency, and improved encryption.

Western Digital’s portfolio includes Automotive SD Cards, automotive-grade iNAND UFS, and e.MMC Embedded Flash Drives (EFDs). These products are engineered for superior endurance, high reliability, and an extended temperature range, making them suitable for various automotive applications such as high-resolution maps, sophisticated infotainment systems, and responsive event recorders.

Western Digital’s iNAND AT EU552 UFS 3.1 embedded flash drives have reached ASPICE CL3 (level 3), a significant achievement in data storage device maturity. This certification underscores that the processes are well-defined, standardized, and actively managed, advancing from the ‘Managed’ CL2 tier to the ‘Established’ CL3 tier.

Modern vehicles are managed by intricate software systems centred around a central computer, mirroring consumer expectations for a seamless digital integration akin to other smart devices. The primary enhancements in automotive functionality are increasingly reliant on software updates, which in turn depend on storage solutions from companies like Western Digital.

SDVs control core vehicle functions through software, acting as central hubs for extensive data management. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), SDVs analyze data to derive insights and autonomously execute intelligent actions. AI enables SDVs to continuously learn from vast data pools, make smarter decisions, and personalize driving experiences.

By separating hardware from software, SDVs facilitate seamless updates and upgrades over-the-air, promoting enhanced automation and autonomy. These vehicles actively interact with their environments, acquiring knowledge and making real-time decisions. Connectivity enables SDVs to join extensive networks, sharing real-time data and adapting to changing road conditions. Key engineering features of SDVs include Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication protocols and the integration of sensors such as LiDAR, radar cameras, and ultrasonic sensors. Edge computing also plays a crucial role in boosting their functionality.


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