The car you buy in 2025 will include a terabyte of storage. Robo-taxis might need 11TB

And it’ll be in proper SSDs, not cheap NAND muck that drives infotainment systems today, say analysts


Passenger cars on sale in 2025 will ship with a terabyte of storage, according to analyst firm Counterpoint, and fully autonomous cabs might need 11TB of capacity.

The firm made that prediction in a whitepaper titled, “Storage Capacity Requirement for Autonomous Vehicles in the Next Decade,” that points out that cars are increasingly adding sensors and compute capacity that allows them to automate some or all aspects of driving.

The authors add that much of that data will be accumulated because the cars of the future won’t just use sensors to make real-time decisions but will also store data for upload at convenient moments. “This data will be used to inform everything from training artificial intelligence systems to developing new business models,” the whitepaper stated.

Mom backseat driving photo by shutterstock

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To accommodate both real-time data analysis and store-and-forward-to-cloud workloads, the paper’s authors opined: “The ‘brain’ of an autonomous vehicle will demand several types of storage to accommodate the data from multiple in-car sensors.”

Initially that will mean a move from cheap and plodding memory cards and similar formats to either Universal Flash Storage (UFS) found in smartphones and/or embedded SSDs. Both UFS and SSDs have better controllers, and Counterpoint's analysts say that is a key component in automotive applications.

"Poorly designed controller architecture and/or firmware algorithms can wipe out the advantages of the most reliable NAND memory," the Paper states.

The firm says that just eight per cent of today’s cars have level 2 autonomy – the ability to handle tasks like changing lanes or overtaking without human intervention. Level 3 autonomy – automated highway driving and self-parking – will be present in almost six per cent of the on-road fleet of 2025, accompanied by 3.5 per cent of cars with Level 4 capabilities that don’t require a human driver and allow automated highway driving at 100 mph/h and robot lane changes, but allow instant human override of automation.

Those Level 3 and 4 cars are the ones that will need storage: 993GB of it for Level 3 and 1.175TB for Level 4, the firms says.

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By 2030, when 11.2 per cent of cars are at Level 3, 10.9 per cent at Level 4 and just under one per cent are entirely automated Level 5 affairs, the firm predicts that passenger cars at those Levels will have 1.4TB, 1.03TB and 942GB of storage respectively.

Robot taxis, however, will have far higher requirements – 8.6TB at Level 4 and 10.85TB at level 5 – driven by the fact that consumers will be price-sensitive and only want to pay for a terabyte, while commercial operators will be happier to pay for higher-resolution cameras that require more storage. Even with extra kit aboard, the firm says Level 5 cabs will mostly be used “on predictable routes, such as from airports to city centres” and in controlled industrial environments.

The whitepaper also ponders who will pay for moving data out of cars and into clouds and how it will happen. One scenario the Paper ponders is electric car chargers that incorporate Ethernet. While that’s technically possible, the paper points out that the data is most valuable to carmakers and consumers might balk at their Wi-Fi being flooded.

“Autonomous vehicles will, therefore, need to have advanced storage and intelligent offload systems,” the document suggests.

Beyond such software, the Paper says storage hardware makers have some work to do. And not just making kit that can survive all the vibration and temperature fluctuation that comes with life inside a vehicle: manufacturers also need to consider that memory chips are soldered, which means replacing storage could mean replacing an entire board. Carmakers would rather avoid that expense and just drop in new storage instead.

The whitepaper is offered for free download here, with a requirement to enter a name, that of your employer and valid email address. ®


Dell joins the 'fast object storage revolution'

Huge performance jump from disk

Dell Technologies has unveiled its first all-flash object storage appliance - as good an indication as any that flash object storage has hit the mainstream.

The performance jump between disk and flash is huge, and Dell claims the new ECS EXF900 is so fast that it can be used for AI, machine learning, IoT, analytics and cloud-native applications. In other words, object storage is no longer banished to cheap and deep workloads.

“Organisations are realising the advantages object offers - scalability, flexibility, API-driven cloud-native architectures - when combined with high performance all-flash media, can support their most data-hungry workloads. The object storage market is primed for a revolution,” ECS product marketing manager Tony Yakovich writes.

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Alibaba Cloud sets its VMware partnership snowballing with hybrid storage appliances

Reveals on-prem storage offerings and new push to have consultants sell ‘em

As Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent gabfest kicked off a couple of weeks back, Alibaba Cloud told the world it had “revamped” its hybrid cloud offering with a couple of new appliances – but didn’t reveal any details about the devices.

Which rather left us unable to assess whether this revamp could advance Alibaba’s ambition to have its cloud taken more seriously outside of mainland China and its few strongholds in south-east Asia.

Now Alibaba has revealed to The Register just what it has on offer – and that its revamp may not cause much consternation among storage vendors but does challenge rival hyperscale clouds.

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Titanium carbide nanotech approach hints at hydrogen storage breakthrough

Exciting news for green fuel, but quality control, financing will be a challenge

New research from China is promising to double the efficiency of hydrogen storage at a time when low-carbon collection of the omnipresent gas is seen as a potential path to a greener energy economy.

Published in Nature Nanotechnology this week, the research investigated a method using a titanium carbide alloy just a few atoms thick as a medium, which produces a "nanopump" effect to store hydrogen. The process described is about twice as effective as comparable methods.

Hydrogen is attracting interest as a green fuel, with fuel-cell cars already on the market. Although breakthroughs are being made in the production of the gas, storage is a critical problem owing to the tiny size of the molecule, as Register readers have been quick to point out.

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Microsoft's Extensible Storage Engine (JET Blue) source code arrives on GitHub – sadly comments not included

One-way traffic at the moment... and don't mention Access

Microsoft has made the source code for its Extensible Storage Engine (aka JET Blue) available on GitHub.

The Extensible Storage Engine (ESE) is an advanced indexed and sequential access method (ISAM) storage technology and has been a fixture in Windows for more than a quarter of a century. It first appeared in Windows NT 3.51 and Exchange 4.0 before going on to have a working life that stretches to the Windows 10 of today.

Components, such as Windows Search or applications like Exchange, "store and retrieve data from tables using indexed or sequential cursor navigation."

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Storage consolidation: Why different flavors of database need different types of storage

You can bring a horse to water but you can't turn it into a fish

Register Debate Welcome to The Register Debate in which we pitch our writers against each other on contentious topics in IT and enterprise tech, and you – the reader – decide the winning side. The format is simple: a motion is proposed, for and against arguments are published today, then another round of arguments on Wednesday, and a concluding piece on Friday summarizing the brouhaha and the best reader comments.

During the week you can cast your vote using the embedded poll below, choosing whether you're in favor or against the motion. The final score will be announced on Friday, revealing whether the for or against argument was most popular. It's up to our writers to convince you to vote for their side.

For this debate, the motion is: Consolidating databases has significant storage benefits, therefore everyone should be doing it.

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Aruba warns of storage destruction flaw that bricks some switches

If you own the model 6300 and 6400, upgrade now to ‘prolong life’

Aruba has quietly admitted that recent firmware for some of its switches uses storage at “an unintended and accelerated pace” that “will meet or exceed the deployment lifetime of the switch” once installed.

The switches in question are the company’s 6300-series and 6400-series devices.

The company suggests the 6300 as “ideal for enterprise access, aggregation, core, and top of rack deployments” while the 6400 is described as “ideal for use from edge access to core and into the data center, including spine-leaf architectures and EVPN-VXLAN fabrics.”

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Google to end free unlimited online photo, vid storage, will eventually delete files if accounts go over their cap

Gmail, Drive to count toward 15GB of gratis cloud space, caveats abound

Google will cap its free online storage to 15GB per person, give or take some caveats, and users will have to pay if they go over that limit – or have their excess data deleted – the search giant said on Wednesday.

That storage space includes Gmail, Photos, and Drive, which includes Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other Workspace files. This move comes five years after Google launched unlimited online storage of high-quality photos and videos, a service we joked would be axed after four years. We were a couple of years out.

High-quality photos and videos, and other files and email, already stored in your Google account, or uploaded before June 1, 2021, will not count toward the 15GB allowance. However, from that date onward, any pictures, video, and other data uploaded to your account will count toward that 15GB cap.

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