LG to utilize Azure for autonomous systems

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LG to utilize Azure for autonomous systems

LG Electronics will be utilizing a Microsoft product in the development of autonomous vehicle systems, LG said Wednesday.

Under the agreement between the two companies, LG has gained access to Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing platform for its self-driving car systems.

Apart from storing vast amounts of data, the Azure platform also offers immense computing power for data-based applications and services.

The two companies met Monday to sign a memorandum of understanding at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. LG will connect with Azure in developing driver-support systems, cameras and a virtual assistant that can answer vocal commands.

“Developing software for self-driving car components - whether it’s for navigation or infotainment - requires an enormous amount of data processing,” explained an LG spokesperson.

“The agreement with Microsoft Azure is basically aimed at helping our software save and utilize as much data as possible in the shortest amount of time.”

LG plans to use Azure’s high-performance computing and graphics processing units. According to the company, these tools can slash the time required to learn roads and traffic patterns from more than a full day to a few minutes. Higher processing speeds will also help the software learn patterns gathered from cameras regarding the driver, pedestrians and other objects on the streets.

Another tool offered on the Azure platform is a voice assistant. LG plans to incorporate this into its infotainment system so that the car’s software can answer questions and receive commands.

It could, for example, check traffic conditions, search for a restaurant nearby or call up favorite songs.

The large amounts of data LG collects from self-driving cars will be saved in the Azure system, including photos of roads, obstacles and road signs collected from all over the world. LG will be able to utilize the data collected for further development. In the past, before cloud services existed, international data had to be shipped to Korea in hard drives.

LG Electronics has been supplying components to self-driving carmakers since late 2016. The field is considered a future growth engine for the company.

“In the upcoming age of autonomous vehicles, LG Electronics will shift the definition of cars from a means of transportation to a mobile space, which can turn into a conference room, a theater or a shopping mall,” said the company’s chief technology officer, Park Il-pyung, during a pre-show keynote speech on Monday.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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