May 17, 2020

China’s Geely to make satellite fleet for autonomous driving

automation
Cloud
Aerospace
William Smith
2 min
Chinese automotive firm Geely is intending to launch a fleet of satellites to aid its self driving car ambitions
The automotive industry’s ever-increasing technologisation is sending it in some unexpected directions. While Elon Musk sent a Tesla Roadster to space...

The automotive industry’s ever-increasing technologisation is sending it in some unexpected directions. While Elon Musk sent a Tesla Roadster to space, Chinese automotive firm Geely’s interest is less literal, with the company intending to launch a fleet of satellites to aid its self driving car ambitions.

According to Reuters, Geely is to invest $326mn in a satellite manufacturing plant in Taizhou, scaling up to produce 500 satellites a year by 2025. Before that, Geespace, the company’s satellite subsidiary, will begin launching satellites by the end of the year.

Geely themselves might be little known by name in the West, though it is the parent company of European brands including Lotus and Volvo. Like many of its automotive bedfellows, autonomous vehicles are becoming an increasing differentiator as they seek to catch up to the likes of Tesla, which is now the world’s second most valuable car company despite manufacturing a relatively tiny number of vehicles.

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Consequently, we’ve seen Toyota invest in autonomous vehicle startup Pony.ai, while General Motors acquired Cruise in 2016, recently debuting its all-electric autonomous Cruise Origin vehicle. Geely’s satellites represent a different approach to its peers, with the company intending for the satellites to offer high-speed connectivity, navigation and cloud computing capabilities to assist its autonomous vehicles.

The development adds to the broader trend for small satellite fleets, with the likes of SpaceX’s StarLink and the OneWeb satellite constellation. Both are intended to provide satellite internet access to the world, ensuring coverage via the number of satellites in the constellation - 650 in OneWeb’s case. Such ongoing projects haven’at been without controversy, with consternation particularly coming from astronomers, who are already seeing interference in their measurements.

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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