The experience of working with AWS

At Darwin, we have a team of developers creating software for use with connected and autonomous vehicles. Some of our creations are also of interest to companies that use traditional vehicles. For example, we’ve been working on efficiency-boosting fleet management software, which could save fuel and reduce emissions for companies that make frequent deliveries.

In order to create our software, we’ve been working with Amazon Web Services, or AWS. The coding we do and the software we make is stored on the AWS Cloud. In this post, we’re going to talk about what it’s like to work closely with AWS and its team, drawing on the experiences of Darwin’s CEO Milos Petrovic.

Autonomous vehicles generate huge quantities of data, which need to be transmitted in real time and stored in order to be useful. In the past, to store information on this level, a company would need its own data centres. By offering almost limitless cloud storage on a pay-as-you-go basis, AWS opens new doors for small and medium enterprises without the need for them to buy, own and maintain their own data centres and servers.

In November 2020, we experimented with driving autonomous vehicles at the Darwin SatCom Lab and sending the telemetry data to AWS. We had good results, but we wanted to ask AWS for advice on how to use the service more effectively.

We approached AWS directly to find out if they’d like to collaborate. They thought our work was interesting and said they’d be happy to work with us. This meant that Darwin would continue to use AWS’s services for coding, and AWS would provide Darwin with business and technical support. Darwin would also have greater access to AWS’s cutting-edge technology, including some technology that was still in beta and not yet available to the public.

We worked together with the AWS IoT prototyping team for over six weeks of intensive co-development. These AWS prototyping architects were dedicated to our project; they became part of the team, and we would have video calls open for hours at a time as we coded, working together remotely. At the end of those weeks, we had a code base and a huge amount of new knowledge.

Everyone involved in this collaboration was able to learn and benefit from it. Darwin gained a more intimate knowledge of AWS and of how to get the best use out of it, which will help us build other features in the future. By working directly with their customers, meanwhile, AWS can get a clearer idea of what works, where there’s room for improvement and how their services are being used.

We still have regular meetings with AWS to discuss new opportunities, and we’re looking forward to working together on more projects.

Amongst other things, we’ve been using AWS to develop software that allows companies to track the levels of carbon dioxide produced by their vehicles. This involves gathering emissions data in real time from vehicles, storing it on the AWS Cloud and analysing it. With this information, we can learn how much CO2 a fleet of vehicles is producing, we can inform managers of how they’re performing in relation to their green targets, and we can make suggestions for how to improve.

For any company that uses many vehicles, such as supermarkets and delivery services, even small improvements to efficiency can make a substantial difference to fuel use and carbon emissions. Darwin and AWS are working together to make those improvements possible.

Darwin Innovation Group is a UK-based company that provides services related to autonomous vehicles and communications. If you’re interested in working with us, take a look at our careers page. If you’d like to know how we can help your organisation make use of autonomous vehicles, contact us. You can also follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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