Self-driving cars and Hollywood movies: The surprising connection

Self-driving cars, those autonomous computers-on-wheels coming soon to a highway near you, are endlessly fascinating. They make use of many of today’s cutting-edge emerging technologies all in one package, everything from real-time AI-powered computer vision to complex clusters of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. Given their complexity, it may not be surprising to learn that a single autonomous car will create 4TB (that’s 4,000 gigabytes) of data per day as it collects sensor data, records route optimizations, and so on. But just how much data is that exactly?

We can visualize just how big 4TB is by using video streaming. An HD stream of a typical 90-minute movie uses 4.5GB of data. So 4TB represents the data it takes to stream 888 movies—and there were only 726 movies released by Hollywood last year.

So the next time you want to conceptualize the data needs of the self-driving car revolution, picture every self-driving car generating more data than a year’s worth of Hollywood movie releases every day.

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