Baidu, a top tier cloud service provider, develops edge compute solutions to support emerging use cases like autonomous driving vehicles and connected vehicle-to-everything communication (V2X) in smart cities. Edge computing will play a critical role in this emerging technology with low-latency computing and communications resources located in close proximity to the vehicles.
Baidu came to Flex to bring a new edge server design concept to reality. Here’s how we collaborated with Baidu to deliver a truly innovative solution.
Edge computing distributes compute resources from the cloud to be located closer to the source of data. Processing takes place much closer to the devices where data is being generated, delivering a near real-time experience.
The design of edge computing reduces latency, as well as the network bandwidth required to transmit data from the edge to the cloud. It enables applications that require near-instantaneous data processing and feedback — like those found in autonomous vehicles.
Baidu created an innovative edge computing server product concept to support autonomous vehicles and V2X applications. The device requires installation of numerous systems along the roadside, so world class mass production capabilities were a requirement.
Unlike most server hardware that comfortably resides in strictly controlled environments, this edge computing hardware must withstand or be protected from the outdoor elements, including precipitation, lightning, dust, temperature, and humidity. It also needs to be physically secure from vandalism.
Baidu needed a partner with deep and broad experience in mechanical and thermal design for cloud computing, storage, and communications products.
As a leader in autonomous driving and V2X application field, Baidu chooses Flex as a key partner. Flex has brought knowledge and experience from working with many telecom, networking, cloud infrastructure, and automotive companies from the very beginning, and providing us with great design so we could bring an idea to reality. We look forward to more cooperation with Flex.
— Zhenyu Hou, Vice President, Baidu
We assembled a team of experts in mechanical design and engineering, data transmission, cloud storage, and system integration. Our extensive cross-industry experience with hundreds of companies made us well equipped to meet the challenge.
When Baidu came to us with their early design concept, we worked together to address requirements for aesthetics, thermal management, safety, security, cost, assembly, and testing to enable them to take the concept into a production-ready design.
We delivered on the following scope of work:
- System engineering: Starting from a concept to a finished joint product design, we used modeling and simulation tools, focusing on technology selection and rapid prototyping of proof of concept systems.
- Mechanical engineering: We engaged at each stage in the product development cycle to help Baidu create detailed designs, develop and test tooling, and ultimately transfer to mass production.
- Electrical engineering: Experience creating high-speed designs is a Flex core competency. From integration, PCBA layout, electrical testing, to high-speed signal integrity, this experience was instrumental in validating the advanced technology in this system.
- Analysis and testing: Flex provided failure analysis, reliability testing, and test development to support volume production.
- Compliance and certification: Products are designed to meet all required compliance and certification requirements.
Applying our signature design-led manufacturing approach, our engineers also collaborated to design the manufacturing process for scalability.
One month after kicking off our engagement, we manufactured and delivered a proof-of-concept system to Baidu. We tested, finalized, and shipped multiple engineering validation units four months later. Production began quickly thereafter.
No matter the complexity, we meet customers where they are to bring their products to market.