RALEIGH – Raleigh-based EDJX Inc., which has developed a distributed edge-computing platform, will be part of a major public infrastructure project intended to develop smart cities, beginning in Austin, TX. Raleigh is interested.

Autonomy Institute, a cooperative research consortium focused on advancing and accelerating Autonomy and AI, has announced plans to launch the Public Infrastructure Network Node (PINN) Pilot at Texas Military Department in Austin. The Institute is based in that city.

Edge computing services rely on networks that deliver data from sources closer to the user than most traditional servers.

The PINN initiative is the first unified open standard to support 5G wireless, Edge Computing, Radar, Lidar, Enhanced GPS, and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). PINNs are designed to deliver a multitude of advanced edge sensors and computing capabilities urgently needed to support autonomy and IoT.

That includes autonomous and connected vehicle technologies and others that require the speed provided by an edge-computing platform such as the EDJX product. Sensors and computers close to each other share information with less delay due to distance.

PINN is a breakthrough in digital infrastructure design. It solves the current challenge of delivering computing at the edge and reroutes the current trajectory of a skyline clogged with cell towers. PINNs will be one thousand feet away from each other on a sidewalk no different than a light post, and, with their location, bring urgently needed computing power to the edge.

“PINNs look like a next-generation futuristic light pole,” said John Cowan, CEO of EDJX, in an interview with WRAL TechWire. “They process data right there at the point of capture.” That allows immediate insights and decision-making.

May come to Raleigh

The PINN Pilot will serve as the program for developing autonomous solutions at the edge with plans to expand from Austin to other major US cities and then globally. Cowan said that if the pilot program is successful, Raleigh may not be far down the line for a similar project.

The Autonomy Institute said in describing the program that it is working with Raleigh, Denver, Austin, Dallas, and Pittsburgh, who are already exploring the impact of PINN infrastructure. PINN deployment will allow activation of computers and sensors and 5G equipment, foundational to building critical applications at the edge.

Autonomy Institute technology partners EDJX and Atrius Industries, market leader in developing intelligent and autonomous applications, have aligned to deliver solutions at the edge for PINN pilot users, including Transportation and Defense customers.

The pilot project has been in development for 3.5 years, Cowan said, with many players in a team that included sensor, camera, and acoustic equipment vendors, Cisco networking gear, lidar, and radar providers and others. Its capabilities for traffic management exceed current methods, he notes. It will also bring on cellular carriers and mobile operators as it progresses.

He said that eventually bringing a project like this to the Triangle region would have broad implications for the economy.

Raleigh startup EDJX testing an edge computing platform that has company ‘drinking through a firehose’

Future industry needs

“The future of Industry 4.0 depends on a plurality of multi-tenant sensors and processing capabilities located close to users, machines, and devices”, said Cowan. “EDJX and Atrius are actively developing real-world solutions at the edge with the world’s foremost innovators and thinkers in the field of autonomous and connected systems as part of the PINN pilot release.”

Jeffrey DeCoux, chair and fellow, Autonomy Institute said in a statement that “Investment in a 21st century intelligent and autonomous infrastructure is among the highest priorities for stimulating economic expansion, national security, and job growth.”

He added, “Edge computing, 5G wireless, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Resilient Alternative Positioning, Navigation Timing (APNT,) and resilient electrical grids will drive the largest infrastructure buildout in our nation’s history. Digital Edge will drive the world economy.”

PINNs will be funded through private industry and public sector collaborators. PINN is also supported by major technology innovators, including HPE, Cisco, Nvidia, NTT, and several others, contributing their technology and expertise to operationalize PINNs.

The first PINNs are scheduled to come online in Q221. PINNs will enable optimized traffic management, autonomous cars, industrial robotics, autonomous delivery, drones that respond to 911 calls, automated road and bridge inspection, smart city and national security applications.

US city planning officials and IoT developers with an application or solution that should leverage the PINN can apply to take part in the limited  PINN Beta program.