As driverless cars hit the road in large numbers, IoT will become increasingly significant in transportation and logistics over the next few years, says Joby Joseph.
As connectivity and smart devices have become a standard in automobiles, the manufacturers in this sector are also focused and upping their game with suite of technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) to make most of the potential business benefits that come in with this digital revolution.
As per Business Insider (BI) report, there will be 381 million connected cars on the roads by 2020, which is up from estimated as 36 million in 2015. Also, BI Intelligence has predicted that connected cars will generate $ 8.1 trillion between 2015 and 2020. These figures give the indication that IoT and related digitalization technologies will lead in a major shift in the world of mobility.
Over the last few years, the automotive industry has witnessed the announcement of a flurry of connected cars by major companies such as BMW, Daimler, Honda, Ford and General Motors. Using IoT, car manufacturers are connecting cars in two ways - embedded and tethered. While embedded cars use an antenna and chipset, tethered technology uses hardware to allow drivers to connect their cars via smartphones. Here are some ways in which IoT can facilitate smarter driving:
? Connected solutions can help overall monitoring of vehicles for safety and also help to control costs by monitoring vehicle usage and overall fleet efficiency.
? IoT can facilitate prompt service to customers, enhancing the way drivers interact with other vehicles and the infrastructure.
? Internet connectivity in vehicles also allows car companies to release software updates in real time.
Autonomous car technology is becoming more ubiquitous day by day, and
driverless cars are rapidly becoming an everyday norm as we may think. An autonomous vehicle, such cars are capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. Automakers like Volvo, BMW and Tesla are developing complex systems to create driverless cars and also refining existing technologies such as self-parking and pre-safe systems to redefine driving as we know it.
Driverless cars require an immense amount of data gathering and analysis due to their connection to cloud-based traffic and navigation services. IoT-enabled modules have established reliable and secure standards across 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G and LTE networks. Experts believe that with their efficient track record, IoT solutions will ensure a smooth transition from driver-operated cars to autonomous vehicles.
IoT helps leasing companies manage their customer relationships better through proactive fleet maintenance. By remotely access devices such as the odometer and diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) in real-time, IoT can prolong the leasing contract and ensure vehicles go through the regular maintenance cycles.
IoT can also assist leasing companies not directly responsible for maintenance by helping them access additional services like roadside assistance. By leveraging IoT, these companies can access crucial real-time information such as location, status of fuel tank and batteries and optimize overall uptime of vehicles.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) provide post-sales services for maintenance, but after the warranty period, customers do not always go back to the dealership for service. IoT can prove to be a valuable asset for OEMs, who want to reverse this situation. With the help of internet-based technologies, OEMs can monitor distance/time to service intervals and promote special discounts or offers to redirect customers to their services.
With the help of IoT, the status and condition of connected cars is easily visualised on a dashboard. OEMs can easily access this information via mobile phone apps and instantly reach out to their customers. IoT-based services also allow these companies to schedule maintenance of vehicles to an assigned garage and render efficient service.
Digital integration of transport infrastructure
Moving beyond vehicles, IoT technologies are also helping connect disparate elements of the transportation ecosystem such as traffic signals and parking spots. For example, connected parking spots can help reduce congestion and pollution levels by giving drivers access to information about available parking spaces. Here are some more examples of how technology is improving the functionality of vehicles:
? App integration is an emerging trend in today's transportation scenario. Navigation tools such as Google Maps are replacing built-in GPS systems and apps like GasBuddy show the driver where to find the cheapest fuel in the area. Music apps such as Spotify are also making traditional and satellite radio redundant.
? Mobile device providers release regular software updates to improve the functionality of their products via over-the-air (OTA) technology. In the same manner, IoT will help car manufacturers to improve the functionality of their products. For example, in new Tesla vehicles, batteries are limited in their charge capacity. However, customers have the choice of an update with OTA technology to upgrade their vehicle’s battery capability.
There are many challenges and opportunities in deploying IoT for autonomous driving.
Need for higher investment: While IoT adoption can result in cost savings and increased operational efficiency, the deployment of the technology faces market barriers due to prohibitive costs of developing the right infrastructure. The successful implementation of the technology ultimately depends on the constant collection, monitoring, analysing and action of data, which requires a connected network relying on co-ordination between multiple agencies. The sophistication of data handling increases as more devices are added on the network that must be equipped to handle increasing data traffic at affordable mobile carrier data charges.
Safety and security concerns: Addressing software vulnerabilities remains one of the biggest challenges curtailing the growth potential of IoT-led autonomous driving. There is a need to evolve cybersecurity compliance policies at the ecosystem level to protect data through critical mechanisms like access control, authentication of devices and encryption. While the industry will greatly benefit from regulators being up to speed on the technological advancements, autonomous cars themselves can be viable only when there is clarity on legislations that define which party will be liable for bearing risks in case of damage or death.
Availability of advanced sensors and mapping solutions: Most of the sensors available in the market are in the pre-development stage of production. These sensors should be improved extensively to predict different situations from extreme danger to minimal danger. This would in turn facilitate better M2M connectivity to make autonomous driving safe. BMW, for example, has begun work on this aspect. For the self-driving car model that will be launched in 2021, the auto manufacturer is set to employ on solid-state LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors and computer vision tech from startup Innoviz to enable its Level 3 – 5 autonomous vehicles to “see” their surroundings.
Implementation of advanced mapping systems, which can recognise the surrounding objects and can create 3D world maps of the streets, will help to reduce confusions and enhance clarity among users. As of now, most of the advanced maps available in the market cover a small portion of roads in USA, when it comes to developing countries this becomes even a bigger challenge.
The future of IoT in
IoT will become increasingly significant in transportation and logistics over the next few years as driverless cars hit the road in large numbers. According to global consultancy Gartner, nearly 250 million cars will be connected to the Internet by 2020. But this is just the beginning, and IoT is likely to have far-reaching effects on the future of the automotive industry. As we move into a new era of transportation, IoT services will lead the change and open up endless possibilities for the entire transportation industry.