Automobile companies are investing huge money into the Internet of Things (IoT), and one area in particular for investors is IoT-connected vehicles. According to Markets and market reports, it is expected that the global production of IoT-based connected vehicles demand will rise to over 110-120 million units by 2025 and it is projected that the global connected vehicles market size will reach $180 (USD) billion by 2025.
The automobile companies are embedding IoT technologies into automotive systems to produce new applications and solutions which make any vehicle smarter and more intelligent, facilitate safe, efficient, and comfortable driving.
The aim of the automotive industry is to attain advanced, personalized, and improved human-to-machine and machine-to-machine interaction through IoT.
One example is Tesla. The electric car giant is developing connected vehicles with advanced features for a superior driving experience. May it be controlling vehicle functions such as charging, air conditioning, improved self-driving capabilities, or be it parking or summoning the car, Tesla’s vehicles have already achieved a lot in terms of being “connected”. With Smart Summon, cars navigate in more complex environments and parking spaces, manoeuvring around objects as necessary to come find you in a parking lot. Without a driver!!
Giants like Google and Apple have already designed systems to sync smartphones with vehicles. This allows drivers to take calls, receive messages, access maps, receive data and interact with infotainment apps.
Insights about connected cars
With a growing number of vehicles becoming connected, we look at how IoT will transform the automotive and transportation industry and we will discuss “how” it will change our vehicles (and driving experience).
But, let’s start with the basics.
With constant advancements in technology, there are no limits to what a “connected vehicle” could be. All you need to know is - A connected vehicle is a vehicle that has its own connection to the internet that can communicate bidirectionally with other systems outside of the vehicle, usually via wireless local area network (WLAN) that allows the vehicle to share internet access and data with other devices both inside and outside. For safety-critical applications, it is anticipated that vehicles will also be connected using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) or cellular radios, operating in the FCC-granted 5.9 GHz band with very low latency.
According to McKinsey, a connected car can optimize its own operation, maintenance and convenience of passengers using internet connectivity.
What is a connected vehicle?
Let us discuss a few futuristic IoT trends in connected vehicles:
Driverless cars are no longer a work of fiction, futurists or countless Hollywood movies. The imagination is turning into reality. Connected vehicles not only connect with people, but they also connect with other connected vehicles and the road network’s infrastructure. These attributes become more important as driverless vehicles appear.
With increasing internet connectivity, connected vehicles become more and more autonomous. It will not be long before the network connectivity will extend beyond the vehicle and to the environment around it.
But, how is it possible to extend it beyond the vehicle itself? As cars and objects around them are becoming embedded with IoT data gathering and sharing technologies, driving experiences will undergo major changes due to ease of communication between devices.
To give you a few examples: Smart traffic lights will indicate the car to stop, go or turn. If you are in a new district, the car will be able to tell you about local attractions. As more and more cars get connected, they will be able to communicate with each other and increase the safety on roads and manage traffic effectively.
IoT connected vehicles are equipped with smart sensors to detect the surroundings and the capability to use satellite positioning to know the location. Along with connectivity they have with other devices and vehicles, it is also possible to exchange information regarding traffic, obstacles, conditions etc.
Driverless vehicles use the information from the cameras, radars, and lasers to create a 360-degree digital map of their surroundings. The ability to do this lets the driverless vehicles see through the other ones and anticipate their movements whether they are going to make a turn, accelerate or brake. The connected vehicles also collect information from the surrounding infrastructure such as traffic lights, road signs, lane markings, and roadwork sites to give heads-up about an upcoming traffic jam or a sharp bend in the road.
The demand for driverless vehicles is increasing with each passing day, and as stated earlier, it will cross over 110-120 million connected vehicles by 2025. To utilize this opportunity many automotive and technology companies are working on manufacturing self-driving vehicles. Some of the brands are manufacturers with semi-autonomous capabilities like automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane assistance, and cross-traffic alerts.
Putting together these technologies helps to increase safety measures in the vehicle and decrease congestion on the roads.
One of the prominent safety gears is LiDAR, a light detecting and ranging radar which detects vehicle surroundings (objects and distance, for example) with an aim to avoid obstacles and collisions.
While Tesla does not use this technology, the Google driverless vehicle does use LiDAR technology. It works in the areas where sensors and cameras fail to work. However, future vehicles will require features of all three.
Automotive telematics plays an important role in assessing the driver's behavior for a wide range of purposes. Telematics applications are equipped with several safety features. First, it is equipped to make emergency calls in case of accidents. Secondly, telematic helps in improving maintenance of the vehicle. It takes out the element of human error and replaces it with rigorous maintenance schedules and diagnosis of minute faults quickly. Thirdly, telematics can help in tracking and detect the whereabouts in case theft.
Telematics helps automakers design a vehicle best suited for their customer's preferences. Over 60% of cars sold in 2018 contained installed telematics; however, premium vehicles are the main focus in connected car packages. As per the report, by 2022, 75% of connected car packages will be sold as part of smaller, less expensive cars.
A lot of vehicles come with an integrated GPS system these days. However, the ability to receive signals from multiple satellite systems, gather data from different sensors embedded in the vehicle and using this information will enhance time and accuracy in determining vehicle position and other safety applications.
In our daily lives, we use so many connected devices which are enabled by smartphones or tablets. These devices have become such an integral part of our lives that we would prefer these interactions to continue seamlessly inside the vehicles as well. This is turning into reality!
A lot of vehicles already have a built-in infotainment system which can connect with smartphones to give us a hands-free experience. Features like smart play, smartphone integration, windshield display or heads-up display, cloud-based infotainment systems, and interior personalization are becoming common.
Moreover, infotainment systems are also used in road assistance for driver safety. Features like video and data recording from rear view (or the windshield), night vision cameras and black box recording contribute towards safety.
Usage based insurance (UBI) made its debut over a decade from now. Progressive Insurance Company and GMAC were at the forefront of such insurance. They began offering mileage-linked discounts and tracked miles driven using GPS technology and cellular systems.
With advancements in technology, telematics has now upgraded. It can record, trace, collect and transfer data relating to driver habits and behavior, which can help insurance companies in customizing policies based on driving habits and identify fraudulent insurance claims. This encourages safer and more economical driving practices.
All of us have experienced the long lines at gas stations to pump and pay using our credit cards. What if we told you this problem will soon be resolved because of Iot?
Yes, you read it right.
Pay at the pump will revolutionize how we pay for fuel (and soon other things as well!). In future, we will be able to pay through our connected cars.
Brain-to-vehicle may be the future of the automotive industry. Brain-to-vehicle technology uses a device to read brainwaves from the driver and is analysed by the vehicle's autonomous device. This is used to predict the driver's behavior. Although the current market position of supporting the B2V technology indicates that it is still a long way from adoption. CES 2020 showcased the wide range of products that rely on brainwaves to operate: a prosthetic hand, electrotherapy treatment for depression, a padded headband to help you sleep, and more. These connected devices offer hope for the future of automotive.
B2V technology may not be for everyone. In a vehicle equipped with something like Nissan’s B2V system, drivers use a headset dotted with electrodes that either press directly against a person's scalp or come as close as possible. However, predictions are that the B2V application can help drivers avoid accidents caused by abrupt lane changes and other unsafe driving practices.
For the first time, by integrating AI and Internet of Things access into the way we travel, the concept of human mobility is being engineered in alignment with the human experience -- the communities in which we live and the way we interact with the world around us. Not all the automotive trends that excite us today will survive the challenge of taking a bold vision into the future. However, the ideas that move from trend to reality will have a major impact on how we live our lives. In the future, the automotive design as we know it today will be a relic, and freedom of the road will take on an entirely new meaning. Every automaker is on the road to make this future mobility a reality.
Similar to all other connected devices, security is a concern with connected vehicles as well. The large amount of data collected by a connected vehicle and critical components like safety systems need to be protected from hackers. But, there is no denial that connected vehicles will soon transform our driving experience.
These are a few examples of how IoT is changing our vehicles. At present, Tesla, GM, Stellantis, Ford, Nissan, Audi, BMW and Jaguar are manufacturing connected vehicles. It won’t be very long before these vehicles become a commonality. Soon we will be able to drive without steering, pay without cards, access news and social media on dashboards.
We cannot wait to get our hands on these vehicles. What features would you want to have in your connected vehicle?