Site icon CRS Automotive

Internet of Things: The Link Between Smart Cars and Smart Cities

Are you up to date with what is happening lately in the automotive industry? Is your car your baby or do you use it just to get from point A to point B? If you are one of those people who like to get the latest, best and of the highest quality, then we have a treat for you. 

On the heels of the electric car revolution and the corresponding industry changes that are upon us comes the Internet of Things and smart cars. It’s the dawn of the 21st century and it’s safe to say that what we once thought was distant future or belonging only in movies has now come knocking on our doors. Not only have connected vehicles become our reality, but some of you must have already driven or are proud owners of them. Not surprising, since a study PwC entitled The Bright Future of Connected Cars states that “revenues in the connected car market will nearly quadruple between 2015 and 2020, led by driver assistance and safety technologies”. Therefore, it will be generated over €110 billion ($149 billion) in revenue in the passenger segment alone!

With that much money in the mix, you must be wondering what the driving force behind such a big change is. Well, to even attempt to answer that particular question, we must see the product categories this fast-growing segment of the automotive industry is comprised of.

There are 6 of them:

1)   Mobility management – functions that allow the driver to reach a destination quickly, safely, and in a cost-efficient manner (current traffic information, parking lot or garage assistance, optimized fuel consumption)

2)   Vehicle management – functions that aid the driver in reducing operating costs and improving ease of use (vehicle condition and service reminders, remote operation, transfer of usage data)

3)   Safety – functions that warn the driver of external hazards and internal responses of the vehicle to hazards (collision protection, hazard warnings, emergency functions)

4)   Driver assistance – functions involving partially or fully automatic driving (operational assistance or autopilot in heavy traffic, in parking, or on highways)

5)   Well-being – functions involving the driver’s comfort and ability and fitness to drive (fatigue detection, automatic environment adjustments to keep drivers alert, medical assistance)

6)   Entertainment – functions involving the entertainment of the driver and passengers (smartphone interface, WLAN hot spot, music, video, Internet, social media, mobile office).

So, you see, many of the driving processes are being automated to the point where a car is practically not being driven by the driver, and surpasses its essential role of being only a tool in a person’s hands. The car becomes an intelligent entity – one that is able to facilitate the driving process immensely and optimize driver’s response to the dangers on the road.

Each year, 1.3 million people are killed in traffic accidents. 90% of these are caused by human error, led to by physical and emotional factors such as stress, fatigue, recklessness, or distracted driving. Smart cars eliminate this human factor. Vehicles connected and controlled by apps and sensors – basically running on autopilot with internet access – are permanently alert and responsive to changing conditions. In that sense, the IoT technology plays a huge part in bringing down the number of accidents: driver assistance and safety systems have advanced features like seat belt detection, collision warning, and accident notifications. Additionally, systems already exist which monitor vital functions of drivers like their pulse, fatigue symptoms and send alerts about possible problems.

Moreover, the technology allows the driver to determine not only the quickest route and most detailed itinerary, but also to monitor fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This shortened gap has been predicted to be saving 90 billion hours per year from traffic jams that waste $1 trillion on fuel, generate a whopping 220 million metric tons of CO2 into the air, and damage personal productivity – easing the stress of commuting to work, driving children to school, or running errands.

Ain’t that one giant step for mankind when it comes to saving the planet? Intel agrees:

To that effect, urban communities from all around North America are being transformed into “Smart Cities”. The concept itself refers to “an urban development vision to integrate information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of things (IoT) technology in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets”. However, the realization may diverge from the concept, as there are different ways of measuring the Smart City plan success. For example, the Government of Dubai will focus on the reductions of CO2 emissions, average emergency response times, and the number of road fatalities. On the other hand, Austin will be creating ladders of opportunity by connecting underserved communities to economic opportunities via smart transportation corridors to reduce the spread of poverty. Finally, cities like Orlando and Denver are focused on improving efficiencies in city operations and transportation systems.

Regardless of the differences, the objectives of all the Smart City programs are one of a combination of some of the following:

1)   Safety – reducing accidents, injuries, fatalities and EMS response times

2)   Sustainability – reducing CO2 emissions and other pollutants/contaminants

3)   Efficiency – improving city operations

4)   Equality – creating more opportunities in underprivileged urban areas

5)   Engagement – improving citizen engagement and social interactions.

So what does the whole mechanism run on? DATA!

According to Geotab, many of today’s Smart City programs involve some form of mass scale sensor deployment to gather the necessary data to justify and manage change. This is essential to any IoT program – you can’t manage what you don’t measure. The deployment of these sensors, however, can often be very expensive, especially when new city-wide infrastructure is required. Some municipalities chose to deploy smart sensors in their roadways to measure roadside temperature, while others deploy connected street lamps to collect real-time sensor data across the city. However, such data on its own is not necessarily actionable. It needs to be filtered, shaped, and visualized in a manner that uncovers unique and actionable insights.

But where do insights come from? An enormous amount of data!

In a smart city, all critical city systems – transportation, energy, public services, public safety, healthcare, telecommunications are capable of communicating with each other to allow coordination and improve efficiency. They are capable of generating, transmitting and processing data about a wide variety of related activities within the city.

If a Smart City is a system of systems that use the Internet to communicate with and leverage each other to improve vital city operations, then smart cities are designed to examine the opportunities created where these systems interface with transport and mobility. In other words, where connected city, the connected citizen, and the connected vehicle meet and interact.

Many believe smart cities will allow the aforementioned innovations to shine – by creating tangible, economic benefits – which will help speed the adoption of connected, smart cars.

As a whole, the new features that allow innovative technology to take the wheel from humans will largely expand the capacities of connected vehicles in the future, transforming not only the way we drive but how we buy and maintain vehicles, and also how manufacturers sell them. Gathering smart data offers companies and drivers a vast trove of resources and opportunities as they grow, expand and increasingly connect with the IoT.

Prepare for the revolution!

We will be right by your side, so contact us today and leave your car in our capable hands!

Exit mobile version