The world we live in has become increasingly communication & connectivity centric today. It all began with the general adoption of email and text messages, and boom, as we entered 2019 we were witnessing global adoption of connected devices all across our homes and offices. And since then, the progression in this arena has been constant.
Considering the number of developments witnessed over the last two decades, the fact can’t be denied that every day we are moving closer to a fully-connected future.
So now where do the cars fit into this aspect?
What benefits do consumers have of driving these ‘smart’ or ‘connected cars’? Are there any? In this post, we will be exploring in-depth about the Internet of Things, Connected Cars, and how they are changing the game for the consumers. Let’s begin.
Understanding the Internet of Things
Today even though one might not have a full understanding of the concept ‘Internet of Things’, but they are still aware of it and have most certainly seen or interacted with an IoT device. Basically, it means connecting any device – be it a television, a refrigerator, a lamp, it could be anything – to the Internet. In the last decade, we have witnessed this concept of the Internet of Things grow into digitalization & connectivity of several household products and appliances.
Earlier in the year 2012, there were around 8 to 10 billion things that were believed to be connected to the internet, and this number is constantly growing with each year. Few people even say that by 2020 there are going to be 24 billion connected devices installed which means there will be four devices per human.
Meanwhile, today the IoT movement is not simply restricted to personal/household items. With technology progressing over time and becoming simpler to implement, the number of objects that can be remotely operated via smart devices has increased as well. Hence, it is not just the smart devices like TV or AC at your home that can be remotely controlled using an iPad, but machines like telescopes and jet engines can also be easily operated via the internet with the use of a connected device. Meanwhile, the crucial aspects here is “on-and-off switch”. Like, if there is this switch, then the device can certainly become a part of IoT. This way every electronic device can join the ever-growing and enormous network of connected objects.
Understanding the concept of Connected Cars
So now that we have explored the concept of the Internet of Things, it is now time to shed some light on this one important area of IoT that garners huge interest, i.e. Connected Cars.
What exactly is a Connected Car?
A connected car is a car equipped with Internet access, and generally also with a wireless local area network. This way the car can share internet access with the other devices, both inside the vehicle and outside as well.
Looking at the automobile industry, one can easily see the numerous advantages drivers, travelers, passengers, manufacturers, and services can gain from the connected future. In fact, it is pretty closer than you can imagine.
As per the Director of Technical Evangelism, Altoros, Alex Khizhniak, “Today the technologies behind the connected cars are rapidly evolving. In fact, it is amazing to witness how fast they’re merging with the other technologies surrounding us, like the ones found in smart cities, smart homes, etc. and with this increase of electronic vehicles & accelerated development cycles, the future is happening right here, right now.”
Bringing together IoT and Connected Cars
So IoT is hitting various aspects of our lives, including transportation. A lot is being transformed in this arena, from average citizen’s cars to the trucks carrying heavy loads, thus, the standards are changing. Soon we can expect self-driving cars, which are controlled via smartphones, Wi-Fi, and technology designed smartly by manufacturers. It is expected that by the year 2020, there will be ten million self-driving cars on the road by the likes of Mercedes, Chevrolet, BMW, and Tesla. Also, the time that was earlier spent on driving and parking the cars will be saved and this will add valuable hours to our days, and offer many benefits to the major industries across the globe.
With this, it is clear that there will be a shift in the responsibilities as well. Manufacturers would require to offer the best ad ideal self-driving technology, and IoT is going to integrate a level of control that would make lives easier, faster, & more efficient. It is expected that the technology will save an extra 50 minutes in our day by simply relinquishing the driving-related tasks to vehicle. This certainly means more time to chill, to work, talk to the family, read a book, enjoy a meal, watch a movie, and do whatever desired, instead of being frustrated in a traffic jam.
What does this promise?
It is expected that by the year 2020, there are going to be around 250 million IoT-connected cars out there on the streets, cutting down a massive number of traffic accidents owing to the multitude of eternally aware sensors & smart mobile applications. Vehicles can exceptionally avoid the collisions by communicating their position to each other on the road. Not just this but by maintaining the perfect spacing between vehicles, it would be possible to ease the traffic congestion.
These transforming changes can tremendously help in saving 90 billion hours per year from the traffic jams which presently waste $1 trillion on the fuel, generate a sum of 220 million metric tons of the hazardous CO2 (carbon dioxide) into the air, & further damage productivity. There will be less stress to run errands, commute to work and drive kids to school. In fact, with further advancements, the smart cars would be able to send off on their own, controlled remotely & monitored from far.
The smart cars, when combined with sensors in the parking spaces, will even reduce the fuel costs, spacing, & time. The locations of all the available parking spots are going to be sent in the real-time to those nearby vehicles, thus enabling the drivers to check for availability much in advance. It is learned that around 30 percent of the traffic congestion is caused by the drivers looking for parking spaces, and this issue will be eliminated swiftly with this smart technology.
Meanwhile, it will take some time for this smart-driven technology to reach the state of perfection, and how much time that will take is still a question. In the past, we have seen that accidents occur inevitability with any technology, so it has to be seen yet how the driver-less cars would change the insurance industry. It is very much possible that the responsibility is going to fall on the manufacturers’ shoulders. The ‘human error’ coverage would change to ‘technical failure’, thus causing the firms to revise their goals. It will also be vital to forge partnerships between the insurance firms & manufacturers, in order to ensure smoother protocols & safer roads.
The prediction says that the smart car technology is going to the highly disruptive around the middle of the century, but with time, the world is going to adapt & reap benefits that will surely come with the modernization and improvement of technology, changing the world for better.