With an annual production of more than 70 million units, the automobile sector is one of the biggest manufacturing industry in the world. According to an international estimate, the global turnover of the automobile industry in 2017 was an astonishing 3 trillion dollars, amounting to a combined global GDP of 3.65%.
However, the total number of annual sales in automotive units is somewhat fixed since 2016. Yearly car sales have been wavering between the range of 75 to 80 million units for the past four years. One of the reasons due to which the automotive industry is unable to make a breakthrough in its annual production and sales record is due to the lack of innovative features in vehicles. Buyers nowadays look for more than 4 tires and a steering wheel in a car. They seek for a futuristic vehicle with which they can connect and interact. Internet of Things is one such disruptive technology that is helping automobile sector to build a batch of next-generation vehicles.
The advent of IoT in automotive industry has opened new avenues for carmakers and buyers all across the world. With usage at both industrial and commercial level, IoT in automotive sector has become a prominent hotspot for variegated multi-purpose applications. From connected cars to automated transport systems, the applications of Internet of Things have made a deep dent in the global automotive market.
What is the Internet of Things?
Internet of Things refers to a connection of billions of complex devices like electronics, sensors, gateways, actuators, and platform hubs. These tangible devices connect and interact with each other over a wireless network. Connected objects (or things) share data with each other and operate without any intervention by humans.
The potential of IoT can be estimated from a study by Gartner that forecasts connectivity of more than 20 billion IoT devices by the end of the year 2020. A large implementation of IoT was first witnessed in manufacturing companies to execute autonomy and reduce production cost. Later its applications turned towards more commercial and general usage.
Nevertheless, the possibilities that internet of things bring for the automobile industry are really immense. Different Automotive IoT use cases have popped up that are revolutionizing the way people interact with their vehicles. Let’s explore them one by one:
5 Staggering IoT use cases in Automotive Sector:
1. Fleet Management:
The implementation of IoT in automotive sector has brought in a huge development in the field of fleet management. Trucks nowadays are integrated with weight measurement, location tracking, and several other sensors.
The volume of sensory data gathered from a large fleet of such trucks is stored into a cloud application. This data is then processed through different analytics features and conceptualized into a visual format. A fleet operator can easily go through this information to monitor different parameters associated with its fleet. Some of the benefits that an IoT infused fleet management system offer to a fleet manager are:
• Weight/Volume tracking of cargo that the fleet is carrying
• Tracking traffic conditions on the road
• Route management
• Time and Driver management
2. Connected Cars:
The idea of connected cars is not new. In fact, according to an estimation by Gartner, there will be more than 250 million connected cars in the world by the end of the year 2020. These cars are connected over an IoT network called CV2X (cellular vehicle to everything) that connects vehicles and smart transport systems with each other.
Connected cars facilitate fast transmission of data and increase drivers’ response time through enhanced vehicle communication. Based on the vehicle’s connection with different objects, the CV2X is sub-divided into four categories:
- Vehicle to vehicle (V2V): V2V connection allows vehicles in a proximate range to share data with each other. The data mainly constitutes information related to location, speed, and dynamics. V2V connection helps in preventing accidents and allow emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks to easily move through traffic.
- Vehicle to infrastructure (V2I): V2I connection refers to a network of vehicles and road infrastructures. The infrastructure in V2I generally constitutes traffic lights, lane markings, and toll booths. V2I generally facilitates smooth traffic flow and avoid long queues at toll booths or petrol pumps.
- Vehicle to pedestrians (V2P): Through the use of a mobile application, a pedestrian can also connect with CV2X network. A pedestrian can use this application to locate nearby taxis and monitor the estimated time of arrival for transits. They can also connect with the pedestrian walking system and change traffic signals to cross a road.
- Vehicle to network (V2N): Intelligent Transport System (ITM) and weather forecast department can also connect with the network to alert the drivers about change in weather conditions or an accident on the road. Moreover, a vehicle can be connected with smartphones. This way, the driver can use voice commands to operate the music system and GPS of the car while driving.
3. Automotive Maintenance System:
Predictive analytics is one of the most startling features of IoT automotive. The sensors embedded in different components of a car collect data and share it to a platform. This data is then processed by an algorithm that can analyze the future outcomes of the component based on its performance.
IoT automotive maintenance system also helps a person to take necessary steps to prevent its car parts from sudden breakdown. Just like dashboard indicators of a vehicle, this system alerts the driver about probable malfunctions. However, the alerts are sent to the driver’s mobile, way before the problem even occurs. This helps the driver to make cost-effective and time-saving steps to avoid component failure while driving.
The capabilities of predictive maintenance can be implemented to an individual vehicle as well as to a fleet. It is really helpful for load-carrying vehicles that travel for days before reaching their destination. By using the automotive maintenance system a person can confirm the performance of its vehicle and repair its car parts before they break.
4. Autonomous Vehicles:
Autonomous vehicles are a hot topic among automobile makers. Various car manufacturers are trying to develop a fully autonomous car that will assume all driving functions from the driver. Even though developments have been made in this area, a fully independent vehicle is still to be developed.
However, semi-autonomous vehicles have been manufactured that partially assists drivers with driving, braking, parking, and lane changing activities. IoT infused semi-autonomous cars take on-spot decisions while partly controlling the vehicle operations to avoid accidents and reduce the load from the driver. Along with different proximity sensors and cameras, cars are integrated with IoT systems to reduce human error and make driving more comfortable and safe.
5. In-vehicle Infotainment and Telematics:
In-car Wi-Fi Capabilities powered by 4G LTE connection has enabled telematics features to IoT based automotive. Telematics refers to the long transmission of computerized data. By using vehicular telematics a car owner can keep an eagle eye view on its vehicle even from remote locations.
Through a smartphone-enabled dashboard, car owners can be ensured about its security, surveillance, and safety at all times. External sensors and cameras keep a track of the vehicles’ condition and send the data to a mobile application. Telematics system along with real-time alert system sounds an alarm in the owner’s smartphone if someone tries to forcefully enter the vehicle without proper access. The smart car enabled with IoT also calls concerned authorities immediately like ambulance or firefighters in case of an emergency.
Wi-Fi capabilities have also given rise to smart infotainment systems along with other smart car features. The owners can connect different equipment like music system and GPS in a car with their smartphone and operate them distantly. Currently, there are various in-built and third-party applications that a person can use to connect his vehicle with mobile.
Voice command accessibility in these application allows a person to play its favorite music, stream a video, or attend calls without even lifting a finger. The GPS and GNSS system in the infotainment systems also offers onboard navigation and comprehensive information about nearby petrol pumps, restaurants, and other points of interests.
Internet of Things along with other disruptive technologies is revolutionizing the complete automotive industry. Evolution in this field has brought in the emergence of trailblazing development in automobiles in terms of connected and automated cars. Its usage has revamped car inspection and maintenance capabilities and presented new mediums of entertainment. Moreover, vehicular telematics is allowing long-range data transmission that has helped in the emergence of an IoT powered fleet management system.
IoT applications in the automotive industry are increasing day by day. With the enhancement in the technology of Internet of Things, more refined automobile use cases will pop up that will completely change the way in which we interact with our vehicles.