The Internet of Vehicles is just one of many IoT technologies that are changing our world. The idea of smart vehicles has been around for some time now, and it finally feels like we are starting to catch up with science fiction.
Although there is still a long road ahead before the Internet of Vehicles goes mainstream and autonomous vehicles hit the road at a mass scale, the market is already showing us important ways in which IoT technologies will play a key role. Through connected vehicles, smart cities will be able to offer citizens mobility solutions that can address many of today’s most pressing problems.
In this post we discuss what the Internet of Vehicles is, its implications, and some thoughts on what it means for the future of mobility.
What Is a Smart City?
In general, when it comes to technology, one of the most important implications of smart cities is their use of the Internet of Things (IoT). Thanks to the power of IoT devices to collect vast amounts of data through the strategic use of sensors, it is possible to automate a number of important processes while solving many different problems in cities. As a result, the use of this technology can help gain powerful efficiencies and improve citizens’ overall wellbeing.
The Internet of Vehicles (IoV)
Mobility is one of the many problems that IoT technologies can help solve. Through what is often referred to as the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), it is possible to connect vehicles through a network in a way that allows data to be collected, processed, and used to optimize mobility systems.
The Internet of Vehicles is a network of connected vehicles that operate on vehicular ad hoc networks that vary based on the requirements of the system. Because it follows the same principles as other Internet of Things networks, data is also a crucial element to IoV. The security requirements of each network vary depending on specific systemic goals and each particular technology being used. In general, they require high levels of security to avoid breaches or any other thing that might result in a malfunction or undesired consequence.
Benefits of the Internet of Vehicles
Some of the benefits of the Internet of Vehicles are:
- Optimized accident prevention
- Emergency calls in case of an accident
- Real-time traffic information
- Parking helper and driving suggestions
- Usage-based insurance
IoV Network Types
Just as devices that are connected to IoT networks are referred to as smart devices, vehicles that are connected to IoV networks are referred to as smart vehicles. These types of vehicles can exchange data in different ways and across a number of devices.
The network architecture matters a lot for connected vehicles. These are the main types of Internet of Vehicles networks:
- Intra-Vehicle: a vehicle’s internal networks that monitor performance across different parts of the machine.
- Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V): connections between different vehicles to exchange relevant operational information.
- Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I): networks between vehicles and roadside units (RSUs).
- Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P): this type of network connects pedestrians to mobility systems to aware them as well as other drivers of potential hazards and share other valuable information.
- Vehicle to Road (V2R): these networks complement V2V and V2I networks to make them more reliable and safe.
- Vehicle to Cloud (V2C): information exchanges between vehicles and servers through the Internet.
The Challenges of the Internet of Vehicles
The Internet of Vehicles has seen important advances in recent years. However, in order for this technology to become a reality and for connected vehicles to hit the streets, there are various challenges that need to be addressed. Below are some of the major challenges associated with smart vehicles that may impact the future of mobility.
In order for smart vehicles to work properly, IoV networks need to reduce latency and minimize the risk of failures. Although cloud computing is becoming better and more powerful thanks to 5G technologies, it sometimes isn’t enough. Smart vehicles need to make decisions in the fastest possible way, and the best way to do so is through the use of edge computing.
Rather than sending information back and forth through the cloud, smart vehicles need to be able to process information in situ. This means that vehicles and other mobility-related devices need to have sufficient processing power to process sensor data and complete the required tasks directly in the IoV network.
The automotive industry will face some important challenges before IoV becomes a reality. Although some companies like Tesla are surging, others are going through a rough ride. In many parts of the world, car sales are either stuck or going down. Additionally, many automotive companies are facing the challenge of designing more efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles. These burdens make it difficult for the traditional automotive industry to innovate when it comes to IoV. On the bright side, this opens up the possibility for many new competitors that have an innovative value proposition.
Guaranteeing IoV users a secure experience is a must if the technology wants to go mainstream. To do so, certain conditions must be met. For a start, smart vehicles need to have secure and quality assured software integrated into them; failing to do so can put passengers at risk. Also, smart vehicles need to develop the best Machine Learning algorithms and DevOps best practices in order to make sure that IoV networks work properly.
Although cars have become more and more digital, we sometimes tend to forget that they still depend on a number of mechanical pieces. Nonetheless, automotive digitalization is inevitable and already moving at a fast pace. With time, vehicles will tend more towards digital. As of today, however, there are many technological advancements that need to take place.
Connected vehicles and IoV networks are only as good as the sensor data they use. With better and more powerful sensors, smart vehicles can make better use of vehicular ad hoc networks. This applies not only to sensors installed directly on vehicles but also to other important elements of the mobility system like roadside units and even the mobile devices pedestrians are carrying. For this last aspect, mobile apps will play an important role in helping connected vehicles detect pedestrians through sensor data on their smart devices, potentially helping to reduce or even prevent accidents.
Self Driving Cars
This is an industry research area that generates a lot of attention. Although companies like Google have been experimenting with this for a while, the technology does not yet seem to be mature. Luckily, powerful Machine Learning frameworks for self-driving cars are becoming better and better, so we might see important developments on this front in coming years.
Let’s face it, smart cars sound great, but if they can’t address pollution control problems then they probably shouldn’t be called smart. Electric vehicles (EVs) can help reduce emissions, but smart cars can also contribute to this task by optimizing trips to consume less fuel and by facilitating car sharing. This will require lots of big data as well as publicly available information that can be used for everyone’s best interests.
The challenges associated with the IoV network architecture are not only related to devices and software. These networks also require that governments, town halls, and the automotive industry agree on the standards that will be implemented so that smart vehicles can function properly. Failing to do so will flood the market with different standards, affecting users in the end.
The future of mobility is still an industry research area that needs to mature. Many important advances have been achieved in recent years regarding the Internet of Vehicles, but there is still a long road ahead before we see fully autonomous self-driving cars on the streets. That’s why it is best to see this industry as a work in progress rather than as a finished product. It requires many technological advances rather than a single breakthrough technology.
Part of the success of any IoT related project, including connected vehicles, starts with having the right technology. To get the ball rolling, you will most likely need the right technology partner by your side. At Koombea we have been helping our clients develop new technologies and innovative IoT products since 2007. Contact us for a free consultation and learn more about our services and how we can help you bring your project to life.