In the fast lane: How IoT turns vehicles into intelligent systems

In the fast lane: How IoT turns vehicles into intelligent systems

In our last blog text we already described how the Internet of Things (IoT) is turning all mobility into a digital experience. Vehicles are no longer just vehicles for transporting people and things from A to B - they are transforming into intelligent systems that interact with people, their environment and a digital infrastructure. IoT makes this infrastructure possible through intelligent data processing. E-mobility, autonomous driving, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, edge computing: all these technologies are already well advanced and constantly evolving. Road traffic without accidents and traffic jams, without congested city centers, without long queues at red lights: The digital change in traffic and automobiles is enabling a new age of "smart traffic".


Vehicle-2-X: Innovative communication models for intelligent vehicles

Vehicle-2-X communication refers to the communication between vehicles among themselves and between vehicles and the traffic infrastructure. Technologies based on this, such as distance control or emergency brake assistants, have been proven to prevent rear-end collisions - statistically one of the most frequent causes of accidents. Collisions when turning off or crossing the lane of oncoming traffic can also be prevented: Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) technology uses so-called Road Site Units (RSU), which are mounted along roads at signs or traffic lights. If two vehicles approach an intersection from different directions without seeing each other, they can communicate with each other via RSUs and thus avoid a collision. RSUs can also warn vehicles of danger spots such as black ice, oil slicks or road damage. 

However, V2X places significant additional demands on the communication infrastructure within a vehicle. For some time now, automobile manufacturers have therefore been focusing on establishing a modern on-board network that can be used to control all drive, comfort, safety and infotainment functions. This uniform vehicle electrical system structure works with Automotive Ethernet as the network protocol and with a central, high-performance backbone computer unit that replaces all previously used Electronic Control Units or ECUs. With this technology, the vehicle is finally transformed into a complex IoT device. At the same time, the complexity and weight of the previously common on-board network infrastructure with many plug connections etc. can be significantly reduced. 


New business fields through automotive IoT

The networking of all road users with each other and with the infrastructure opens up a whole range of additional business opportunities for the automotive sector. For example, road site units can be used to provide a wide variety of information - depending on where the driver is currently located:

  • Offers and services from the fields of gastronomy, sports, entertainment, culture

  • Car-Sharing

  • Delivery services directly to the vehicle  

A prerequisite for effective processing of these services would be fast and contactless payment, for example via payment system requirements using block chain technology: companies such as ZF, UBS and the Innogy Innovation Hub of RWE have already developed a payment system on a block chain basis under the name "Car eWallet". With this system, payments can be made automatically while driving - e.g. at toll booths, parking lots or at e-filling stations. 


Safety First: Artificial intelligence in the vehicle

The Internet of Things and artificial intelligence play a decisive role not only in the field of future automotive services. Networked vehicles and digital concepts will also raise the safety of vehicle occupants to a new level. The focus here is on advanced driver assistance systems that not only help when parking: It is about passenger and roadside detection and automatic emergency braking. Collision warning systems help drivers and notify them as soon as an obstacle is in the way. These innovative systems combine software with sensors, cameras and radars to detect objects near the vehicle.

The technical prerequisite for all these digital innovations in networked vehicles is currently being created through the establishment of 5G technology. The connection speed of this latest generation of mobile communication systems is considerably higher. It thus provides far more reliable signals than in previous networks. 5G thus also supports the implementation of traffic networking between self-propelled and other vehicles or between devices and obstacles such as traffic lights and pedestrians.

With such a powerful digital foundation, the step is not far to developments that include physical components as well as purely technical ones: Voice and image recognition systems that assess the mood of the driver and act as a safety assistant. At CES 2019, the world's largest consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas, USA, a Korean car manufacturer presented a face recognition technology that uses artificial intelligence to assess the mood of the person behind the wheel. The software developed for this purpose changes the vehicle's interior lighting, for example, if it detects signs of fatigue.

The vehicles of the future will increasingly be transformed into complex digital systems based on state-of-the-art IoT technologies and Artificial Intelligence. The focus will be on safety and comfort. And ideally, this would enable the best of all worlds to form an effective symbiosis: Fewer errors and thus less damage caused by human error at the wheel, while at the same time offering safe driving pleasure and convenient service.

veröffentlicht am : 2020-10-22 11:30