The number of vehicles with various levels of autonomy will grow to a total of 76 million sold by 2035, according to IHS Automotive. From simple car maintenance text alerts to 100% driverless vehicles, the Internet of Things (IoT) will forever change how we get from A to B. Here are five thoughts on IoT and autonomous transportation:
1) Connected cars are waiting for connected "things"
Gone are the days of waiting for cars to drive themselves. They’re here. Volvo, Tesla and BMW are investing heavily in the space. On the tech supplier side, NVIDIA claims its supercomputer for autonomous transportation can process up to 30 trillion deep learning operations a second while drawing just 30 watts of power. It’s also said that just one autonomous car will be equipped to use 4,000 GB of data in a day.
In IoT terms, connected cars need other “things” to catch up and share real-time data to optimize the driving experience—for example, connected roads, traffic lights and parking spaces. Perhaps more enticing for some drivers are other IoT-enabled indulgences; imagine your car sensing your favorite coffee or sandwich shop en route and then placing your order and transacting the payment for you. All you have to do is pick it up and enjoy.
2) What's under the hood is a secret
As companies race to bring autonomous transportation to market, the system architecture used is often proprietary. Therefore, many components used in today’s developmental stage are undisclosed and can vary from vehicle to vehicle.
Sensors, for example, may rely primarily on cameras in one vehicle, where GPS receivers and laser scanners are added to the mix in another. Experts agree that, despite disparate components and architecture, sensor algorithms must be perfected in three key areas: vehicle control, path planning and scene recognition.
3) It may be illegal for you to drive a car in your lifetime
Nearly 1.3 million lives are lost in car accidents worldwide each year. That’s more than 3,000 deaths a day. Will we one day see a law passed deeming human driving illegal?
IoT makes it possible for autonomous vehicles to avoid dangers that humans can’t. Since computers can process data faster and more effectively than humans, they can sense and anticipate accidents before they occur. This enables them to brake quicker, swerve faster and reach destinations safely. Also, driverless vehicles don’t text friends, have road rage, fall asleep at the wheel or drive drunk.
4) Autonomous tech pioneers may be the new oil tycoons
Are Tesla and its founder Elon Musk the new Standard Oil and John D. Rockefeller? Much like the U.S. oil boom in the early 20th century, everyone wants a piece of the autonomous tech pie. However, not every vehicle manufacturer or supplier has the technology, capital and R&D resources to compete with the major players such as Tesla, Google and Uber. There are also surprise partners that weren’t considered part of the space just a few short years ago, like NVIDIA and Bosch.
Will the autonomous movement result in a dramatic reduction in the number of car manufacturers and suppliers? History note: When one of the greatest oil strikes in history occurred in Texas in 1901, more than 1,500 oil companies popped up to cash in. Fewer than 12 of them survived.
5) You'll be traveling in low pressure tubes—at airplane speed
Of course, cars aren’t the only forms of transportation that are connected. Combining IoT, artificial intelligence, cloud, augmented reality/virtual reality and more, proponents of “hyperloop” transportation claim passengers will travel in tubes on magnetically levitating pods—at 700 mph. With custom electric motors to accelerate and decelerate pods through low-pressure tubes, passengers will purportedly glide silently for miles with no turbulence.
Imagine a trip between New York and Washington D.C. that only takes 20 minutes.
Learn more about IoT examples for the connected customer.