Businesses and governments are starting to apply IoT to transportation problems from traffic to vehicle ownership. And rightly so—IoT is poised to reinvent transportation for smart cities and a smarter world.
Understanding the context of IoT in transportation is of great importance, but what are these technologies going to look like? Where should we expect to find them?
We’ve already started to see the incorporation of IoT in transportation. They can be as small scale as a vehicle-to-person communication (“Your Lyft is two minutes away!”) and as large scale as monitoring shipping logistics of a global company. Let’s discuss IoT applications in transportation that are revolutionizing the industry.
Maintaining vehicle health
We all know someone that owns a car and knows nothing about it. It might even be you.
It’s okay—cars are complicated pieces of machinery. There is some basic knowledge that every car owner should have (i.e. how to check tire pressure), but there are many otherworking pieces that are helpful to keep a car in tip-top condition and out of the shop. These require a more in-depth knowledge of the workings of a car and its components.
Luckily, since 1996, onboard diagnostic ports (OBDs) have been installed in cars to help manufacturers and mechanics glean information about a car’s health. Consumers have access to this information now through devices, such as Automatic’s adapter, which plugs into the OBD port to monitor engine health along with an abundance of other capabilities (like tracking your car to its parking spot.) This makes car maintenance less of a mystery and can save consumers thousands of dollars in vehicle maintenance costs.
But there’s no reason to stop there. This type of technology is very important for the businesses working in this industry. Companies with fleets of vehicles spend millions of dollars in extraneous costs when their vehicles suddenly break down in the middle of a route or in the hands of a customer. With IoT, companies can manage the performance of their fleet no matter where they are and catch issues before they occur.
Companies can also optimize other factors beyond vehicle health, such as fuel consumption and idle time. This not only helps cut costs for the businesses but also relieves drivers of monotonous (and often error-prone) tasks like manual reporting.
Let’s state the facts: no one enjoys traffic. Besides its ability to cause irritation instantly, traffic wastes millions of gallons of gas and cuts deep into otherwise productive work hours. According to Texas A&M’s 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard study, American commuters spend on average an extra 42 hours a year sitting in traffic on top of their commute. In highly congested urban areas, that number soars to over 80. IoT, including smart city IoT applications, are poised to address these pain points in transportation.
IoT has a huge opportunity to dissipate this routine (and completely avoidable!) annoyance to society. The futurists who anticipate societies with fully autonomous vehicles will be the first to tell you that self-driving cars are a huge component of the cure to traffic. When a car relies on intelligent sensors to communicate with the cars around it, the flow of traffic will be more constant rather than stop-and-go due to a few bad drivers.
Before this fully autonomous future occurs, we can use IoT to enable smarter route mapping to avoid congestion. Waze jumped onto this business opportunity years ago by allowing drivers and passengers to share information about their route with other drivers. With more sensor- and camera-enabled vehicles on the road, there is ample opportunity for businesses and transportation authorities to create systems that optimize routes in real-time without relying on input from humans.
Car manufacturers diving into IoT as well. They’re building technology into their cars to ease the stress that traffic places on drivers. Ford has a well-known technology calledTraffic Jam Assist: a mode that allows the car to match the speed of the car ahead of it in a congestion. Not only does that kind of speed matching ease drivers’ moods; it also actually smoothes out traffic flows and decreases congestion patterns. Other car makers have followed suit, demonstrating the importance of car makers’ willingness to adopt IoT-enabled technologies into their businesses proactively. – IOT For All