The Internet of Things is rapidly growing—both in scope and size. From smartphones and watches to home management systems, vehicles, and whole infrastructures; manufacturers have expanded and enhanced the communication and interconnectivity of various pieces of technology. Experts estimate the overall number of connected devices to reach 41 billion by 2027.
Smart cars represent a large portion of the IoT market. Together with smart lights, sensors, and other pieces of intelligent transportation systems, they form the Internet of Vehicles (IoV).
As cities grow more inclusive towards smart vehicles, IoV helps shape the infrastructure that will allow automated cars to become fully autonomous in the not too distant future.
Read on to learn how connected vehicles work, what challenges the industry faces, and what impacts the advances in this area can have on the world and your business.
The Internet of Vehicles combines hardware pieces and various networks that allow cars, pedestrians, and various units on the road to exchange information in real time. As most emerging technologies for connected and smart vehicles do, IoV originates from the older Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANETs). In general, a conventional VANET aims to enable cars to form spontaneous wireless connections with other vehicles and devices.
All smart cars in IoV must have a reliable connection to the local infrastructure, other vehicles, and humans nearby. The following pieces of the Internet of Vehicles are necessary to ensure the smooth and safe functioning of the system:
- hardware bits, such as sensors, smart parking lots, and road lanes equipped with devices for connectivity, smart traffic lights, wearables for humans, and the hardware inside each vehicle;
- software – object recognition systems, mobile applications for pedestrians, and other services required to connect the hardware pieces;
- networking technologies – 5G, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and others to create vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-human (V2H), and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) channels of connection;
- third-party and additional services – GPS, analytics, apps to monitor the weather, road condition, and other services based on the person’s location.
The main goal of the IoV is to make both transportation and the vehicle maintenance process more efficient, safe, and inclusive.
The main working principle of IoV technology is creating the Social Internet of Vehicles (SIoV) with smart cars and infrastructure units as participants. To achieve that, manufacturers install the hardware and software necessary for the internet and other kinds of local connections in each vehicle. Most of the crucial systems are in-built, while many others (primarily, user-oriented and additional rather than central in functionality) can be plugged into the on-board diagnostics (OBD) port and used as necessary.
Constant communication is vital for a proper functioning of the whole smart city infrastructure.
There are five main types of connection required within the IoV infrastructure: vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-human (V2H), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-roadside unit (V2R), and vehicle-to-sensors (V2S).
For V2V and V2R communication, connected vehicles use IEEE Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE). V2I pairs rely mainly on Wi-Fi and 4G/5G, V2S on MOST/Wi-Fi, and V2H on CarPlay, Near Field Communications (NFC), and Bluetooth.
Now let’s take a more in-depth look at what layers compose the IoV architecture.
The architecture of advanced connected vehicles normally has the following five layers:
This layer consists of various sensors and actuators included in vehicles, wearables and smartphones, roadside units (RSUs), and other elements of the intelligent infrastructure.
One of the critical elements of this layer is the global ID (GID) terminal that provides the vehicle with a recognizable ID and handles radio-frequency identification (RFID) operations.
In all of Eastern Peak’s IoV projects, the big data aggregated by this layer plays a crucial role in making the system functional. Overall, the vehicle IoT sensors are responsible for determining cars’ positions, driving patterns, the surrounding infrastructure units, and events. They also conduct the digitization of information for further processing.
The Internet of cars relies heavily on its network layer. It consists of a module to coordinate the heterogeneous networks that connect different parts of the intelligent infrastructure and ensure the possibility of autonomous data exchanges.
The networks that smart cars use for communication include WAVE, 4G and 5G, Wi-Fi, WLAN, Bluetooth, and satellite networks.
These networks distribute the data obtained by the perception layer to the artificial intelligence layer.
3. Artificial intelligence
This layer of the IoV architecture uses machine learning models to analyze the gathered data and decide what action is required at any given moment. It includes software for big data analysis, specialized systems (i.e. computer vision applications in driverless cars to recognize objects on the road), and cloud computing modules.
The A.I. layer has an internal cloud infrastructure and requires smooth connection both with the processing services and the previously discussed low-level parts of the system.
The application layer provides the commercialization of the IoV technology. It utilizes the results provided by the A.I. layer to supply end-users with smart services, such as driving assistance and traffic safety apps, multimedia viewing services, remote car control, and others.
The fourth layer also gathers user data and sends it to the business layer for processing.
Read also: Connected Cars. Top 5 Automotive Apps and How to Develop One
The final layer of the architecture is responsible for sending insights into the customer experience back to the development company. It contains a set of tools to generate business predictions, suggest future strategies, and help the company make decisions regarding resource use and investment.
Understanding the working principles of intelligent transportation can help see how this field is an advancing technology in general. Now let’s take a look at what connected vehicles mean for cities and commuters.
Increased safety of transportation
One of the largest improvements IoV can offer is providing a much more accurate and rapid assessment of any situation on the road. A report from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that almost 94% of road accidents occur due to human error. Some of them are virtually impossible to eliminate.
Autonomous vehicles that operate within a suitable infrastructure significantly increase the safety of transportation. This is mainly ensured by the sensors and software that process car speeds, the temperature of the road, and the number of cars at any intersection.
In addition to removing human error, these systems can also monitor the condition of the various mechanical parts of the smart car and alert drivers of any potential malfunctions before accidents can occur.
Faster travel and convenience
The internet of connected vehicles makes transit faster and improves user experience dramatically. A smart transportation infrastructure mainly helps achieve the following:
- Decreased congestion on the roads. Real-time traffic monitoring and autonomous technology coupled together help optimize the routes and speeds of moving vehicles to prevent traffic jams.
- Optimized routes. Mobile apps that receive real-time data from each user’s location can suggest what public transport to take to cut the travel time down.
- Better parking. Eastern Peak experts believe that for IoV clients, smart parking is one of the most desired features of the infrastructure. Beacons installed at parking spaces can lead drivers to vacant spots, while completely autonomous vehicles can park efficiently without any human intervention.
- Remote car management. Smart cars that are visible on the network allow drivers to find their vehicles faster in a crowded parking lot, lock doors remotely, get any information about the condition of the car quickly, and track the car if someone steals it.
An example from our experience:
Cobra Connect is an IoV project that we did to bring ease of use and vehicle safety both to businesses and end-users.
Companies that operate a large number of vehicles (i.e. car renting businesses) struggle with knowing where each car is at any given moment. On their end, drivers can forget where they parked, lose the keys, and have few reliable channels to call for help in case of an accident. To help solve these problems, we have developed a comprehensive system that enables vehicle tracking, remote access, and autonomous emergency reports.
Cobra comes in just three main pieces: a box with an alarm system and internet connectivity to install in a car, a mobile application for users, and a control console for companies.
Drivers can use the application to open and close car doors, engage the alarm, disarm the alarm using a code or their fingerprint, get reports for each trip that includes the duration, distance, and speed, locate the car on the map, turn the emergency lights on or off, and get notifications about the status of the car and its components.
Companies can view real-time car location and speed, control the car remotely if necessary, and get immediate notifications in cases of alarms, accidents, or other emergencies.
Decreased energy consumption and operating costs
Smart transportation can also optimize the use of fuel, electricity, and human resources. For instance, conventional traffic lights work on timers, using more electricity and providing less efficiency than smart lights that adjust to the situation on the road.
Better performance and resource allocation that connected vehicle technology ensures will also reduce the operating costs.
By optimizing the functioning of the transportation system, IoV technology can also have several incredibly beneficial impacts on the environment. Cities will see the largest influence on the reduction of CO2 emissions and the promotion of a more sustainable energy future.
Connected vehicles will cut down greenhouse gas emissions by operating more efficiently. Also, carsharing and the use of public transport are likely to increase once they become as comfortable and fast as using a private car. This will reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, further toning down the harmful environmental impacts.
Autonomous vehicles will also mainly be electric. By installing solar panels at recharging stations, cities will be able to significantly reduce their fuel and electricity consumption.
The rapid evolution of the Internet of Vehicles is breaking down many barriers on the path to building smart cities, but several significant challenges still remain.
In our experience, ensuring security for an IoT system is the most vital and difficult part of the development process. When it comes to security for connected vehicles, issues that arise remain the primary challenges the industry faces.
IoV is a network that’s meant to be accessed by numerous devices, and hence it integrates different technologies, standards, and services. This makes such systems vulnerable to DDoS attacks and other types of malicious interference.
Since in IoV, such parts of the vehicle as GPS, cameras, proximity sensors, brakes, alarms, beacons, the steering wheel, and the accelerator can be accessed remotely, successful attacks can lead to fatalities.
Long product lifecycle
Among all the connected vehicles challenges, the time it takes to build and release a connected car is an incredibly inhibiting factor to manufacturers. Although this time will decrease as IoV technology advances, it will still take months to introduce each new smart car to the market.
This long production cycle of connected vehicles might prevent manufacturers from following development trends closely and delivering relevant updates in time.
For the Internet of Things with autonomous vehicles, having a stable connection is essential, and network bottlenecks, DoS attacks, and malfunctions in communications can all significantly damage the workings of the infrastructure. Manufacturers must battle mobility issues and make sure all nodes will be able to transmit and receive information regardless of all cars’ speeds and locations.
Reliability can also suffer if any piece of hardware is compromised or unresponsive.
Huge amounts of information to process
Big data is a perk when it comes to IoV technology, but providers face significant challenges in managing the constant data flow. Connected vehicles process approximately 1 GB of data each second, and this number is likely to increase as more pieces of infrastructure go online and require connectivity. Insufficient storage or network delays can hinder cloud computing and damage the system.
Our experience working with clients from a wide variety of industries has demonstrated that there are virtually no limits to the applications of IoT in different fields. Smart cities and connected vehicles, in particular, can significantly improve the quality of transportation services in the following ways.
Driverless connected cars enable much safer and faster travel. They reduce the operating costs for the city, make transportation more sustainable, and exert a positive impact on the environment by promoting carsharing and reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases.
The connected car technology allows drivers and authorities to track vehicles that are present on the network. This can be particularly helpful to quickly find your car in the parking lot or track a stolen vehicle.
Traffic and parking management
The Internet of Vehicles (IoV) for traffic management can manifest in the following several ways:
- smart traffic lights that analyze the current situation on the road to optimize traffic flow;
- adaptable lighting systems that take weather conditions into account;
- parking spaces equipped with sensors and beacons to guide drivers to vacant spots;
- real-time information from CCTV cameras to help drivers that got into an accident by automatically alerting rescue services.
Finally, IoV technology will redefine the expectations that drivers and commuters currently have when it comes to entertainment in the car. As cities become more prepared to integrate fully autonomous cars, the available entertainment options for commuters will expand since people won’t have to pay attention to the road anymore.
Leveraging smart cars technology is a sound and future-oriented decision in the upcoming 2021. The Internet of Vehicles (IoV) development is only projected to grow as the urban infrastructure becomes more intelligent, autonomous, and connected. With safe and fast transit, lower transportation costs for commuters, decreased operating expenses for cities, and significant environmental benefits, the IoV field offers numerous possibilities to businesses.
If you are interested in learning more about IoT solutions for vehicles, don’t hesitate to contact us and book a free consultation today.