Transportation systems and related industries have major influence on everyday life. Simply put, it is a form of communication or specialization of the communication aimed at physical entities and their static and dynamic arrangement and management. Given its strong presence, it is not surprising that it reliably reflects the measure of current technical and technology competency, capacity and achieved progress. Constrained by the nature, people rely on the transportation heavily. This is why it earns so much effort in research and development as well as capital. Both industry and individuals are interested in advancing the means and modes of transportation for different, yet related, set of reasons.
Illustration 1: Transportation
As science provides breakthroughs in different areas of research, engineering and the industry pick up and try to employ developed models to manufacture and deploy them in form of products and services. Power train components, including internal combustion engines and transmission systems sparked the development of modern vehicles. Subsequently, attention was focused on vehicle driving characteristics, safety and usability aspects, economy and aesthetics. With development of electronic devices, automotive industry started using them in various systems. Internal interconnected network systems were introduced and most popular ones are actively developed and extended. CAN Bus and OBD standards are leaning toward the core of this developments. Latest advances follow emergence and progress of the internet and applications available on the internet such as web and mobile oriented services, aiming to include vehicles into ever growing internet ecosystem.
Internet of Things is well established idea of all encompassing interconnection of all kinds of objects and entities into world wide information network. Automotive industry features Connected Car paradigm as a way of following this trend. In essence it tries to serve some of the essential needs identified by analyzing vehicle use patterns. It concerned with providing information regarding safety, driver assistance and passenger entertainment. All these will be valuable support for anticipated arrival of autonomous vehicles, but they will continue to provide service for non-autonomous ones during their lifetime.
Illustration 2: Internet of Things
Network connected systems present extremely active area of research for some time and at present day. Exploration of infrastructure potential, protocols of communication, reliability, robustness, availability and many other essential properties of production ready systems is ongoing and the new results and conclusions are published in such a volume, it is hard to identify most promising developments. Dynamics of the IT industry itself just adds to this uncertainty. However, based on the experience drawn from the relevant successful products and companies, well founded solution which becomes open in order to enables widest possible audience and live community will ensure winning position in the Connected Car market.
Consumer interest for the offered value will be driving presence of the connected car solutions, which still doesn’t seem to be the case. Worthy product will have to present user with intuitive and easy to use, appealing interfaces to promote adoption by the users. One distinct feature, which separates automotive applications interacting with the vehicles in the real time from the rest of the Internet of Things in the consumer electronics domain, is a ability to establish sense of reliability. No one wants product which fails to perform while it interacts with a vehicle. Application ecosystem backed by reliable delivery process proved itself to be crucial for similar platforms such as mobile, only this time it must be taken a notch further. In addition to the mobile solutions present on the market, automotive applications will need to add level of authorization and security, introduce fail safe mechanisms and ensure expected operation of a vehicle once they fail. These feature might become part of the standard infrastructure in a vehicle, but until then, faster pace running development will need to accommodate these expectations.
Platforms that successfully implement essential features will have an opportunity to dramatically improve quality of transportation and traffic. Safety, economy and comfort are only most fundamental aspects that will benefit from the developments. There are obvious health and ecology benefits from exhaust pollution reduction, upkeep waste reduction and noise reduction. Incident anticipation, real time traffic routing, emergency assistance are some of the obvious applications on top of the service infrastructure.
Enabling creative ideas to be expressed in automotive domain is the next big step. We will keep following the developments in anticipation of the Connected Car era.