The connected car market is booming. According to Visiongain's senior analyst, it is expected to reach $42.99 billion in 2019. At the heart of this explosive growth, mobile connectivity is the key driver for all connected vehicles, cars, and other means of transportation.
Connected car features
The benefits of the connected car fall essentially into two categories: safety and convenience.
The inclusion of sensors and cameras both inside and outside the vehicle have enable several safety features to be incorporated in passenger cars such as blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, and emergency braking.
These are examples of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication between the different on-board electronic systems.
To enhance the driving experience, the latest cars incorporate precise GPS navigation systems, access to streaming music services, and remote vehicle diagnostics.
To deliver these convenience features; however, wireless connectivity is required — either tethered, meaning the car uses the smartphone’s LTE connection; or embedded, meaning a LTE SIM card is inserted into the vehicle itself and does not require a smartphone. A third alternative is available from some telecommunications services providers in the form of a module that plugs into the vehicle’s diagnostic port (called OBD-II). Embedded systems with SIM cards require a monthly data subscription.
The next generation of connected vehicles
The existing advanced driver assistance systems can only react to conditions around the vehicle. The next generation of connected cars will rely on M2M to expand vehicle awareness to a much larger geographical area using vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology. V2X allows the vehicle to communicate with other vehicles — V2V “vehicle-to-vehicle” — or with fixed infrastructure — V2I “vehicle-to-infrastructure.”
V2V enables awareness of other vehicles not just in terms of their relative location to each other but also their behavior. For instance, a car that brakes suddenly some distance ahead will send the information to the cars following avoiding potential collisions.
V2I allows vehicles to communicate with road infrastructure — traffic lights, roadside signage, and traffic management centers — resulting in more efficient route planning since traffic affected by a road closure or accident can be avoided and fuel economy will benefit due to shorter duration idle times.
V2X and rail
Highway-rail grade crossings are a significant safety concern around the world and recent research shows that by establishing communication between trains and road vehicles, the safety of these intersections would increase and the risk of collision reduced.
To reduce the frequency and severity of accidents, the research project leverages both V2I and V2V. Through the use of in-car audible visual warnings, V2I reminds drivers of the presence of a level crossing, while the V2V warns of the approaching train.
Other advantages for rail
Rail transport is already using emerging technologies to increase the safety of its rolling stock, improve customer experience, and optimize operational performance.
Local and remote condition monitoring is enhanced by internet-of-things (IoT) sensors and leveraging big data and analytics to predict failure and prevent breakdowns.
For example, cameras and artificial intelligence back-end tools can detect excessive brake wear and electromagnetic sensors on railway tracks are able to detect flaws in the metal well before they reach failure level.
This information drives more cost-efficient preventive maintenance programs to reduce mean-time-to-repair (MTTR).
Travelers also benefit from connected rail technology: better itinerary information using automated vehicle location, electronic ticketing, wi-fi, and in-car entertainment.
Need for 5G speed
To be effective, V2X communication must be real-time. With traditional 4G/LTE, tests on a German highway reported end-to-end latencies ranging from 100 milliseconds to a few seconds. Adding distributed mobile edge computing to the existing base stations significantly improved latency with results of less than 20 milliseconds. Nevertheless, even latency of less than 20 milliseconds is not fast enough for V2X, particularly in the case for the next generation of autonomous vehicles.
According to Nokia’s Jane Rygaard: "We need to look at how long it takes for the message to be transmitted between sensors and then get to the computer in each car, and then how long it takes for the computer to make a decision, and all of this has to be in less time than a human would take to make a decision — 2 milliseconds."
The 5G network will deliver latencies of less than 2 milliseconds and will accommodate the exponential growth in the number of connected IoT devices. Edge computing, on the other hand, will process a large amount of data closest to the source, ie at 5G antennas.
The combination of these two technologies will allow connected vehicles to enjoy all the benefits of V2X. They will also contribute to improving traveler safety and drive operational efficiencies in the near and distant future.
The automotive sector is constantly innovating. Between today's vehicles, next-generation connected cars and autonomous versions that will certainly be part of the landscape in the next few years, car manufacturers still have several challenges to overcome.
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