According to an estimate, the current Autonomous Car industry has a market cap of roughly $400 Billion. Moreover, it is expected to double within the next 5 years. When you think about a Smart City, what elements do come into your mind first? Smart home, smart appliances, smart schools, smart hospitals. But there is something you are missing – mobility.
Autonomous mobility technology covers a vast number of areas, starting from traffic management, urban planning, infrastructure development, IoT application, and big data.
Car Mobility, and Smart Cities of the Future
If you look at the top metropolitan cities around the world, you will get to see how traffic adversely affects the day-to-day life of citizens. Starting from Tokyo, Dublin, Mexico DF, São Paulo, Bangkok, to Edinburgh, Vancouver, Berlin, and Hong Kong, traffic congestion is a major issue in all these cities.
One of the underlying problems smart cities will have to solve is mobility. It will not only reduce traffic congestion, but also use cars for sensing, and communicating throughout all the major networks.
Types of Connected Cars and Trends
When it comes to smart cars, we cannot rely on the old oil-powered ones that pollute the environment. Rather, Electric Vehicles are at the forefront of this automobile revolution. The biggest advantage of Electric Vehicles, or EVs, is that drivers can plug their cars in anywhere to an off-the-board electric source.
This is the main difference between an Electric Vehicle and a Hybrid Electric Vehicle, which uses an internal combustion engine with battery power.
All Electric Vehicles or AEVs can be charged from an electric grid. They also can generate electricity every time the driver steps on the brakes of the car.
According to a report, currently, the global market for Autonomous Vehicles is around $27 Billion, Singapore is most well equipped for autonomous cars, and lastly, by 2030, around 58 million cars will be sold by 2030. The statistics say it all. The advancements in autonomous mobility technology are moving at a fast pace.
Automobile companies with the greatest number of patents in the autonomous driving industry include- Baidu, LG Electronics, GM, Alphabet, Honda Motor, Uber, VW Group, Ford, Bosch, Tesla, and Toyota Group.
Connected Cars are undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of the Internet of Things (IoT). According to a report by Analysts, by 2023, the worldwide sales of Connected Cars will exceed 76 million. The report also highlighted the fact that by the same year almost 70% of all new cars shipped to customers will come with built-in connectivity.
But there is one variation of Connected Cars that does not come with built-in connectivity. A great example of this is the Movistar Car Service in Spain from Telefónica. This service was launched back in 2019, and anyone could sign-up for it.
The Movistar Car Services offered a 4G Wi-Fi network for the car. As it turns any car into a Connected Car, it drastically improves the overall driving experience. Furthermore, as many as 5 devices could connect to the network simultaneously. Along with real-time navigation, and maintenance schedule alerts, this Connected Car service could record the driving history.
Connected Mobility Technology for Autonomous Navigation
Imagine you are visiting a new city. You do not have any friends there. Given the situation, you will naturally feel intimidated to travel alone around the city. But when you have the right, and real-time navigation, and GPS data, you will be more comfortable roaming around the city all on your own.
The ultimate objective is to develop completely autonomous cars that can successfully navigate through known, or unknown places. These cars can also successfully navigate through pre-programmed coordinates all by themselves, without any human intervention.
Every autonomous vehicle currently uses the following hardware – a GPS receiver, a computer, and a compass.
Another problem with Autonomous Navigation is, if the connection is lost with the GPS or GNSS, the vehicle will stop driving. Imagine this happening when you are riding through a congested highway. To ensure this does not happen, Autonomous Cars usually are connected to multiple navigation satellite constellations ranging from multiple frequencies in real-time.
Enhancing the Driving Experience
The future of connected mobility technology will curate information such as vacant parking space, nearest gas station, and the shortest route for a particular trip in real-time. The cars of the future will have certain technologies for video conferencing, live video/music streaming, among others. Also, individuals can activate certain features by face recognition, as well as voice commands.
To ensure a complete autonomous car experience, many of these vehicles have reduced their error range down to only 10 centimeters. This figure is a great milestone in the Autonomous Vehicle sector.
Another great achievement in the Autonomous Vehicle industry is that the energy requirement has decreased over the years. Currently, an autonomous car requires only 100W of power on average.
Most Autonomous Cars come with a large touchscreen dashboard. This dashboard displays information such as rate of acceleration, over-revving, hard braking, the current speed of the car, anti-theft alarm, check fuel levels, car health status, and so on.
Wireless Connectivity For Remote Access
Wireless Connectivity in autonomous cars has many applications. Starting from vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), vehicle to pedestrian communication (V2P), vehicle to network communication (V2N), and finally vehicle to surrounding infrastructure communication (V2I).
Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication will play an important role in determining the traffic congestion in any given area. Using 5G, and C-V2X technology, vehicles can communicate with other vehicles in the same area about which routes they are taking.
When every vehicle inside a given vicinity is connected to the broader network and is communicating about its location, and preferred route at all times with other vehicles, other cars can predict with utmost accuracy about the traffic congestion near their area and thus pick the optimal route.
Future Cars will not only be autonomous but will also feature many advanced connectivity features. Riders will have a fast internet connection.
To have a smart autonomous vehicle, you need to give it many sensors. The sensors are the eyes of smart cars. The sensors help the vehicle capture video of its surroundings, and only after the vehicle has processed the video feed, it will decide what to do. In the future, autonomous cars will need video cameras for both long, and short-range coverage.
Presently, almost all autonomous cars come with 360° viewing. Also, as most of them come with CMOS image sensors, autonomous cars can accurately pick up objects around them.
Lidar technology on the Smart Cars helps create a 3D map of the proximities. It helps the autonomous cars map out the surroundings, locate the pedestrians, and other cars around them, determine the depth, shape, and distance of the objects, and lastly create a detailed map of the area.
All major cities around the world are embracing autonomous driving technologies. For instance, New York just installed cameras and sensors in more than 10,000 intersections around the city. On the other hand, we have London, which is all set for deploying 5G for its smart mobility technology infrastructure.