Automotive IoT: applications, real-life examples & technologies
December 12, 2023
The state of the automotive IoT market
The automotive IoT market is set to experience significant growth due to the increasing demand for electric vehicles and in-car infotainment experience, the upsurge of smart cities, and various governments calling for road safety solutions.
The value of the global IoT-enabled automotive sector in 2023
Markets and Markets
The expected global automotive IoT market value in 2030 with a CAGR of 25.13%
IoT in the automotive industry: 8 use cases
Here is how various automotive industry players, from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and car manufacturers to shipping companies and regular drivers, make use of IoT technology.
Automotive IoT is an essential part of connected car technology enabling vehicles to interact with external objects and road users like other vehicles, people, or road infrastructure, and ensure greater road safety and traffic efficiency. There are several communication pattern types in connected cars:
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) connection
ensures real-time data exchange between cars on the road. Vehicles share information about their location and speed, which helps regular drivers prevent accidents and emergency vehicles move freer in traffic jams.
Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) connection
implies the communication between a vehicle and pedestrians or cyclists nearby to prevent collisions on the road.
Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication
enables data exchange between vehicles and roadway infrastructure elements, such as cameras, overhead RFID readers, traffic lights, road signs, streetlights, and parking meters, using vehicle-to-network (V2N) cellular connection. The data received from the vehicles can be used to set speed limits or adjust traffic signal timing for better road efficiency. And vice versa, infrastructure data can provide drivers with information on road conditions, accidents, traffic jams, and available parking lots nearby.
Vehicle-to-Everything (V2E) communication
allows cars to communicate with everything that can affect the vehicle while driving, i.e., the driver, pedestrians, road infrastructure, and cellular network. In other words, V2E connection encompasses all types of connected cars’ communication patterns: V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure), V2N (vehicle-to-network), V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle), and V2P (vehicle-to-pedestrian).
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Real-life examples of automotive IoT
Many renowned car manufacturers are already reaping the benefits of IoT-connected solutions. Here are the six most prominent real-life examples of IoT usage in the automobile industry.
Waymo self-driving cars
Waymo offers the world’s first self-driving taxi without a backup driver in the front seat. In 2020, the Waymo One service became available to the public in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, and in 2022, the taxi was launched in San Francisco. During the trip, taxi passengers can enjoy more privacy, listen to their preferred music, and set a comfortable indoor temperature. Autonomous driving technology is powered by LiDAR, cameras, radar sensors, as well as AI and ML algorithms.
The architecture of autonomous vehicles
The high-level architecture of self-driving cars comprises a range of hardware and software components.
Scheme title: Self-driving cars high-level software architecture
Data source: coursera.org — Introduction to Self-Driving Cars. University of Toronto
The vehicle communicates with the environment around it using a variety of sensors of different natures and purposes. Commonly used sensors include ultrasonic sensors, radars, LiDARs, cameras, infrared sensors, GPS, and odometry sensors.
Technologies complementing IoT in the automotive industry
To create cars of the future, the automotive industry’s vigorous growth pairs IoT with other innovative technologies.
Analyzing large data sets in real-time and uncovering hidden insights, AI algorithms play a crucial role in car predictive maintenance, remote vehicle diagnostics, fleet management, and driver behavior analytics.
Computer vision helps a vehicle “see” the environment and objects around it by gathering and interpreting the data from sensors, LiDAR, and cameras, which makes it an essential part of autonomous vehicle technology, ADAS, and advanced driving safety.
Powerful analytics systems can analyze large data volumes and identify potential equipment faults in advance, streamlining the supply chain and quality management. Advanced analytics is also applied for customer behavior analysis, experience improvement, and effective marketing planning.
While basic safety operations like emergency braking or airbag activation are processed by the onboard computer, many functions are performed in the cloud. Over-the-air updates are delivered from the cloud database and downloaded via Wi-FI, and some navigation systems function better in the cloud.
Benefits of automotive IoT
IoT-powered vehicles can contribute to greater road, driver, and pedestrian safety due to real-time analysis of data from multiple sensors. With IoT in place, the driver is always aware of their car's condition and can avoid breakdowns on the road or malfunction-related accidents. In addition, the car system can alert the driver on approaching pedestrians and cyclists or even initiate emergency braking.
Optimized car manufacturing
IoT technology enables a high level of automation and predictive maintenance during the car manufacturing process, thus eliminating the likelihood of human errors. Moreover, drawing on IoT-generated data after the vehicle’s sale, car producers can remind the customers when it’s time for servicing. They can also leverage this data to tailor future vehicles according to consumer needs and gain a competitive advantage.
By optimizing the car manufacturing process with the Internet of Things, the automotive industry can help reduce emissions and air pollution. The IoT technology in connected cars can optimize individual fuel consumption and energy usage levels. In addition, IoT-based data helps reduce traffic congestion, allowing drivers to maintain optimal speed without unnecessary acceleration or stops.
Personalized user experience
IoT-enabled connected cars offer a more customized experience to their owners through personalized in-vehicle infotainment systems, car settings (like music choice, temperature, and seat position) automatically adjusted to a specific driver, and the connection with smart home systems.
IoT solutions help save money for both manufacturers and drivers. Car makers can benefit from predictive maintenance of their manufacturing equipment and reduce equipment repair expenses, while drivers can reduce car breakdowns. Finally, by opting for IoT-powered vehicles, car owners can reduce insurance premiums.
Better road & traffic management
City managers can leverage the data from IoT-enabled cars to detect highly congested or dangerous parts of the road and take necessary actions to adjust traffic lights timing, secure pathways, and better plan out the overall urban infrastructure.
Common challenges of using IoT in automotive
While automotive IoT technology’s adoption increases each year, car manufacturers still face certain challenges when integrating IoT solutions.
High-bandwidth connectivity is critical for cars with assisted or autonomous driving features since even an insignificant loss of connection can lead to a failure in navigation and a possible accident.
For now, the rollout of 5G is the best solution to the connectivity problem. 5G and its future successor, 6G, will be capable of ensuring fast, reliable broadband cellular connection even in rural or remote areas where, at present, network coverage may be spotty.
With more and more cars going digital, from infotainment systems to over-the-air software updates, connected vehicles are becoming information hubs, but their security is still far from flawless. By gaining unauthorized access to the sensitive data of car owners, hackers can compromise driver privacy and the safety and proper functioning of the autonomous vehicle.
First, the cybersecurity problem of connected cars should be addressed more seriously on the government level, with stronger regulations ensuring the protection of sensitive data.
Car makers, in their turn, should consider the importance of data privacy at the software design level. In addition, regular penetration testing and cybersecurity audits, as well as a robust data encryption policy, will be of much help in achieving the needed security levels.
Lack of technology uniformity
Car manufacturers rely on different communication protocols, standards, and operating systems when integrating IoT technology with their vehicles. While technology versatility may not inconvenience drivers, it still leads to compatibility issues for fleet management and different vehicle makes.
First of all, automakers should design automotive IoT systems with flexible architectures, as it will simplify their communication with various fleet management solutions. In addition, the government and automotive industry associations should consider the development of common standards for the automotive IoT industry, including regulations for unified data formats, communication protocols, and standardized security measures.
IoT management in harsh conditions
The proper functioning of IoT-enabled cars, like commercial vehicles, under extreme weather conditions or in remote rural areas tends to be disrupted by poor connectivity.
To ensure stable work of embedded IoT systems and continuous data flow in harsh conditions, we recommend minimizing the volume of transmitted data and its buffering and using a thick client that does not require a constant connection to the server.
Transform your automotive business with IoT
Automotive companies are adopting IoT technology at an astonishing pace, irreversibly transforming our driving experiences. Paired with such modern technologies as 5G, AI, cloud computing, and data analytics, automotive IoT solutions facilitate effective fleet management and car production processes and streamline the development of connected cars and fully autonomous vehicles. Despite certain security and connectivity challenges, automotive IoT applications play a vital role in making our roads safer and more comfortable. If you are interested in integrating IoT into your automotive project, consider turning to our IoT experts for a consultation.
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