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.
What is the Internet of Vehicles (IoV)?
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.
How does IoV technology work?
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.
The benefits of the Internet of Vehicles
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.
1- 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.
2- 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.
3- 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.
4- Environmental benefits
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 Most Common Applications of the IoV
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.
– Autonomous vehicles
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.
– Tracking systems
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.