Internet of Things (IoT) and Cars
Once upon a time, connecting to the internet wasn’t so easy, certainly not as easy as it is today.
It used to be that if somebody wanted to connect to the internet, they needed to use their computer terminal connected to a phone line to dial into the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and then use it in a pay-as-you-go manner; paying based on how long you were actually on the internet.
In this day and age with fiber optic technology and high speed mobile internet, we no longer access the web in the same way. Now, we’re ‘always on’, meaning there is no need to connect and disconnected from the internet, as our computers and mobile devices are automatically connected at all times.
Our interactions with the internet are being taken to another level through something known as the ‘Internet of Things’.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Where we used to access the internet through computers or mobile devices, now the world is moving towards a state where all of the everyday items around us are being connected to the internet and networked with each other as well. By doing this, all of the things around us will be able to transmit and receive data and make them much more useful to us on a day-to-day basis.
By connecting all of these previously non-smart devices and allowing them to network with each other, the large volume of data collected from each of them can then be analyzed to produce useful insight into how they operate and how they are used. With better understanding comes better innovation into the many products that we depend on in our lives!
How this relates to cars
Imagine as an example, if the car you drove had sensors everywhere from its tires to its engine and even its air conditioning system, and all of them were constantly collecting data and transmitting it directly to the internet and to you. With everything connected to sensors and the internet, you as a car owner and driver will gain access to information never available before!
As a car owner, having access to these key pieces of data could benefit you directly, such as by being used to warn you when something isn’t working properly. For instance, imagine if you could constantly monitor your car’s battery life. Instead of waiting for a specific date or waiting to see when the car can’t start, you’ll be able to change the battery in a timely manner so that your driving isn’t disrupted. Perhaps, if there was another component in the car that was on the verge of breaking down you’d be able to know about it in advance, enabling you to take your car to the nearest workshop to get it sorted out.
Furthermore, as your car and everyday items become a part of the IoT, this also changes how your vehicle interacts with everything it travels past, such as roads, streetlights, parking bays and more! As one simple example you can imagine for the near future, it is very possible that IoT-enabled parking lots would be able to keep you informed of where parking may be available, by providing that information through the internet and straight to your IoT-enabled car. Another example that some sources have suggested is having IoT-enabled street lights that could actually detect when an accident has occurred on the road below, and automatically notifies the authorities.
How this benefits the automotive industry
These technologies aren’t just great for individual car owners, they’re great for the industry as a whole. With data that is constantly gathered and analytics that is produced from that data, car manufacturers can analyse all that information to understand how their products can be improved upon. For example, component failures or even accidents would provide a lot of data that can be used by manufacturers to improve on efficiency, design, and even safety just to name a few.
Having sensors that feed directly into the internet from each of the cars they produce is surely a much more efficient way of gathering feedback than it is for them to survey their customers using traditional methods.
The faster the industry as a whole is able to gather feedback, the faster they are able to design improvements upon existing vehicles, and the sooner they can roll out those improvements. In the end, car manufacturers become much more efficient and the customers are the ones who benefit the most in the end.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of many great technological shifts taking place in our world today. While this remains intimidating to many, the most important thing to do is to educate ourselves on what it actually is, and how it’ll impact our lives.