Business October 11, 2019 Last updated October 10th, 2019 1,274 Reads share

Smart City Challenge: How Connected Cars are Transforming the Transportation Industry

Image Credit:

In the age of digital transformation, we’re making the world around us smarter than ever. Our day-to-day lives are busy, and we’re looking for ways to simplify regular activities. That’s why we improve mobile phones, vehicles, workplaces, and homes to a point where they can perform time-consuming, repetitive tasks all by themselves.

The concept of complete connectivity and automation is championed by several businesses, but the automotive industry has likely the most potential for revolution. The electrification of vehicles and ubiquitous wireless connectivity are among the most transformative trends since the birth of the internet.

Today, autonomous vehicles and shared mobility are set to disrupt transportation. That’s all thanks to connectivity. But to make that possible, we need an advanced network.

Recently the upgrade to 5G has been among the most talked-about topics across several industries. Its worldwide implementation is expected to happen in a couple of years, while it’s already available in some regions. Such technologies are set to make driving safer finally. In fact, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Administration, 94% of severe car crashes happen because of human error. It’s a clear sign we need improvement in performing that task and what better way to receive support than virtual driving assistance, for example. 

The technological progress of today enables us to see all the advantages we could have in our cities of the future, thanks to connected vehicles and new smart infrastructure. Thanks to the advanced 5G network combined with the Internet of Things, the global market revenue of autonomous vehicles is expected to reach $556,67 billion by 2026.

The way cities manage this new transportation will also change due to citizens becoming more and more demanding. Governments and local authorities are expected to adopt innovative means of transport sooner than later. Autonomous drones that serve as air taxis are a great example of a new way to get around cities.

What Is A Connected Vehicle?

Connected vehicles are IoT enabled, which include interactive advanced driver-assistance systems (ADASs) and cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS). Their V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communications increase situation awareness and mitigate traffic accidents, which means they provide several safety applications. 

Data networks and the number of sensors and camera systems make the ADAS technology possible. They enable features such as adaptive cruise control, smartphone connectivity, alerts to hazards, automatic braking, blind-spot detection, and traffic warnings. 

The V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) communication is beneficial for mitigating traffic collisions and improving urban congestion, as it exchanges primary data such as speed, location, and direction, between vehicles. It enables safety features such as blind-spot detection and collision warning. 

All the advanced features of connected vehicles performed in smart cities will significantly improve urban transportation. They are also a fundamental component of automated driving. They allow the exchange of crucial data between vehicles and cooperate localization. This facilitates cooperative maneuvers between self-driving cars. 

IoT Connected Transport In Smart Cities

In the yearly Smart Mobility Congres, the question of future transportation and smart cities came up among industry leaders. Emerging technologies, such as big data and connected sensors, could make transportation more efficient. Connectivity is enabling these changes and allows mobile operators to provide solutions to the challenges faced by smart cities. 

Municipalities are now looking for more ways to use communication and information technologies to improve the quality of life of their citizens. 

According to the United Nations, 68% of the world population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050. That’s a 15% increase for the already crowded cities we live in today. It makes the improvement of transportation crucial. To build smart cities, authorities collaborate with mobile operators and IT companies, to get ready and make use of all the advancements the automotive industry provides.  

Vehicles Connected To Their Surroundings

Vehicles now use a wide array of technologies to exchange information and connect to their surroundings and infrastructure. They have in-car connectivity with devices present inside the same vehicle.

As we already mentioned, the car can connect to external devices, but they can also connect to services, applications, and networks. Such requests will include everything the driver needs: telematics, remote diagnostics, GPS, parking, and roadside assistance. All this enables a whole new user experience. Mercedes-Benz makes use of this technology in its new MBUX concept. It enables voice control and full connectivity for even better safety on the road.

More Cities Implement Smart Transportation Systems

A great example that not only the wealthiest cities can make use of the new smart systems is Columbus, Ohio. Back in 2016, this town was the winner of the first-ever Smart City Challenge presented by the U.S. Department of Transportation. As a reward, it received $50 million to become America’s Smart City. They’ve started projects developing an intelligent transportation system earlier this year. 

The first thing they considered was privacy. That’s why Smart Columbus was quick to create a Data Privacy Plan that provides a framework for securing all gathered and used personal information. 

Nevertheless, Columbus is not the only city currently designing it’s smart transportation system that would work with connected vehicles. Another example is Austin, Texas. They’ve dedicated a short-range communication technology to five intersections. This increases the safety of pedestrians and vehicles by enabling them to communicate with the traffic signal controller. Moreover, last year, as part of Austin’s Smart Mobility Program, they’ve tested smart parking meters to collect data on parking turnover rates and revenue. 

For our final example, we’re moving across the world to Singapore. Singapore has announced its quest to become the first smart nation in the world. This was first established in a program launched by the Prime Minister back in 2014 when not many countries had even realized the need for smart cities.

“Virtual Singapore is a dynamic 3D model that allows the country to run virtual tests on all the innovation they apply to infrastructure. It’s projected that by 2020, all of their vehicles will have mandatory satellite-navigation systems. It will offer a wealth of information for analysis. Moreover, it allows authorities to monitor traffic volume and analyze congestion issues to provide the best possible solution to the infrastructure.

The Future Is Now

As you can see from all the examples above, connectivity and connected cars, in particular, are the foundation for the development of smart transportation systems. Smart cities and new connected cars will make urban transportation more effective and safer than ever. 

Singapore is an excellent example of other cities can follow to improve the quality of life for their citizens. Connectivity is crucial to transforming transportation.

Sophie Zoria

Sophie Zoria

Read Full Bio