Today’s automotive industry development is heavily driven by digital technology. Tesla, Jaguar, Honda, Toyota are just a few among many car manufacturers that experiment with the latest technologies from producing electric cars to releasing self-driving vehicles, making them more environmentally friendly, secure, easier to navigate, and more appealing to customers.
Many of the innovations introduced in the automotive industry are based on IoT (Internet of Things) technology. With its help car manufacturers improve safety and navigation for their vehicles, install automotive maintenance systems for quick car diagnostics on the spot, and much more. In this article, we’ll have a look at how IoT applications are used in automotive and what to expect from IoT in automotive in the future.
What is IoT?
Internet of Things is a digital technology that consists of multiple small devices such as sensors, gateways, actuators, and others united into a coherent ecosystem via a wireless connection. These devices can interact with each other without any human intervention, gather and analyze data, providing the processed results to users.
Some examples of IoT applications in the automotive industry include:
Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), in-vehicle infotainment and real-time telematics solutions, various communication apps for Car2Car connectivity such as Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X), predictive maintenance, and other types of apps.
IoT Use Cases in Automotive Industry
Automotive industry creates advanced solutions for vehicles based on IoT technologies that help companies and individual drivers solve a wide range of vehicle-related issues from their production to driving process, to car maintenance.
Let’s have a more detailed look at some of the most significant cases on how IoT is used in the automotive sector.
Commercial Fleet Management
For fleet owners that have a large number of expensive trucks, IoT technology offers various tools which allow performing fleet operations much more effectively. Some of the IoT-enabled technologies embedded into trucks are RFID, GPS, OBD-II, accelerometers, gyroscopes, proximity sensors, and others. With these sensors fleet management companies can:
- define the location of each of their trucks in real-time;
- monitor speed changes, route deviations, idle time, fuel utilization, mileage, and other parameters;
- measure weight and volume parameters for each vehicle;
- optimize logistics for faster and safer product delivery;
- monitor a driver’s behavior on the road, and much more.
IoT technology helps fleet management companies substantially improve their savings and business manageability in general as well as increase visibility and security of their assets.
IoT-Based Predictive Maintenance for Car Repairing
Various sensors embedded into vehicles for predictive maintenance, help big companies, as well as separate users, prevent many sudden vehicle breakdowns. Connected into a coherent system, IoT sensors carry out ongoing diagnostics and send alerts in case of any probable malfunctions.
With IoT-based predictive maintenance solutions, vehicle owners can:
- identify any car parts failures before they appear;
- estimate the useful life of certain vehicle parts and the possibility of their repairing;
- measure various performance parameters, e.g. speed, temperature, navigation, etc.;
- improve safety on roads and lower operational costs.
The rapid acceleration of wireless connections has caused the rise of connected cars technology. Connected cars enable fast data exchange between drivers, cars, and city infrastructure. IoT technology gathers data on what’s happening with a car and around it in real-time, processes it in a cloud, and suggests best driving tactics and tips. As a result, drivers can better navigate on roads, improving their mobility, reducing congestion, and diminishing the time of travel delay.
Apart from enhanced navigation, car connectivity ensures drivers’ safety on roads. Drivers stay connected to the internet on their journeys and can quickly call maintenance and emergency services if anything goes wrong.
There are 4 main types of car connectivity, based on how vehicles interact with different objects:
- vehicle to vehicle (V2V) – this type of connection enables vehicles to gather and exchange data with each other; the data usually includes vehicle location, its speed, dynamics, and others; V2V helps drivers prevent accidents whereas emergency vehicles can better navigate through traffic;
- vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) – V2I connection is about vehicle navigation in traffic; a car gathers data from traffic lights, toll booths, road signs, lane markings, and other traffic management infrastructure; V2I helps better organize traffic flow, reduce queuing at petrol stations, and much more;
- vehicle to pedestrians (V2P) – is about how pedestrians interact with cars and road infrastructure; for example, they can use mobile apps to find the nearest taxis, or track public transport on maps, and much more;
- vehicle to network (V2N) – is basically connecting a vehicle to the internet for receiving various notifications about current weather forecasts, congestion on the road, roadblocks, and other journey-related data.
Real-Time Telematics and Infotainment
In-vehicle infotainment and telematics enhance drivers’ and passengers’ experience with a car. The technologies allow users to monitor and manage vehicle location, its status, and behavior in real-time on any device, including smartphones. This way, car owners can remotely control their vehicles, establish speed limits, send various notifications to a driver, get emergency responses or theft alerts, and much more in a single application anywhere and at any time.
Improving Vehicle Manufacturing
Apart from equipping their vehicles with IoT technology, car producers can also use IoT to enhance the car production infrastructure. IoT has had a significant impact on how companies formulate and develop their ideas, produce vehicle parts, and provide their services.
IoT allows car manufacturers to collect detailed data on the cars that they produce and gain profound insights on how to improve/ modify diverse functionalities or update vehicle software. Many car manufacturing companies equip their production lines with IoT. By doing so, they can enhance the quality of vehicle parts and their assembling as well as increase the production timeline.
The Future of IoT in Automotive
The utilization of IoT in the automotive sector is still gaining momentum. With the development and wide adoption of 5G technology and deeper integration of blockchain into IoT for better network protection, we’ll see more IoT solutions widely implemented in car production.
For now, we can see how IoT is extending its influence in the automotive sector. Here are some quick facts:
- the global automotive IoT market reached $31.78 bln in 2020 and is expected to reach $100.39 bln by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 21.12%;
- the number of electric car registrations significantly increased in 2020 even despite the Covid pandemic, in Europe the sales share of new electric cars grew from 3.2% in 2019 to 10% in 2020;
- the size of the globally connected car fleet in the US is expected to increase from about 84 mln cars to over 305 mln by 2035, making the US one of the largest markets for connected vehicles;
- the number of subscribers to automotive telematics services accounted for 133 mln users in 2020 and it’s expected to reach 377 mln subscribers by 2026, growing at a CAGR of about 19%;
- in Virginia, Tech Transportation Institute is launching a live version of the 5G connected cars concept.
Today, car buyers search for more than just a means of transport to obtain, they search for advanced vehicles packed with the latest innovations in the industry. The automotive industry is striving to cater to buyers’ demands and needs, equipping their vehicles with the latest IoT solutions.