Data influences every aspect of your life. If not completely already, the technological landscape will be completely data-centric in the near future. The device you are reading this article on probably collects your data to optimize your user experience.
Or, you may have been recommended this article based on your reading habits. Even, the self-driving car you use may take data collected from other cars on the road to keep you safe. So, what’s the point?
The technological landscape has ushered in a new ecosystem that not only collects data, but it transfers data to other devices, interprets that data, and makes decisions with that data; all without the need of human to human interaction. Welcome to the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things or IoT for short is an ecosystem that comprises of web-enabled smart devices that use embedded processors, sensors and communication hardware to collect, send and act on data they acquire from their environments. Think of your dream smart home.
In your smart home, you might have a series of smart appliances and smart devices scattered throughout the home: a smart speaker in one room, a Nest Thermostat, smart lighting, and maybe even some of your kitchen appliances can be controlled with a computer or device.
In an IoT system, all the devices would be collecting data from your living patterns in real time, adjusting their settings or features to optimize your living experience and ensure the products work best for your life needs.
You have probably already seen an IoT system at work in your life. As hinted at above IoT has applications in smart homes taking root in smart thermostats, smart appliances, and connected heating, lighting and electronic devices.
Though the IoT system has countless applications at home and in various industries like wearables, telecommunication, smartphone and energy, today you are going to learn some of the applications of the IoT in the world of transportation. So, strap in.
Probably one of the first things that pop into your mind when discussing the impact of the IoT on transportation is safety.
An idea that is constantly being brought up in smart cities, vehicles having the ability to communicate with each other in real time using data could drastically improve the safety of passengers and pedestrians on the road.
Using smart sensors, cars or buses could alert other vehicles of potential road hazards, reckless drivers, or even oncoming traffic delays.
While inside the vehicle, cars could help drivers who may be impaired, falling asleep or those that might be suffering from a medical emergency.
Currently, the United States Department of Transportation is working with car manufacturers on mandatory vehicle IoT technology. The new technology could reduce the occurrence of crashes by 80%.
As mentioned in an article posted by the United States Department of Transportation, “Drivers would receive notifications and alerts of dangerous situations, such as someone about to run a red light as they’re nearing an intersection or an oncoming car, out of sight beyond a curve, swerving into their lane to avoid an object on the road.”
Though driver safety is important, the coming future will be driverless. Most vehicles will be autonomous. Nevertheless being able to track a vehicle's health will be crucial to creating a safe and efficient world. The IoT will help with that.
Vehicle’s part of an IoT ecosystem will constantly be getting real-time inspections to ensure that a car, bus, or boat is operating at its full potential. If there are any problems with a vehicle the tech or sensors provided will notify a driver or mechanic, while also notifying other vehicles on the road.
In an IoT vehicle ecosystem, companies and drivers may monitor a vehicle’s age, fuel performance, braking, and speed, to name a few, throughout the day. It keeps passengers safe and helps manufacturers to produce better vehicles.
What’s the Fastest Way to Get Home?
Though already in existence thanks to the power of maps, an IoT transportation would help you get home even quicker.
In a fully connected transportation world, you may receive constant real-time data on traffic, closed roads, and the travel schedule of public transportation.
In a study conducted in the United States, American commuters spend 42 hours a year sitting in traffic, sometimes reaching as high as 80 hours. This number could drop with the IoT tech equipped to vehicles.
Getting from point A to point B in an IoT transportation will always be a test of efficiency and effectiveness to ensure you get to where you need to go on time.
During last year’s consumer electronics show, IBM showcased the IoT in action, highlighting how efficient the ecosystem could work.
Logistics and Geo-fencing
Whether managing a small fleet of self-driving trucks or a large fleet of standard shipping trucks geo-fencing will help make logistics significantly easier.
With an IoT tool like geo-fencing, logistics managers could see when a package or large shipment may have deviated from the prescribed path.
The regional manager of a supplier could manage massive supply chains all from the comfort of one device. In an IoT system with a driverless fleet, it may only require a few people to monitor thousands of shipments.
Geo-fencing could also help manage crowds in cities helping prevent any overcrowding that could cause any slowdowns. Vehicles may be redirected to other regions of the city to avoid pedestrians, quiet areas, and school zones in a city.
Unfortunately, not all public transportation can be as efficient and precise as it is in Tokyo. If you live in a major city and are like the majority you probably use some form of public transportation as part of your daily commute.
Though technology has improved, knowing the real-location of when your train or bus may arrive is still inconsistent in most places and at times frustrating.
Real-time tracking of vehicles in an IoT ecosystem could help passengers travel at ease and help a city better manage its public fleet. Passengers could receive personalized travel information about unexpected delays or events that could be delaying their commute.
Governments and corporations are already applying the IoT to some of the transportation problems across the globe. Nevertheless, it is good to mention that a lot of the benefits and changes above can be applied across all forms of transportation including the commercial airline industry.
How do you think the IoT will change your life? Leave your comments below.