Connected and autonomous: The future of transportation

Nitin Karmarkar, SVP EMEA of Globetouch Inc

Whether we realise it or not, we are already in the era of ‘connected’ vehicles and have been for a few years. The vehicle has already become a thing and just as pretty much everything around us does likewise and starts to communicate, cars have been communicating with the car manufacturers (potentially oblivious to the driver or the owner of the car) and providing vital bits of telematics data such as the brake pressure and the engine temperature. This transfer of information is allowing better maintenance of the car and better service to the owners.

Gartner estimates that by 2020 half of all motor vehicle manufacturers will apply advanced analytics to connected-vehicle data to identify and correct product defects. Many manufactures are already taking advantage of the new technology, says Nitin Karmarkar, SVP EMEA and Munish Kumar, senior director Product Marketing at Globetouch Inc.

Ford for example, through its SYNC connect technology, will soon allow drivers to unlock the doors, monitor fuel levels and start the engine remotely using a smartphone app. The technology already facilitates voice-activated control of functions within the vehicle including air conditioning and sat-nav.

Cars of yesteryear have been using connectivity to send across a few megabytes of data every month. That is set to change with some estimates putting the amount of data exchange from an autonomous or self-driving vehicle at 4,000 GigaBytes per day. Comparing to an average consumption of 1.5 GigaBytes for an average internet user, one autonomous vehicle essentially represents approximately 2,666 internet users, which illustrates the magnitude of information flow we are about to witness.

Studies show that an average individual spends an average of 250 hours behind the wheel of the car in a year. With the advent of the autonomous vehicle, this presents 250 hours of ‘idle’ time that business and industry will look to monetise as well as improve and enrich the experience behind the wheel for the driver who will no longer be driving the vehicle of the future.

The modern vehicle is truly becoming an extension of oneself and a lot more than a transport mechanism, which is seeing us enter a new era of information centric transportation, driven by today’s increasingly data rich world.

Indeed, a recent report from Research and Markets, the world’s largest market research store, highlighted that the size of the smart transportation market is projected to reach $138.76 billion by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 24.3% from 2015 to 2020. It further highlights that key industry players are investing around 10% of their annual turnover into R&D to upgrade the technologies and develop new products for smart transportation.

The vehicles of the future will not only communicate with the car manufacturer but with a whole ecosystem of players and entities (other vehicles, infrastructure and other ‘things’) creating dramatic new service, user experience and monetisation opportunities. This will result in fast evolving new business models and paradigms.

Globetouch is currently working with a tier-1 car manufacturer to provide connectivity to its connected vehicles internationally and has also joined forces with NEXT Future Transportation, which is developing the world’s first advanced smart transportation and goods movement system based on swarms of modular self-driving vehicles, to deliver next generation municipal transportation solutions.

We have also partnered with Virtuosys to co-develop the next generation of cloud connected edge computing devices and applications. Together, the companies will develop a software SIM (soft Sim) cellular connected and cloud-managed edge computing device and edge apps, supporting verticals such as connected vehicles and autonomous driving payments.

The resulting innovation will be the first international out of box cellular connectivity solution offering the soft SIM function, as well as edge analytics in a secure virtualised application environment with cloud app store and intelligence.

At Globetouch, we feel privileged to be in the right place at the right time to have the opportunity to contribute to the evolution of smart transportation and smart cities and embrace the realities of the emerging world.

The authors of this blog are Nitin Karmarkar, SVP EMEA and Munish Kumar, senior director Product Marketing at Globetouch Inc, a provider of global connectivity services for the connected car, M2M and IoT

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