The push towards advanced connected car technology and autonomous cars is gaining momentum, with safety and passenger engagement being the top priorities. To this end, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a potent tool in offering solutions that ensure an efficient ecosystem for vehicles of the future. Aeris is a mobile virtual network operator in the US, which provides machine-to-machine connectivity. Being present in 180 countries across the globe, the company is involved in data management, device management and connectivity management. Auto Tech Review met Dr Rishi Mohan Bhatnagar, President, Aeris India, to discuss the connected car scenario in India and across the world.
Advancement of driverless cars, the ultimate expression of a car that drives itself, is being developed with IoT usage. Such a car would be 10 % equipment and 90 % programming. It would be connected with everything – from vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to cloud and vehicle to driver connectivity all being the norm. Cars would be connected without the direct involvement of the driver, through the help of software that is still in the process of being perfected.
With the ubiquity of smartphones, many connected car-related functions can be activated remotely. These include vehicle health reports, such as engine performance metrics, maintenance notifications, as well as proactive diagnosis and predictive maintenance. Going deeper, potential services can also include reports on functionality, such as locking, remote engine start, geo-fencing and activation of multiple types of alerts, including theft, speeding, braking, cornering, tyre or fuel requirements and others. The Aeris IoT automotive services delivery platform enables automakers to customise connected vehicle solutions in order to create a better driving and ownership experience. The primary goal for any automotive service is to ensure the safety and security of the driver and passengers. In this regard, Aeris offers connected car systems monitoring, automated emergency management and predictive maintenance solutions.
Over the years, the requirement for telematics has evolved, with the focus being on understanding what the car can tell the driver. Also, functions have moved beyond simple tracking and fuel consumption data offered by most telematics providers. Bhatnagar said that today’s systems can accurately, cost-effectively and remotely extract and present data from the engine management systems of a vehicle in an intuitive format. They then can process and analyse that data to deliver tangible operational and financial benefits to its customers.
In-car intuitive telematics provide vehicle telemetry services for fleet management, car rental companies, and dealership groups. Aeris delivers an innovative end-to-end solution that enables companies to enhance customer engagement and improve profitability by continually analysing data from the car. This data then can provide a range of different solutions depending on the customers’ needs. For instance, these advanced solutions can offer insights into a person’s driving habits and this information can be used to help manage fuel consumption and lower the impact of wear and tear. Alternatively, it can send an alert as soon as a person is involved in a crash. It also can be used to rapidly send data to rental operators or other commercial fleets following a crash, enabling the pinpointing of the probable cause and the extent of damage.
THE INDIAN SCENARIO
India has turned into an automobile manufacturing hub over the last few years and something similar is happening in the field of software development as well. Indian start-ups and many established companies are developing software for global auto makers. In addition to the growing international market, we also have a thriving local market that needs to be addressed. As of today, less than 2 % of vehicles sold have some form of data connectivity. Once you have more vehicles coming online, the potential for developing more applications is immense, said Bhatnagar.
Vehicle diagnostics software can offer drivers and fleet managers a real-time view of the status of the vehicle in terms of operations. It also raises alerts if any planned/unplanned maintenance is due. A well maintained vehicle causes lower emissions, while driver behaviour feedback can also help drivers drive in a way that helps reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.
India being a cost-sensitive market, the challenge is to make the safety elements affordable. From the software standpoint, IoT service providers can predict, implement and tune a vehicle to meet government-specified safety norms. These may be in terms of upgrading connectivity, or adding more features and functionalities through enhanced integration. The simulation protocols are usually complex enough to ensure that a vehicle is designed to meet stringent safety standards, right from the inception stage.
THE ROAD AHEAD
Connected cars in the near future will warn drivers in case there are any obstacles ahead in the path of the vehicle, which may not be visible to the human eye. In case the driver fails to respond, the application will automatically brake and bring the vehicle to a standstill. Vehicles with embedded sensors will immobilise the vehicle if alcohol is detected in the driver’s breath. Vehicles are also coming with parking aids and situational awareness capabilities, with some of these technologies already available on production cars.
In connected vehicles, applications will monitor emissions in real-time and trip reports will contain information on specific pollutants released into the atmosphere through vehicular emissions. This will increase awareness and build sensitivity among not only OEMs but even vehicle and fleet owners, about their responsibility towards managing the emissions of their vehicle.
TEXT: Anwesh Koley