Journey through time: A comprehensive look at connected vehicles - Hindustan Times

Journey through time: A comprehensive look at connected vehicles

ByHindustan Times
Nov 13, 2023 03:59 PM IST

This article is authored by Nitin Kamble, head CoE, digital technologies, Tata Technologies.

The term "connected vehicles" refers to software, services, and technological developments that connect a vehicle to its surroundings. Now that connected vehicles have become the industry norm, we should expect them to keep getting better. To put it simply, a connected vehicle is one that has wireless networks on board that can communicate with nearby electronic devices. A connected vehicle is frequently described as a highly advanced Internet of Things (IoT) technology.


The technology of today is a marvelous feat of engineering. The concept of connected automobiles has seen tremendous transformation over the past few decades, particularly in recent years. The connected vehicle technology of the past was quite rudimentary in comparison to what we have now. It was first proposed to connect autos to external networks and systems in the 20th century. Early systems focused on basic telemetry and tracking, which were widely used for fleet management. These gadgets conveyed fundamental data via radio or cellular connectivity, such as position and speed.

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A turning point in the development of connected car technology was reached when General Motors unveiled their connected vehicle technology platform, "OnStar”. In the early 2000s, telematics systems for cars started to evolve. Telematics combined telecommunications and informatics to enable two-way communication between auto and external systems. These systems offered remote diagnostics, GPS navigation, roadside assistance, and automobile tracking for stolen vehicles.

In-car networking and infotainment capabilities saw a significant change in the 2010s. Manufacturers began adding smartphones, advanced multimedia systems, and touchscreens. It became feasible to use programs while driving, make hands-free calls, and stream media. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) enables cars to communicate with one another and share information like position, speed, and direction to improve safety and traffic flow. V2I communication requires cars to interact with infrastructure, such as traffic lights and road sensors, in order to improve traffic management. In the second half of the 2010s, connected automobiles began to incorporate advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings, and automatic emergency braking.

There have been numerous advancements in connected vehicle technology since then. Connected vehicles now include advanced ADAS technologies that go beyond standard alerts and warnings. Advanced collision avoidance systems, automatic parking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assistance are examples of such systems. Manufacturers' related services include remote vehicle monitoring, diagnostics, and maintenance notifications. These services allow owners to monitor the status of their vehicles and receive alerts when repairs are required.

Today, several automakers use over-the-air (OTA) updates to remotely update vehicles with software upgrades and bug fixes. This capability reduces the number of times customers must visit dealerships for routine maintenance and allows automakers to constantly improve car features and performance.

Infotainment systems in modern cars smoothly interact with cellphones and other devices. Both drivers and passengers have access to a range of apps, music, navigation, and speech recognition services. The implementation of 5G networks will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of connected vehicles. With ultra-low latency and high data transfer rates, 5G will enable real-time communication between vehicles, infrastructure, and the cloud. By 2026, it's estimated that 5G-enabled vehicles will account for 70% of total connected vehicles, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication allows vehicles to exchange real-time data with other vehicles and infrastructure components such as traffic signals and road sensors. This communication increases safety by providing information about potential hazards and driving conditions. Even though completely driverless vehicles are not yet common, connected vehicle technology is essential for making autonomous driving possible. In autonomous or semi-autonomous modes, vehicles communicate with one another and the local infrastructure to improve navigation and safety. The significance of cybersecurity has expanded with increased connectivity. To safeguard connected vehicles from hacking and illegal access, automakers are putting a lot of effort into putting strong cybersecurity safeguards in place.

According to a recent report by Draup, the global connected car market size was USD 73.16 Billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to USD 156.6 Billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 16.44% from 2022 to 2027. Communication from V2X will spread more widely. This includes communication between vehicles, including V2V, vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P), and other forms. By enabling vehicles to exchange real-time data with each other and their surroundings, V2X will improve safety and traffic management. To reduce latency and enhance real-time decision-making, vehicles will process and analyse data more and more locally (edge computing). For applications like autonomous driving and V2X communication that require safety, this is essential. Through real-time route, speed, and driving behavior optimisation, connected car technology will help make driving more energy-efficient. This may result in less fuel use and pollution.

The usage of completely driverless vehicles will probably increase as autonomous driving technology continues to progress. The autonomous vehicle market is projected to reach $556.67 billion by 2026. To securely navigate complex urban landscapes and highways, these vehicles will interact with one another and the supporting infrastructure. The connectivity between vehicles and the larger network will keep becoming better as 5G networks develop and go beyond. High-bandwidth applications like augmented reality navigation, in-car entertainment, and improved remote vehicle monitoring will be supported by this. Biometric sensors could be included in connected cars to track factors like driver distraction and weariness. Through their intervention when a driver's attention begins to wander, these sensors may improve safety. Advanced predictive maintenance capabilities will be built into vehicles, using real-time data to identify and fix potential mechanical flaws before they become major difficulties. Passengers will enjoy immersive experiences thanks to reinvented interior design and infotainment systems. Displays for augmented reality, adaptable cabin settings, and entertainment choices all might become commonplace.

Subscription-based business models could overtake traditional car ownership as the preferred mode of transportation. Users had access to various vehicles based on their needs, all of which were connected to their individual accounts for a smooth experience. Smart city initiatives will be greatly aided by connected automobiles, which will provide data for dynamic traffic control, congestion reduction, and better urban design.

The protection of data privacy and cybersecurity will be of utmost importance as vehicles collect and transmit more data. To preserve personal information and stop cyberattacks, more stringent laws and improved security measures will certainly be put in place. By facilitating shared mobility services, enhancing traffic flow, and encouraging eco-friendly driving practices, connected car technology can help to lessen the environmental effect of transportation.

While these options reflect potential pathways for connected vehicle technology, it's crucial to keep in mind that the precise course will rely on a number of variables, including technological advancements, governmental decisions, consumer preferences, and societal changes. These elements will likely combine to create a dynamic future for connected automobiles.

This article is authored by Nitin Kamble, head CoE, digital technologies, Tata Technologies.

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