5G, IoT and the connected car – motoring into the 21st century.
With 5G technology officially launched in Ireland and a wide variety of applications in development, it’s interesting to take look at what will undoubtedly be one of the most important – the connected car.
The average new car produced in 2019 has a huge number of sensors on board and it doesn’t take much imagination to realise that a lot more value could be driven out of all that data than is currently the case. As well as satellite navigation and smartphone-enabled connectivity in a car, there are also thousands of sensors in the tyres, wheels, suspension and more.
“The automotive space is a huge vertical for us from a global perspective and it’s very big in Ireland as well. We have 85 million connections globally on our IoT platform and 18.5 million of those are in the automotive space,” said Debbie Power, Internet of Things (IoT) Country Manager for Vodafone Ireland.
Meanwhile, data from connected cars is increasingly being used to create smart systems that can benefit drivers and companies that manage fleets of vehicles. In particular smart insurance packages and asset management systems are growing in popularity.
“Usage-based insurance is becoming very big for the insurance companies. Learner drivers can get discounts on their insurance policies if they commit to being monitored and not exceeding the speed limit etc, and that’s essentially an IoT application in action,” said Power.
“Likewise fleet tracking and transport monitoring is also huge. There's are also a number of developments around the connected car that are likely to become increasingly important in future.”
One of the biggest of these is 5G. While most people associate this technology with an increase in mobile access speeds to the internet, one of its most useful features is actually its low latency. Devices equipped with 5G can communicate with each other as well as with remote systems much faster in almost real time. If autonomous cars are to gain widespread acceptance, they need to be able to react instantly to hazards and 5G will be instrumental in this.
“5G is about a lot more than being able to stream videos to your smartphone a bit faster than you can today. Our cities are becoming smarter and I have no doubt there will be designated lanes for autonomous vehicles within a number of years,” said Power.
“It’s also worth considering the role that autonomous cars, 5G and the IoT will play in helping to reduce our overall carbon footprints. We have already seen Global automotive manufacturers moving away from Diesel & Petrol models in favour of Electric vehicles. Government policies will evolve to support these developments over the coming years, we have already recently seen announcements of imminent plans for additional electric vehicle charging stations”.
Power believes that there is a generation coming up that has been raised on climate change awareness and just won’t put up with cars belching fumes into the air, for these measures to work and society to function, there needs to be the technology to support them.
“I think the smart city applications we’ve been talking about for a long, long time are really about to kick in.
Change comes gradually but things are changing,” she said.