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The Smart Money Is on the Sensors

Thanks to RFID and the Internet of Things, the connected-vehicle market offers huge opportunities.
By Moussa Kfouri
Apr 05, 2019

According to Gartner, by next year there will be a quarter of a billion connected vehicles on the road, and IHS Markit forecasts that by 2023, worldwide sales of connected cars will reach 72.5 million annually, up from 24 million in 2015. The connected vehicle represents a huge business opportunity, one for which the industry is increasingly well prepared.

Since 3GPP Release 14, LTE/4G is being enhanced by the standards body to support more and more vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) applications. Examples of V2I sensors in use include those measuring traffic flow, controlling traffic lights and smart motorway monitoring with speed restrictions imposed dynamically, if necessary, based on traffic levels and speeds. V2V sensors enable the exchange of information between vehicles in range, such as position, speed and direction, with the system capable of making automatic decisions instantly—essential in the case of autonomous or driverless cars.

The emerging and largely talked about 5G technology has been designed from the ground up to support V2V/V2I, because operators were early to identify connected vehicles as a major business opportunity. One example is the ultra-reliable low-latency (URLLC) feature set in 5G. These capabilities include 1ms latency, which is key for delay-sensitive applications such as safety warnings and accident avoidance.

MIPI specifications are well proven and designed for low power, high bandwidth and low EMI/RFI implementations. Telematics, for instance, relies heavily on sensors, and these specifications play a critical role in enabling sensor-based applications.

As well as the essential need for sensors for safety in the growing autonomous vehicle market, the commercial business opportunities are wide-ranging. Trucking companies, ride-sharing organizations, taxi fleets, rental car providers, municipalities and other fleet owners can all benefit from effective GPS tracking data. There are a variety of use cases, including protecting high-value assets, improving driver safety, meeting tight delivery windows for just-in-time manufacturing, and achieving more efficient dispatching and route planning by identifying and avoiding congested routes.

The health of a vehicle can be monitored and potential issues can be caught early, such as rising transmission temperatures, before they can result in expensive downtime. Data collected can identify models with higher- or lower-than-average maintenance costs, mileage charges or off-road downtime, meaning informed decisions can be made when purchasing replacement vehicles. In addition, driver behavior can be tracked and monitored through in-vehicle gesture control and how the vehicle is being driven. Vehicle journeys can be accurately recreated, incidents analyzed, and in-vehicle alerts activated to instantly notify drivers of infractions, all enabling relevant and real-time coaching and feedback to help improve safety.

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