IoT and Smart Cars – The Future of the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is set for a massive change in the coming years. Already, companies like Tesla are trying to cash in on the future need for electric cars, as consumers turn their backs on gas powered machines altogether. With cities choking in pollution and oil supplies depleting, it’s no wonder that this is the case.

This, alongside the growth in smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will combine to change the face of the automotive industry for good. Don’t panic about this being a bad thing – it’s far from it, and it’ll likely save you some money in the long run, too.

How the industry is changing on a wide scale is one thing, but in this post, we’re going to focus on something else: How IoT and 5G are going to change the way that cars and other vehicles operate in the coming years.

Connected cars & 5G

The rollout of 5G that is taking place across the world right now and into 2020 is going to push a great deal of change. For the first time, developers will be able to realize various dreams that have so far been restricted thanks to a lack of data transferring capabilities. That changes with 5G.

Cars have been able to connect to the internet since 1996 – although the reach of this was very limited. Nowadays, the potential for smart cars to optimize our lives is huge. With everything from in-car entertainment, to external hazard warnings and internal trackers to monitor when your car needs a service.

This is not to mention the potential for driverless cars. Once something out of a sci-fi movie, driverless cars are now very much a reality. The thing is, driverless cars need to feed large amounts of data from outside the vehicle into its control mechanisms to ensure the passenger’s safety – this in turn requires a powerful connection. The millisecond latency of 5G has opened the door that will allow this to become an everyday reality.

Swarm model

The swarm model is a total rethinking of what a car is and how it is used. It’s something that we don’t have today, but that might become more common in the future. In the same way that in factories a swarm of robots operates on a line, with the closest robot to the task taking the job, cars could become something of a public property that serves anyone nearby.

It’s an interesting idea, although, it might well be a fair way away.

Smart onboard security

One of the most beneficial ways that the automotive industry stands to benefit from IoT and 5G is with the integration of smart onboard security. This is often found in the OBD II function to enable On-Board Diagnosis System.

Preventative measures: Smart cars can use advanced warning systems to alert you about possible malfunctions in your vehicle before they become a major issue. This is actually something that’s been around for a while now, such as alerts to check tire pressure, but it’s increasingly spreading into new areas of the vehicle. This can save the driver a fortune in repairs – or even their life.

This can also be carried over so that the car can locate where a failure has occurred post-breakdown. This makes the repair process easier and quicker, ensuring that you’re back on the road again in no time.

Outward threats: Cars now are increasingly designed with features that will warn the driver about dangerous weather conditions, traffic accidents up ahead, or even crime in a particular area. This ensures that the driver can stay safe and avoid traveling in hostile conditions.

V2V technology is another area where drivers can become safer, although we haven’t seen much of yet. The central premise is that cars can communicate with each other more effectively, which prevents collisions on the road. This is a very smart tech that can now become available via 5G.

Smart entertainment

Entertainment and navigation: This is probably the area that most drivers are most familiar with. From voice controlled music selection to navigation apps that show you more than just your route, but also local attractions, filling stations, and the best places to eat in town, these apps are all the rage.

Navigation and in-car entertainment is going to see a massive upsurge as driverless cars become more common. We can expect to see all sorts of world-class entertainment from movies to games, to relaxing beverages and more. The future of driving will likely be pretty chill.

Autonomous vehicles

The obvious future of the automotive industry is fully autonomous cars. This would mean fewer crashes and much less stress for drivers as the dart around the motorways seamlessly. Autonomous vehicles might seem like a long way off, especially considering you’d essentially need to either make sure everyone owned one, or simply create separate roads only for those cars. The truth is, they’re actually closer than you’d think.

This will begin with large freight vehicles most likely. That’s already a concern of truck drivers, who seem themselves as being about to lose out on an income. It’s also a concern for cab and bus drivers, who are already being shaken up by ride-sharing apps.

Threats to smart cars

As with anything built around tech, there’s always the risk of hackers. This is something that will have to be taken extremely seriously in the age of automated cars. Vehicles will have to come with extremely capable security to prevent their network from ever being hacked into and overridden. Imagine the potential carnage that could ensue.

It’s likely that this will become a focal point of the new kind of warfare that is now unfolding before our very eyes. Conflict in the future will be done largely through a computer, as it is already being increasingly done now, and it will become essential to devote large scale resources to protecting public and private networks from attacks.


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