Internet of Things in the Automotive Industry

The automobile industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries globally, producing around 80 million units annually in 2021. With a global turnover of 2.86 trillion dollars in the same year, it is expected to reach 3 trillion dollars by the end of 2022. However, the annual sales in the automotive sector have remained fixed between 75 to 80 million units over the past six years. One of the reasons for this stagnation is the lack of innovative features in vehicles.

Consumers today look for futuristic technology made products that they can connect to and interact with, rather than just a car with four wheels and a steering wheel. Next-generation vehicles are being built by the automotive industry with the help of the Internet of Things (IoT). Worldwide car manufacturers and buyers now have new opportunities thanks to its introduction. IoT in the automotive sector has significantly impacted the global auto market and has emerged as a key component in cutting-edge applications ranging from automated transportation systems to connected cars.

What is the Internet of Things?

In simple words, Internet of Things refers to the interconnectivity of thousands of devices like actuators, sensors, gateways, and platforms. These devices connect and interact with each other over wired/wireless networks.

IoT is very powerful technology, and it has been estimated that there will be more than 21 billion connected devices by the end of the year 2025. Most of the IoT implementation was first seen in manufacturing companies where systems like ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) were implemented to reduce production costs.

However, it should be noted that the Internet of Things offers countless opportunities and has a wide range of uses, including the automotive sector. The way people interact with their vehicles is being revolutionised by various automotive IoT applications. Let us now see a few of the amazing things that IoT offers for the automotive industry.

Also read: Enhance Efficiency in Manufacturing and Production with IoT & Advanced Analytics

Major applications in the Automotive Sector:

1. Fleet Management

Fleet management has undergone a significant development as a result of IoT implementation in the automotive industry. In modern trucks, sensors for tyre pressure, engine temperature, and other factors are integrated. The sensors can weigh and count the packages inside the vehicle and can also track its location.

All the sensory data from the large fleet of trucks is gathered and sent to the cloud, where it is processed by various analytics and displayed in an easily understandable visual format for the user. This information can be quickly reviewed by the fleet manager or operator, who can also monitor several fleet-related parameters. An IoT-integrated fleet management system can benefit a fleet manager in a number of ways, including:

  • Real-time location monitoring of each individual truck in the fleet
  • Weight or Volume monitoring of the cargo being transported.
  • Vehicle performance statistics like fuel efficiency and speed
  • Vehicle health statistics
  • Route-management
  • Planned routes to avoid heavy traffic conditions on the route.
  • Time and Driver Management
  • Driving pattern of each driver (Driving pattern data of skilled drivers can be collected and fed to regression algorithms which will help autonomous cars to learn to drive better)

2. Connected Cars

Over 30 million connected cars were sold in the year 2020 and it is estimated that more than half of the cars sold new in 2023 would be connected. These cars are equipped with CV2X (cellular vehicle to everything) IoT technology that connects vehicles and smart transport systems with each other.

Connected cars transmit data at a much faster rate to different objects based on which CV2X can be categorised as below:

  1. Vehicle to vehicle (V2V):  In a V2V-Connection, vehicles that are close to one another (within a certain range) are connected to one another and exchange data. The shared data typically consists of details about the location, speed, and size of the vehicle. It is simple for vehicles to help the driver because every connected vehicle in a given area is connected and has knowledge of vehicles close by. It should also give emergency vehicles a better route and reduce accidents.
  1. Vehicle to infrastructure (V2I): This V2I connection refers to the connection between different vehicles and road infrastructures. By infrastructure, we refer to streetlights, road width, traffic lights, lane markings, and toll booths. When these infrastructures are connected, this connection gives the vehicle a better understanding of the nearby infrastructure, which in turn allows the vehicle to better assist the driver. V2I also provides smoother traffic flow.
  1. Vehicle to pedestrians (V2P):  Nowadays, most pedestrians have smartphones, making it possible to connect a pedestrian to the CV2X network. This aids in locating pedestrians so that the vehicle can avoid them. An app can be used by a pedestrian to find nearby taxis and track the anticipated arrival time for transit. Additionally, it can be used to alter traffic lights so that you can cross a road.
  1. Vehicle to network (V2N):  The weather forecast office and the transportation system can both connect to the network to alert drivers to changes in the weather or to any on-road accidents. Additionally, a car can be linked to a smartphone. In this manner, the car’s music system and GPS can be controlled by voice commands while the driver is on the road.

3. Automotive Maintenance System

Predictive analytics is one of the most interesting features of IoT in the automotive sector, as it will save a ton of cost and time for the vehicle manufacturer and the buyer. Different sensors are embedded in different components of a car which collect data and share it with a platform. This data is then processed by an algorithm that can analyze and predict the future state of the component based on its current usage pattern.

A person can use an IoT automotive maintenance system to help them take the necessary precautions to stop a car from breaking down unexpectedly. By UI notification, message, or email, this system notifies the driver of potential malfunctions. It’s interesting to note that the driver receives the alert before the fault is discovered. The driver can fix the issue and avoid vehicle breakdowns on important journeys thanks to this forecast. The driver will also have saved time and money by avoiding a major failure.

Both a fleet of vehicles and a single vehicle can use predictive maintenance’s capabilities. Monitoring and managing a defect in their vehicles before it manifests is extremely beneficial for transport and logistics companies.

Let us see a few predictive maintenance algorithms.

  • Linear Regression
  • Logistic Regression
  • Neural Network
  • Decision trees
  • Naive Bayes models

4. Autonomous Vehicles

One of the most crucial technologies for auto manufacturers to master is autonomous driving. Many automakers are working to create a fully autonomous vehicle that will take over all aspects of driving from the driver. Tesla is at the cutting edge of this technology and offers autonomous driving on all of its models.

However, a number of other manufacturers have already introduced semi-autonomous vehicles that help drivers with some aspects of driving, braking, parking, and lane changing. IoT-integrated semi-autonomous cars help the driver by partially controlling the vehicle operation to reduce accidents and enhance the driving experience. For instance, the hill climb assist feature enables the driver to move the car quickly and easily from a stopped position while standing on an incline. This is made possible by sensors that recognise the angle at which the car has stopped and temporarily apply the brakes so that the driver can press the accelerator.

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The automotive industry is experiencing a significant transformation through the integration of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT).  This evolution has led to the development of connected and automated cars, revolutionizing the way car inspection and maintenance are carried out and introducing novel forms of entertainment. The advent of vehicular telematics has facilitated long-range data transmission, which has been instrumental in the emergence of IoT-powered fleet management systems.

As IoT technology continues to advance, its applications in the automotive industry are increasing steadily, and it is expected that more sophisticated applications will emerge, fundamentally transforming the way we interact with our vehicles.

Author: Vasanth Williams
Vasanth Williams is an Automation Engineer at Indium, focusing on end to end IoT testing . He holds B.Tech in Computer Science and has also published paper in IEEE Xplore on the topic IoT based Smart Home. He thrives to find innovative ways to Automate IoT testing.