Big firms like Uber and Google are working to achieve the aim of smart cities and upgrading urban transportation to electric, autonomous, and on-demand vehicles. The advancement in cloud computing, 4G wireless connectivity and the dependence on smartphones have formed a perfect stage for these ride-hailing services to be more productive and more accessible.
• On to Autonomy
Apart from these ride-hailing companies, big tech giants like Alphabet ad car manufacturers like Ford and GM are looking forward to autonomous vehicles as they are next significant trends that will solve all kinds of urban issues like congestion and pollution and will also solve urban housing shortages by eliminating the need for parking structures and freeing up real estate for humans.
• IoT is the enabler
Autonomous mobility is possible by another technical phenomenon, the Internet of Things (IoT). Autonomous transit would require the use of more technology as compared to tech that is installed in human-driven vehicles. Moreover, autonomous cars will need to communicate with everything they encounter on the road from cars to pedestrians, travelers, buildings and more.
• Sensors, big data, and 5G
Internet-connected sensors which are available in people’s phones, in vehicles, on roads, and in buildings will transform how travelers interact with the car and how they adjust and live in the world’s urban centers. Advocates for autonomous vehicles states these vehicles can pick up passengers on-demand, find the best route for their respective destinations, obey traffic signals, communicate well with the other cars, maintain safe distances and safely make the drop-off.
These vehicles will be smart in the context that they would know when they need maintenance or charging and drive themselves to any location. Street sensors would ensure that the vehicles are in the correct lanes and guide them where to stop or park. Connected vehicles can also act as a bellhop, who after dropping the passengers, will oversee the smart homes, and when you arrive it would automatically turn on the lights, heat or air conditioning. For entertainment purpose, vehicles will automatically connect and detect to the available device based on passenger’s preference.
The widespread deployment of 5G wireless networking will complete the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) revolution; it will take networking to a new level of performance. 5G network would allow autonomous vehicles to respond quickly to any environmental change, simultaneously communicating with nearby vehicles to optimize traffic and route times.
A long way to go
Currently, these autonomous vehicles are communicating with just themselves. They can process data from cameras, lasers, and onboard sensors and primarily focus on the ability to operate on the streets safely. The smart city technology will play an essential role in the adoption of autonomous vehicles and vice versa. A robust, high-speed and efficient IoT-structure will be the foundation for both.