Did You Ever Wonder How the Data from Connected Cars Can Be Used?

Connected Cars are the next big thing in the automotive industry: the merging of real-time, autonomous car data with the Internet of Things (IoT).

Connected Cars and their data have plenty of obvious uses and some not-so-obvious ones as well. Below we’ll look at both.

What Are Connected Cars?

A Connected Car is one that wirelessly transmits data to nearby devices, allowing everything from entertainment to vehicle-to-vehicle communication to aid in traffic safety.

Because technology is evolving so rapidly, there are huge divides in how this technology is being used. Some carmakers treat connectivity as a gadget, focusing primarily on capabilities like:

  • Locking/unlocking doors
  • Starting/stopping the engine
  • Opening the sunroof
  • Climate control
  • Honking the horn
  • Turning headlights on/off
  • Pre-loaded entertainment
  • Internet radio

Others — and this is particularly true of EV companies — view Connected Cars with a longer-term vision. While they include all of the above capabilities in their vehicles, they are also collecting and using data from nearly every available metric in the car’s operation.

Two types of data are typically collected: interior and exterior data. These include data points like location and driver behavior (interior) and surrounding environment (exterior). Car makers have the opportunity to impress and capture customers by increasing the capabilities of data capture.

What can they do with this data?

Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) Data

Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) data holds enormous potential to revolutionize the way we travel, and it’s already playing a huge role in how EVs are changing the face of cars.

V2I is all about vehicle safety. The data produced as you drive is exchanged with road infrastructure and the components of a country’s highway system. That means as you drive, your car is collecting data on RFID cameras and readers, lane markers, traffic lights, speed limit and other signs, streetlights, and parking meters.

That data can be bi-directional — infrastructure like 5G-equipped streetlights can transmit and receive dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) frequencies to and from your car.

Data from a Connected Car also share traffic and road information with the cloud. If there is an unreported accident, your car will pick up on the slowdown in traffic and share the data.

Conceivably, the same thing will happen if your EV picks up on ice on the roadway. Because EV computers are refreshing at the millisecond level, time moves extremely slowly for them — they can sense the precise moment they hit a patch of black ice or dangerous standing water.

An intelligent transportation system will use Connected Cars’ data to give travelers real-time advisories on everything from construction zones to the availability of parking and charging. In areas with variable speed limits, traffic management supervision systems can adjust speed and timing to increase throughput and battery economy.

This all adds up to the ultimate goal of driverless cars, of course. V2I data is going to be the critical component of making that happen!

Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Data

V2V data passes in real time between vehicles for safety, logistics, and fuel economy purposes.

It works like this: your EV or car continuously emits data on its location, speed, direction, charge level, and destination. That data is broadcast in every direction at once, which makes other vehicles “aware” of your location. Your car reciprocates by receiving information sent by those cars.

What is V2V data used? It senses how other vehicles are operating to determine crash threats. It alerts you when there’s potential danger around you, helping you avoid accidents.

V2V communication messages can travel over 300 meters and can easily pass around terrain and through bad weather. This is a significant upgrade from today’s collision avoidance systems, which rely on cameras and radars — V2V data will help prevent collisions far before humans would be able to realize a problem is forming.

This data will improve safety for buses, trucks, cars, and motorcycles by improving their visibility. Even pedestrians and bicyclists could benefit, becoming more visible to motorists.

A question that naturally arises in the current era of cyber threats is whether bad actors could track and/or hijack people’s vehicles using this data. V2V data is currently extremely secure and does not identify either the vehicle or the driver.

V2V data will also aid in preventing traffic by routing cars along different routes to prevent congestion. When it’s clear that an interstate highway is approaching peak capacity, cars can be directed along other routes to maintain throughput and prevent bottlenecks.

Vehicle to Cloud (V2C) Data

Data from Connected Cars also passes to the cloud, unlocking huge increases in capabilities.

One such capability is the potential to receive over-the-air software updates. Because EVs leverage the power of software so heavily, owners must receive software updates as soon as they are released to maximize safety and cybersecurity. Owners should not have to manually perform these updates — that’s why automakers are utilizing V2C to automatically update software in their vehicle fleets. These updates happen over the air, and owners don’t have to worry about taking any action.

That means you could wake up one morning to find your Connected Car has gained 10% fuel efficiency, is more stable in its cornering, or has better traffic control.

Connected Cars also send telematics data to the cloud so that manufacturers can inform owners of their vehicles’ condition. The owner must consent to this data collection, and it provides metrics like odometer readouts, fuel economy averages, and information on the mechanics of the vehicle.

Because all of the analytics are performed autonomously in the cloud, data is synced in real-time. Owners can view all information on their vehicles from their online accounts.

Security is a big part of V2C connectivity. EVs, and cars in general, are increasingly computerized, and the automakers must serve as security providers for the lifespan of their vehicles. V2C data not only keeps vehicle cybersecurity up to date, it actively responds to any anomalies as they emerge. That prevents malicious intrusions from exerting force on the car.

V2C data is also what powers infotainment connectivity. Third-party and built-in apps allow passengers access to videos, music, smart navigation, and payment tools, and V2C data serves as the conduit.

Electronic Control Units provide the processing power today. Most modern-day cars have over 100 such chips to handle repetitive tasks, usually with each chip dedicated to a particular feature. The problem with this is that more features require more chips, and that gives capabilities a physical upper limit. It also makes manufacturing and maintenance more burdensome and expensive. In short, having physical in-car chips is a solution that simply doesn’t scale well.

V2C data centralizes the vehicle’s computing power by taking over the majority of tasks. Instead of a car containing over 100 chips, a car might contain a CPU and move the majority of processing to the cloud. While this won’t happen in the 4G era, the proliferation of 5G hubs will make it possible thanks to their extremely low latency.

It will likely never make sense to outboard all Electronic Control Unit functions to the cloud. Core safety controls should remain in-vehicle, but the rest of the controls will likely reside in the cloud.

Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) Data

V2P data promises to help decrease danger to pedestrians and cyclists. This type of data passes between a vehicle and pedestrians/cyclists around the car, including:

  • Those walking on sidewalks and across streets
  • Children in strollers
  • Individuals in wheelchairs
  • Workers stepping into and out of public utility vehicles

If pedestrians are near a Connected Car, the driver will receive alerts to warn of their presence. Likewise, pedestrians connected to the data flow will receive warnings of approaching vehicles.

This will require integrated smart road infrastructures like cameras, sensors, and traffic lights. For example, a Pedestrian in Signalized Crosswalk Warning application could signal a bus and other vehicle operators whenever someone is within a crosswalk the drivers are about to pass through.

What Are Some Benefits of These Types of Data?

As this data grows more comprehensive and commonplace, car owners can gain new capabilities from it.

Geo-Fencing for Young Drivers

Geo-fencing, or constraining a car’s range to a certain geographical area, is useful for guardians of young drivers. With this type of data, guardians receive an alert whenever a car goes outside the boundary.

Remote Parking

Connected cars will allow drivers to remotely park their cars. That means drivers can exit the car and either remotely maneuver it into a parking spot or have the car do so autonomously. Additionally, the car will be able to drop the driver off in front of the building and park itself.

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By evee Life Contributor

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