IoT focus: connected vehicles update

A flurry of announcements around the USD225 billion connected cars market came ahead of the now-cancelled Mobile World Congress 2020.

Telstra and CSG announced an expanded relationship to monetise the connected car space, with CSG building on its 15-year relationship with Telstra to support its suite of managed IoT connectivity solutions across Asia-Pacific with billing and provisioning capabilities.

Telstra’s connected car solution includes IoT-based connectivity for telemetry management to deliver meaningful information about the vehicle based on data collected from the vehicle’s sensors, assisting its customers in the car industry with the transition to autonomous vehicles.

Telstra’s IoT connectivity management platform will provide the framework for the connected car, while CSG will integrate its Singleview billing capabilities and mediation solutions into the platform to onboard, rate and provide billing to Telstra’s customers.

On the B2B side of the solution, CSG will manage complex business reporting for Telstra’s partner ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Nokia and Japan’s Softbank announced they have installed non-standalone 5G networks into connected vehicles at a Honda R&D site in Kamikawa-gun, Hokkaido, Japan.

The test succeeded in conducting a breakthrough trial that saw SoftBank test four use cases, including the transmission of location information of surrounding vehicles at intersections with poor visibility, the identification and notification processes for falling objects on the road, as well as the transmission and secondary use of high-quality 4K video and images taken from the in-vehicle cameras.
Nokia believes 5G will be capable of delivering the speed and capacity required to ensure vehicles can communicate and interact safely and efficiently on road networks. It says that deploying high-bandwidth and low-latency 5G networks is essential for delivering the benefits of the next generation of road vehicles, whether they are connected or fully autonomous.

“These trials demonstrate that 5G technology can be successfully, safely and efficiently utilized in the connected car market,” said Nokia’s John Harrington. “We look forward to further developing research in this exciting space and bring 5G-connected mobility solutions to the roads.”

The connected car market is not just taking off, but taking off in several different directions – from passenger experience and entertainment to safety applications,  environmental protection and security. In the CES 2020 Innovation Awards there were 28 entrants in the Vehicle Intelligence & Transportation category plus 13 in the In-Vehicle Entertainment & Safety category.

If we just look at safety, the potential gains from utilising technology are huge. Motorbikes, for example, account for 22% of deaths and serious injuries on UK roads despite them making up less than 4% of vehicles. According to the road safety charity Brake, it means that motorcyclists are 63 times more likely to be killed or injured per mile travelled than car drivers.

This was at the heart of Damon’s announcement of its new electric superbike – the Hypersport – unveiled at CES 2020. The bike is not just fast (200mph) but incorporates sophisticated safety technology such as the CoPilot advanced warning system, which is powered by BlackBerry QNX technology. This uses cameras, radar and other sensors to alert riders to threats. Featuring an onboard neural net, the sensors collect and tag traffic behavior, road conditions and rider intent data. With embedded 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Damon aggregates this data in the cloud to improve overall system performance with over-the-air updates sent back to each bike.

Although motorcyclists are one of the more vulnerable classes of road user, it’s a sobering thought that 1.35 million people die each year from traffic accidents, and between 20 and 50 million are injured.

Back in the connected car world, Israeli vendor Autotalks is attempting to reduce the number of casualties by utilising a chip that broadcasts a car’s location, direction and speed.

Other connected cars receive the message and each vehicle can then perform a risk analysis. Hazards are flagged up on the car’s screen, but eventually the car will autonomously take evasive action based on the information received.
This type of technology has been dubbed V2X (vehicle to everything), allowing the connected car to communicate not simply with other connected cars but with other smart objects in the environment – such as traffic lights, street lights and even mobile phones (to enhance pedestrian safety).

Hyundai obviously thinks its a smart idea, because it has invested in the Autotalks V2X system, which the company says will cost as little as USD100/GBP75 per car when the first chips are fitted into smart cars in 2021.

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