It wasn’t too long ago that vehicles were considered relatively “dumb”—they were obviously able to transport people from here to there. But it was incumbent upon the driver to understand and respond to their surroundings, for example. Contrast to today, where the IoT has enabled cars to automatically react to their environment, alert drivers to safety hazards, and suggest new routes to optimize efficiency.
These are just a few of the benefits inherent in connected vehicles. As James Hodgson, principal analyst at ABI Research, puts it in a recent Automotive News piece, this increased connectivity is generating huge volumes of data sets that can be mined for opportunities ranging from proactive maintenance to insight monetization.
Fleet-based smart mobility and transit vehicles are particularly well positioned to provide crowdsourced insights, especially in urban contexts. Hodgson writes about one driver-assistance device used in ride-hailing vehicles, rental cars, and buses that can provide customized insights to city and local authorities on issues such as traffic events. As he puts it, unlike static smart sensors such as traffic cameras, connected vehicles can provide insight into situations as they unfold over many miles throughout the city.
Another example is using connected vehicle and device data to understand the relationship between traffic flow, weather patterns, and nitrogen oxide emissions—a research project that Transport for London embarked upon in partnership with Bosch and Here.
Tapping into Insight
Of course, it’s not just the fleet industry that stands to benefit from increased connectivity. In fact, passenger cars are expected to be among the earliest adopters of 5G in the IoT as automakers look to future-proof their connected car designs. This is likely to bring more advances in the form of driver-assistance systems as well as richer, more contextualized infotainment experiences.
However, Hodgson believes there is one significant weakness afflicting passenger vehicles: poor utilization. Cars routinely sit idle for hours—sometimes days—at a time. Is it possible that manufacturers and data marketplaces will find a way to monetize this downtime? It’s a safe bet that someone somewhere is researching this.
In the meantime, take a look at this previous APEX of Innovation post for more on the connected cars industry and the many insight monetization opportunities.