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IoT meets the Internet of Cars




The technological wave of the Internet of Things (IoT) is sweeping across all industries. This technology is enabling tech devices to collect, interpret, and share data with one another without the help or interference of humans. It independently studies our living patterns and uses that data to optimize our living experience. Also, connected devices can make decisions based on the data they collect. IoT is, indeed, the technological revolution we never thought we could ever witness in this century.

Today, we are going to focus our attention on the Internet of Cars. Tech giants such as Google and Apple have already given the world a taste of this new technology by incorporating Android and iOS into automobiles. Tesla, on the other hand, has already launched sustainable energy electric cars which, by the look of things, will transform transportation as we know it. With these changes, the prospects of self-driving cars replacing human drivers seem very high. In a nutshell, cars are becoming more of software-based devices than hardware, consequently being able to take care of people’s personalized needs in a more efficient manner.

Considering this advanced momentum of the progression of autonomous cars, we will most likely have completely driverless cars in the future. This will bring many benefits to our society, starting with a reduced number of accidents and increased road safety. That said, as the cars get driverless and smart, we are likely to witness many changes not only in the auto industry but also in other related industries. Car insurance and warranty premiums, for example, will change completely with the increase in road safety. Of course, the lesser the possibility of a car crashing or colliding with other cars, the longer its warranty will be.

It is true to say that innovation is an innate aspect of the automotive industry. In this regard, which new opportunities will this invasive IoT innovation bring to automobiles? Here are 5 IoT impacts that we are witnessing/about to witness on automobiles.

1.      Connected cars and over-the-air (OTA) software updates 

Internet of Things has made over-the-air (OTA) software updates possible. Instead of taking your car to an automobile service center for repairs, you will soon be waiting for the system to automatically update itself. In simpler terms, your car will be just like your current smartphone: You will be able to download new software and update existing applications directly to your vehicle. This is the kind of functionality that every car owner dreams of and guesses what; the auto manufacturer Tesla is already making fast-paced steps towards making it a reality.

 2.      IoT fleet management tools

Large fleets of autonomous cars will be easily managed using IoT fleet management tools. Important data such as fleet routes, traffic congestions, mileage, and fuel consumption will be collected and analyzed using the IoT smart connectivity devices. Performance statistics will be easily visualized and tracked using integrated cloud-based tools and software. As a matter of fact, fleet operators are already using IoT to track in real-time the exact truck location. In case of emergencies, IoT-based tools can be used to provide remote car diagnostics or even dial emergency numbers in the event that a driver fails to respond.

3.      Connected roadways

IoT has also brought about Device-to-device communications, a feature that auto manufacturers are seeking to leverage in making vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications possible. As technology advances, other communications such as vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) will also be possible. These communications will make our roads safer and more accommodative. Roadways will be connected in a way that car collisions will be eliminated, pedestrians will seamlessly communicate with traffic signals, and cyclists will be alerted of safety concerns in real-time. In this context, we should not forget also the security issues, which will be quite a debatable issue for these connected cars. In such cases, one alternative will be to install VPN, and have protected usage of these devices. 

In the same vein, vehicles will be relying on smart sensors to identify and avoid potential road hazards. If there is a reckless driver on the road or if there is a potential traffic delay on a given road, cars will be able to detect that and take the necessary precautions early enough.

4.      Machine-readable infrastructure

Building on the point above, the automobile industry is about to witness the development of smart or machine-readable infrastructure. Of course, autonomous cars must be designed in a way that they read signals and road signs on their own in order to make driving smooth and safe. But it will be practically impossible for this to happen if the road infrastructure- lane markers, street signs, and traffic signals- will remain as they are. All these features will need radio beacons to function optimally once autonomous cars are fully adopted in our transportation system. The machine-readable road signs will definitely be connected to autonomous cars through IoT.

As a child, Ariana Merill loved to figure out how cars worked, and this has translated into her love and passion for Mechanical Engineering.  For the past twelve years, Ariana has been helping communities thrive through careful monitoring and innovation of electrical and mechanical systems. Ariana also is a tech enthusiast living in New Jersey. She is a Computer Science and Engineering Graduate, specialized in Artificial intelligence. She loves to write on how AI is paving all industries. 


LHI is coming to save your car from hazards

Local Hazard Information will give drivers advance warning of potential dangers lurking around the corner



There are many times when knowing what is around the corner could be useful. But for drivers that knowledge could be critical. Now, thanks to Ford’s new connected car technology, it is also a reality.

Local Hazard Information (LHI) marks a significant step on the journey towards a connected transport infrastructure by helping drivers prepare for and potentially avoid dangers on the road. When drivers ahead encounter sudden tailbacks, accidents or spilled loads, the driver behind – and possibly out of sight – is given advance warning. This could also apply to everything from freak hailstorms, to sudden flooding, or even landslides.

The triggers for the system come from what is happening in the cars ahead. It could be that airbags have been activated, hazard warning lights are flashing, or windscreen wipers are in operation. Previous traffic incident alert systems have relied on drivers to input information in order to generate alerts. LHI works autonomously, without the need for any driver interaction, to generate information and issue warnings.

Hazards are only displayed – via the dashboard display – if the incident is likely to impact on the driver’s journey. LHI is designed to be more beneficial to drivers than hazard information from current radio broadcasting systems, which often deliver notifications not relevant to them.

Already featuring as standard and free of charge for the first year on the new Ford Puma, LHI technology is being rolled out across more than 80 per cent of Ford’s passenger vehicle line-up by the end of this year. Crucially, the benefit will not be limited only to those travelling in Ford vehicles. Information sent can be used to alert drivers of other manufacturers’ vehicles, and vice-versa.

“What makes Local Hazard Information different is that it is the cars that are connected – via the Internet of Things. There is no reliance on third party apps. This is a significant step forward. Warnings are specific, relevant and tailored to try to help improve your specific journey.” Joerg Beyer, executive director, Engineering, Ford of Europe

How it works

Sensors monitor activities including emergency braking, fog lights and traction control to detect adverse weather or road conditions. Data from these activities is then computed to determine the hazard location and whether a traffic incident has occurred.

The vehicle automatically provides updates through a secure connection to “the cloud” using the Ford Pass Connect modem. Ford’s technology partner HERE Technologies operates the central cloud-based platform that collates information from multiple vehicle brands, governed by a business-to-business agreement.

The more cars are connected to the network, the greater the efficiency of the system. When many vehicles generate the same warning, others in the vicinity receive incident information from the cloud via the cellular network, enabling drivers to reduce speed or take appropriate action.

Additional information is sourced from public authority incident databases and traffic reports to provide drivers with further advance warnings including approaching vehicles driving on the wrong side of the carriageway, animals or people in the road ahead, and roadworks.

The on-board modem will be connected at the time of vehicle delivery. Customers may choose to opt in/opt out of certain data sharing.

Local Hazard Information data provided by HERE Technologies.

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SA gets live EV charge map



Drivers of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can now plan their journeys with ease using a live map to locate available public charging stations nationwide. 

The live map displays the entire network of Jaguar Powerway and GridCars supported public charging stations, and indicates the current status of each including if it’s online, offline or in use. The map also shows the time and date of the station’s last successful use, as well as a tally of that particular station’s total charge sessions to date.

Information about each charge station’s exact location with either map pin drops or GPS coordinates is also available.

Brian Hastie, Network Development Director, Jaguar Land Rover South Africa, says: “While the primary charging habit for the majority of EV drivers will be at home where it’s most convenient and cost-effective, we know that the future of electric mobility ultimately relies on a public charging network. As the rollout of public charging stations intensifies and the dots between existing locations are connected, it’s vital that EV drivers are able to view the status of chargers remotely. This live map makes that possible.”

Jaguar South Africa began the rollout of its Powerway network of public charging stations late in 2018. The Powerway includes public charging stations along frequently traveled holiday routes along the N1, N2 and N3, and at various points of convenience, such as shopping centres, in the country’s major hubs including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein. 

The Powerway network also includes publicly available chargers in customer parking areas at every Jaguar Land Rover retailer in South Africa. 

The majority of charging stations on the network are 60kWh fast chargers which also feature 22kWh AC fast charge ports to accommodate plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). The AC standard Type 2 socket will allow charging of all EVs currently available in South Africa, while the DC charger is fitted with the CCS DC type socket used by the vast majority of EVs in SA.

The R30-million Jaguar Powerway investment, combined with the network of GridCars-supported public chargers, makes day-to-day travel as well as longer day trips and even very long journeys possible for owners of electric vehicles.

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