It’s a situation that we’re all familiar with: not-so-patiently navigating the morning rush-hour traffic, only to be held up at a traffic light — even though there’s no traffic at all crossing our path. Not only does this cost us our precious sanity, it costs money too. According to transportation analytics company Inrix, traffic backups will cost Americans $2.8 trillion between 2013 and 2030 from wasted time and fuel, as well as from indirect costs being passed on to households by businesses.
With traffic showing no signs of slowing down – or speeding up – discussions of developing an IoT-driven transportation system, or Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), have been increasing.
Connecting cars requires a far more complex and safety-focused infrastructure than other mobile, home and sports devices. However, manufacturers that do install LTE chipsets will ensure that IoT-connected cars receive fast and reliable communications at a reasonable cost.
Here are just three scenarios of how cars equipped with LTE chipsets can improve the driving experience:
Stuck at a light: Traffic fluctuates throughout the day, so having a traffic light system that can adjust to accommodate large increases or decreases in traffic flow would be ideal. While this concept is still very new, it has already begun to be implemented in select cities across the U.S. with great success. This system, enabled by wires embedded in the city’s streets, sends a signal to the lights’ computer system relaying the volume of traffic. The traffic lights are then able to adjust their time settings based on the flow of traffic. However, many creators of modern day technology are dispensing with wires in favor of a more convenient wireless adaption, enabled through the IoT. By switching out the wires for sensors, cities could save money by not having to embed wires, relying instead on LTE chips combined with sensors to efficiently relay the data.
Fuel costs: Time spent idling can really affect fuel usage. The average vehicle, equipped with a 3-liter engine, burns approximately one cup of fuel for every 10 minutes it spends idling. Equipping cars with sensors allows the user to monitor data, enabled by today’s highly cost efficient and reliable LTE chipsets, such as fuel being wasted, time spent idling, and how much it may cost the driver. Pertinent messages could also be relayed to drivers for increased awareness.
Finding parking: Congratulations, you have safely reached your destination. Now you have to find parking, which can be an endeavor in itself. Another benefit of connecting cars to the IoT is that it can simplify parking. All cars would be assigned spaces, so as they approach parking area, users can be informed of the location of vacant spots. Of course, this sort of feature would require a strong connection in both the car and the device monitoring the parking spots.
As more manufacturers leverage the benefits of LTE for the IoT, we will soon be enjoying the benefits of connected travel; cruising the highways secure in the knowledge that we’re saving time, money and – most of all – our sanity.