How IoT makes transport smart

When the Chairman and CEO of General Motors, Mary T. Barra, predicted the transformation of the automotive industry at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in 2016, she said the three fundamentals of this transformation were electrification, automation and connectivity.

How IoT makes transport smart

I have already elaborated on the first two. Let’s look at connectivity… Because I firmly believe that you will not be able to buy a new car or truck – or maybe even a bike – five years from now that is not connected.

Tesla’s take on transport

My first example is the obvious: Tesla. Since the Model S rolled out in 2012, Tesla has been able to send software updates to the vehicle to improve it – everything from introducing new services to tweaking the settings of the driver seat. Today many of the automaker’s efforts are put into improving its vehicles’ autopilot functions. Continuous updates include improved summoning and parking functions, automatic  high beam headlights and rain sensor technologies. Not without problems, agreed, but with the power of connectivity, all functions can be delivered to all eligible cars in a few hours. Worldwide.

Freight gets future proof

Secondly, in February 2017, Scania announced the launch of the Scania One solution: a digital platform to connected services. A quarter of a million trucks are now connected. Scania collects the data from them and enables drivers to check fuel consumption, wear and tear, fleet planning, positioning, and whether vehicles are in need of service. Building on Ericsson’s software, they have created a solution for the future of transport. Compatible with other cloud-based solutions, it opens up the possibility for several million more vehicles to be connected.

Bike sharing in Shanghai

My third example takes us all the way to China… In Shanghai, commuting by bicycle has never been more convenient. Here, Mobike has launched an IoT-enabled-bike rental service with the help of Ericsson’s technology and the cellular IoT network run by China Mobile. This allows commuters to pick up a rental bike right outside their front door and simply leave it outside their workplace. No longer any need to hunt for a dedicated lock stand. The bike is connected through cellular IoT solution, so at any given moment, you can open the app on your phone to unlock a bike on the street. When you arrive at your destination, you just lock the bike and it’s ready for the next commuter.

Delegating deliveries

My fourth example involves Ericsson’s long-time partner: Volvo Cars. Now that the In-car Delivery service has been launched in Sweden, it’s pretty cool to get your deliveries made directly to the trunk of your car. By using a digital key that you send to the delivery firm from your mobile phone, you can receive a delivery wherever you are – even if you are in a meeting or watching your kids play in that important hockey match!

Make your ride smart

Above I have been talking about connected solutions designed for new vehicles. But let’s not forget there are solutions that can be used to make your current vehicle a lot smarter too… My fifth example is a service created by Swedish operator Telia and Ericsson, allowing any car to be retrofitted with an OBD-II data connector and become connected. I have used mine for almost a year, during which time an increasing number of services have been added: innovations in the palm of my hand.

World of wonder

I got my driver’s license in 1984. Back then, no one dreamed of a world where this was possible. The coolest thing you could have at the time was a car phone – at a hefty price. You paid USD 3 a minute to make a call… if you managed to find a place where the coverage was good enough to get a connection.

With electrical, self-driving and connected vehicles around us, the world now is a different place. None of this would have been possible without the innovations developed by the telecoms industry, and I believe there is a bright future ahead for business.

But there is one more thing, as Steve Jobs used to say… I have connected my old bike from the 1980s too. A small device called the SmartHalo helps me navigate in new areas, measures my activity and automatically turns the light on when dusk falls. It even sounds an alarm if someone tries to steal it. The vision of the Networked Society is maybe no longer a vision. We know that everything that benefits from a connection does, and will, connect. Even an old bike like mine.

Learn more about Intelligent Transport Systems and how you can connect and automate the entire transport ecosystem. Explore Connected Urban Transport our next generation of traffic management. Or check out some more of our cases, making transportation more efficient, profitable and enjoyable.


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