In the Networked Society, ICT transforms all areas of life, not only affecting people and society, but also businesses, industries, and governments. The area of transportation is no different, and the effects are just as far reaching.
“Transportation will undergo a huge transformation in the coming years,” says Jenny Könberg, Head of Intelligent Transport Systems at Ericsson. She adds that this transformation is driven by addressing three main challenges faced in transportation today: safety, efficiency, and sustainability. Improving all three through ICT will benefit people, business and society.
“There is a large need for ICT solutions to enable this transformation,” she says. “As a part of the Networked Society journey, we talk a lot about our forecast and vision of the amount of connected devices we expect to see by 2020, and we foresee that a large number of these connected devices will be within the transportation sector. Connectivity and smart communication solutions will address these three main challenges we face.”
Tomorrow starts now
Ericsson’s approach to connecting the transportation industry is focused on providing solutions in three stages: connected, cooperating and automated.
The first stage is all about connecting different elements of the transport ecosystem – vehicles such as cars, buses, and trains, and the infrastructure that supports their mobility like roads, traffic lights, bus stops, and bicycles – through wireless sensors.
Ericsson’s award-winning partnership with Volvo in connected vehicles, collaboration with leading shipping merchant Maersk, as well as the recently unveiled Connected Bus Stop illustrate just how advanced the company already is at this stage of enabling the transportation ecosystem through its innovative solutions.
“By connecting all of the individual moving parts within the ecosystem, we can get a holistic view of what is happening,” she says. “We are already seeing huge benefits for the sector, with a range of new business models opening up.”
These areas will be further rectified once all the individual connected parts cooperate. And here lies the biggest challenges in connecting the entire transport ecosystem – how do we integrate all of these different systems that are built in silos, and overcome the commercial and technological barriers that we face?
“The second stage, cooperating, is not only about connecting these silos, but also having all these individual parts of the transport ecosystem, including cars, drivers, passengers and traffic authorities talking to each other with two-way communication,” Könberg says.
“The biggest challenge we face is overcoming the barriers where these connected things are separated by the different systems they are connected to. But this is also an area that Ericsson specializes in. We partner across industries to enable system integration.”
The development of the architecture of cooperative systems for future mobility in projects like CONVERGE and CoCarX, as well as work with Scania and the Royal Institute of Technology to develop a transport lab for future infrastructure are a few examples of how Ericsson is helping drive this transformation.
The third and final stage, automated, is what traffic authorities and vehicle manufacturers have envisioned for years when they look at the future of transportation.
“To reach this level of automation and start to really see an impact on traffic safety and efficiency, we need to have all these ICT components in place to enable an integrated and efficient transport ecosystem,” Könberg says.
And automation isn’t only about self-driving vehicles – it also includes the perspective of multimodal travel from point A to point B using multiple modes of transportation, whereby the whole journey is automated, from planning, through to execution and payment.
Connected Traffic Cloud
A cooperative and automated transport environment is enabled with Ericsson’s Connected Traffic Cloud – a managed cloud solution that enables the sharing of data between connected vehicles, roadside sensors, drivers and road traffic authorities.
When road traffic authorities have access to real-time traffic and environmental information from vehicles on the road, and a direct channel to reach out to vehicles and drivers, it becomes easier to manage traffic.
How will connectivity, cooperation and automation affect how you travel in the future? From October 5-9, Ericsson will be at the 22nd Intelligent Transport Systems and Services World Congress in Bordeaux, France, to showcase its latest transportation innovations.