Connected cars are without a doubt among the best positioned IoT devices to provide insight into what is happening in the world. Active safety and autonomous driving are driving the adoption of camera sensors, which can provide rich, semantic insight into the environment of any connected car.
Vehicles will also be equipped with more powerful embedded computing, not only in terms of advanced driver assistance systems, but also to provide richer infotainment experiences, providing the necessary space to process sensor data and gain insights in the field. Unlike a static smart sensor, such as a traffic camera, connected cars roam the world – with each individual vehicle potentially providing insight into situations unfolding over many miles away.
In addition, connected cars are expected to be one of the first adopters of 5G in the IoT as automakers, aware of the longevity of their models and the potential for network demise, try to future-proof their connected car designs.
While automakers are well positioned to generate a new revenue stream for monetization, passenger cars have one major weakness: poor use. While I was writing this article, my car was parked outside – it didn’t generate useful insights for anyone. The same probably applies to your car now. Passenger vehicle occupancy (the amount of time a vehicle is in use) is notoriously low — usually around 5 percent or eight to nine hours a week.
Conversely, smart mobility and transit vehicles, which are used in fleets, have a much higher occupancy rate. A city bus can easily run for eight to ten hours a day. A typical Uber driver can be on the road for seven hours a day, with limits to enforce rest periods after 10 or 12 hours of shifts, and even a typical e-scooter will be used more in a week than most passenger cars.