Roads Without Fools: How New Auto Techs Will Change the World
The Future Is Here
In Autumn 2015 car enthusiasts from all over the world were discussing Tesla’s new feature, which is an autopilot. Autopilot-equipped cars can already be seen on the road - they can accelerate, brake and maneuver without any assistance from the user. According to analysts’ estimate, first fully ‘self-driving’ car that will be able to take its owner from point A to point B will appear on the market by 2019. By 2020 global roads will have up to 10 million cars with autopilot.
Before that most cars will be able to ‘talk’ to each other, municipal authorities and their owners. According to an estimate made by analysts from BI Intelligent, 75% of new cars globally will be equipped with Internet access by 2020. And sales of ‘connected cars’ will exceed $1.3 bln.
Russia is keeping up with this trend - sales of new LADA Vesta by AutoVAZ will begin on November 25. The car will be equipped with a road accident emergency notification system.
Why do we need it?
Connecting motor vehicles to a Global network opens great opportunities in terms of collection and analysis of important data. For instance, data about engine failures, engine on/off, acceleration, braking, fuel consumption, adhering to speed limits, etc.
Such information can be used by people, companies and even other cars to tackle various problems. A typical situation - a car is moving in a dense urban traffic, driver’s view is obstructed by a truck or a van in front. All of a sudden someone in front slams the brakes on and tires start screeching - there’s just no time to react.
However, this time gap may be increased if information that someone slammed on the brakes or passed the red light is transmitted to the nearby car in real time.
It is also possible to save precious time, which can be enough to save a human’s life, if a signal about accident that took place is immediately transmitted from car to emergency services.
Help is Coming
Governments of many countries clearly understand the important of such efforts. In Russia, for example, a project “Era GLONASS” has been launched on January 1, 2015 that will create a system of automatic notification of emergency response services about accidents and emergencies. All new cars in Russia must be equipped with emergency response system by 2017 while it will be mandatory for passenger transportation companies to have the equipment already in 2016.
In the event of an accident, a terminal installed in the vehicle determines its coordinates via satellite network. After that the data is transmitted to “Era GLONASS” system and from there to emergency services that decide how they will react to the accident. It was announced that the signal will reach the system approximately in 10 seconds.
According to some estimates implementation of “Era GLONASS” will allow to reduce the number of road accident casualties in the country by around 4 thousand people. Russia is following this direction alongside the USA, where the Department of Transportation is also developing a plan that will require car manufacturers to install telematics collection modules in all new cars in the years to come. Installation of telematics modules by 2020 will add to the cost of a car not more than a couple hundred dollars.
Further - more
Connection to a single network of cars and traffic lights will allow city authorities to control the traffic more efficiently. And this one is not a bare theory: Eindhoven city authorities, the Netherlands, implemented a smarter traffic pilot project together with IBM.
During the trial, 200 participating cars were equipped with a device containing telematics platform that gathers braking, acceleration and location data that were further transmitted to the municipal analytic center. All that enabled city authorities to receive information in real time about road accidents and jams as well as quickly respond to such changes by, for example, adjusting traffic lights or speed limits on certain parts of the road.
Currently there’s an app called Etransport.rf operating in several Russian cities - Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Ekaterinburg and Kazan, that uses information about location of buses, trolleybuses and trams received from GLONASS sensors, and then calculates the arrival time.
Telematics services can also be applied to optimize public transport in cities. Authories can monitor traffic rules violation by bus drivers and optimize their routes, which will increase the overall safety level for all passengers as well as reduce the traffic on roads.
Large-scale implementation of telematics services will allow careful car owners to save a lot. Most obvious example is car insurance. Currently many insurance companies test out pilot projects implementing similar systems so that based on information collected about driving style and overall vehicle usage (Usage Based Insurance, UBI) they offer car owners custom insurance rates. And it makes sense: if a person drives less and does it carefully, why should he/she pay as much as a car enthusiast who continuously uses his/her car?
According to Ptolemus, analytic company, by 2020 global UBI market will exceed €50 bln. Company’s experts also noted in their report that in years to come similar insurance products will gain ground in Europe, Australia, Canada and Russia.
In our country such insurance products are introduced by such insurance companies like “Alfa Iinsurance”, “Rossgosstrakh” and “Ingosstrakh”.
In addition, installation of telematics module can keep car owners informed of malfunctions before they lead to a more serious problem as well as get recommendations on changing driving style, for example to reduce fuel consumption or accident probability.
Many technologies of ‘Internet of cars’ provide substantial savings, so the delay in their implementation seems unlikely.