"For the vehicle, a number of parameters are captured to monitor vehicle health. Messages are sent to a customer, in advance, if the vehicle needs maintenance or a particular component or part needs a check-up. This prevents sudden break-down and related inconvenience," said Lingraju Sawkar, GM, Global Technology Services, IBM India.
Advances in the development of autonomous vehicles—also known as driverless cars, robot cars or self-driving cars—are happening at a blistering pace. American tech entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO at Tesla, Elon Musk, asserts that his company’s vehicles will have “full self-driving” capability by the end of 2020. Closer home, the British carmaker MG Motor has brought to the roads the Hector, India’s first internet car with 50-plus connected features. The Hector also gets a 10.4-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, automatic climate control, cruise control, coloured MID, full LED lighting all around, and much more.
Frankly, the four-wheeler is in the midst of a major transformation, where technology and data has taken over. The journey for connected cars — those that can connect to devices inside and outside, even those at home—has already started. Again, latest car models sport in-built GPS. The embedded systems allow you to play music through Bluetooth and link third-party services like Apple’s CarPlay and Mirrorlink to connect the smartphone’s interface to the car.
A key innovation involving connected cars is vehicle diagnostics and support. This is done by collecting data about various aspects of the driver and the vehicle. IBM’s Connected Vehicle software platform, which works on the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, requires an Internet-of-Things (IoT) device installed on a vehicle to collect data on driving behaviour, driving style which also indicates road conditions, vehicle components performance, etc. Data relating to driving habits and behaviour, such as harsh braking, sudden acceleration, speed while taking turns, driving speed with relation to permitted speeds, frequency of brakes, help create the driver’s behaviour profile.
“A number of parameters are captured to monitor vehicle health. Messages are sent to a customer, in advance, if the vehicle needs maintenance or a particular component or part needs a check-up. This prevents sudden break-down and related inconvenience. It also improves the vehicle’s useful life,” says Lingraju Sawkar, general manager, Global Technology Services, IBM India. Plus, there are features like the ability of your family to track you while you are in your vehicle, or in case if there’s an accident. An accident could also be relayed to a call centre which can, in turn, inform medical health providers.
The data collected on vehicle parts performance can be analysed and hence suitable design changes can be done, which Sawkar says one manufacturer (In India, IBM has Maruti and Honda cars as clients), using IBM’s software, is doing. “For example, there’s a specific number of thrusts a brake pedal can do in its lifetime, so if the brake pedal is supposed to do one million thrusts and the data collected from the cars on road shows that most of them are doing around half of that, then the manufacturer can bring in relevant changes to the manufacturing and design process,” he adds.
Other stakeholders in the value chain could also use this data. “Carmakers will be keen on embedding this technology for cognitive insight into new manufacturing techniques to improve service delivery and reduce cost. The data will also be used by insurance companies and road and transport authorities,.” says Vishwesh Padmanabhan, partner and head, Digital Consulting, KPMG India.
Karthikeyan Natarajan, global head, Engineering, IoT and Enterprise Mobility, Tech Mahindra, adds, “Transport authorities could seek some of the data available so they can better manage the conditions of roads and also aid in traffic management.”
(With inputs from Aniruddha Ghosh)