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Smart Automotive Telematics- Road to Intelligent Transportation in India

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Ashish Gulati

The next big thing after consumer electronics, computers, and mobile phones is the “Internet of Things” (IoT) which connects all of them in a homogenous way so that they can talk to each other.

An important component of IoT is Vehicle Telematics, an IoT application, an ecosystem in which real-time information and data available in vehicles is brought together seamlessly to provide rich and rewarding experiences to customers and businesses. Vehicle telematics has already evolved from “plain vanilla” location data for vehicle tracking or navigational applications to enterprise applications that harness data and analytics. Telematics services are enabling new driving experiences delivered through continuous connectivity. Services include a variety of entertainment, traffic and navigation services as well as car maintenance and safety features. . All these services together add up to what is also called the “Connected Car”. With the increasingly connected lifestyle of today’s consumer, drive time is one of the few places or times when the vehicle owner experiences limited access to connected assets. While some of us may reminisce fondly about a less connected lifestyle, the bulk of drivers have come to expect a robust connected experience anywhere and everywhere – and automakers are responding to these changes.

Real time access to data in the vehicle by definition promises an enhanced driving experience. As a result, automakers are pushing for more and more connectivity both within the vehicle itself to deliver enhanced “pilot” data to the driver, as well as connectivity to the Internet for traffic and infotainment. Smart modules now address automakers’ growing demand for high-speed mobile data connectivity to support applications like advanced diagnostics, infotainment and remote software updates. These modules have the ability to run complex applications without an external processor making it an ideal solution for the car makers to optimize cost and simplify manufacturing. Applications closely related to the data connection like hack-detection and prevention, dead-reckoning navigation, and software revision control and re-flashing for the ECU and other onboard electronic control units can all be developed or ported to run in these modules.

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Automakers that fully embrace telematics will be able to streamline operations, improve product quality and strengthen the customer connection to their brand – converting one-time product sales into long-term service oriented relationships. This is the road ahead to greater profitability and competitive advantage for manufacturers, OEMs and other stakeholders in the massive global automotive ecosystem.

Telematics opens the road to intelligent transportation. The ultimate goal of telematics is to enable a vehicle to communicate to nearby vehicles and even the infrastructure itself – sensing lane markings, curbs and other vehicles close by and providing enhanced roadway safety. Telematics is not only going to improve driver safety but also deliver new services.  Telematics can also help address carmakers’ concerns that tomorrow’s buyers could have very different needs and expectations for their vehicles, including how much technology they want to own. The end-game scenario is to move from what are today many stand-alone systems to a situation where there is a full connectivity between cars and infrastructure – necessary elements to enable automated driving. Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are applications that are already being incorporated by the Auto manufacturers. These applications use sensors to detect the position of the vehicle in front and in adjacent lanes and create an awareness zone around the car. Building a telematics infrastructure will require more than just vehicle hardware and electronics, but an ecosystem of connected cars with tens of billions of sensors requiring telecommunications networks, cloud infrastructure, data storage capacity, integration with applications, and well-designed human-machine interfaces (HMI) so consumers can comfortably interact with the telematics system.

In India surging economic growth and a rising middle class are driving consumption and domestic demand for vehicle ownership in India. The economic progress combined with the smart cities mission is establishing India as a new market for connected navigation and telematics services. Smart Mobility is a key characteristic that will play a pivotal role in realizing the country’s ‘Smart Cities Mission’. Unlike its early days, the telematics system today is not limited to just tracking a path on the map but connectivity and telematics have the potential to safeguard the fleet and improve the overall transportation infrastructure. To improve overall transportation some key factors are playing a crucial role in advancing telematics technology as a response to such challenges. Firstly, rising role of IoT where consumers want vehicles that are safer, entertaining, more efficient and better equipped to cope with congested urban driving environments. Secondly, rising awareness amongst buyers over the necessity and importance of connected services which will drive the market demand for telematics in coming years and lastly, the growing demand for automotive safety where the current telematics environment is not only capable of reporting data on driving behaviour but also can track vehicle performance, sending information pertaining to maintenance issues, vehicle location and crash reports.

Fully autonomous vehicles will turn cars into mobile extensions of our homes and offices, completely changing the driving experience. Now is the time to capitalize on the promise of a future with connected cars, and establish a solid foundation for the future digital innovations that are sure to come. Telematics will introduce a convergence of multiple connected processes. Automakers can greatly benefit by not restricting these innovations to the basic capabilities of this technology.


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