Connected Cars and IoT to Bring Safer, Less Stressful Driving

driving, navigation, gps
The other day I was driving in an unfamiliar city. While my GPS system was invaluable in getting me to my destination, it was still a very stressful drive. At one point, I counted 6 signs directly ahead of me – plus emergency barriers, and when I looked to my left, I saw an additional 12 signs. That combined with the buses that obstructed my view, potholes, bicyclists, pedestrians, construction workers, and many other vehicles was a lot of information to keep track of. Wouldn’t it be great if our navigation systems could help us when we’re in situations of information overload like that?

We know that self-driving cars are going to have to collect and process information like that in real time in order to navigate through complex environments. And we expect that many of those capabilities will be incorporated much sooner into connected cars to help human drivers navigate more safely and with less stress.

We expect to see Smart City infrastructure that will provide information such as current road conditions to keep the driver informed. Smart Cities will provide smart traffic forecasting using predictive analytics to look at current conditions and past traffic flow information to predict where congestion is expected. These services would communicate alternative routes to connected cars to keep traffic flowing smoothly.

Similarly, if there’s a dangerous situation ahead such as a big curve on a road that is slick due to precipitation, a connected car could transmit that information to a central location to help other drivers. On the receiving end of this information, a connected car would alert the driver and automatically slow the car down to provide greater stability.

At DXC Technology, we’ve already piloted several connected car safety features with our partners in the Cape2Cape 2.0 Challenge, a 19,000 km race across 21 countries from South Africa to Norway. The team completed the course in a world-record 9 days, 4 hours and 8 minutes.

The race covers diverse terrain and varying road conditions. With accelerometers on the front and rear axles of the car, we were able to detect the current road surface, recognizing impediments such as speed bumps and potholes. Using data analytics, we analysed this data to provide real-time information and context-aware decision support systems, making driving easier and safer.

Using similar technology, future drivers of connected cars will be warned about the next pothole so they can adjust their speed or change their route to avoid the rough road. The information about road conditions may also be provided to municipalities so they can prioritize their road maintenance efforts. Road condition sensing technology will also enable autonomous vehicles to adjust their speed and driving style to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers.

During the Cape2Cape race, we were also able to collect data from the car such as braking and acceleration behaviour to analyse “driving style.” In the future this type of information will provide insights to automotive manufacturers on how their cars’ features are being used, enabling engineers to optimize the next generation design based on real-world data. Driving style recognition will also allow OEMs to provide special offers to individual drivers, such as performance tires to provide more stability to those that drive more aggressively, and may enable insurance companies to provide more attractive rates to those that drive more safely.

For more information, see our video about the Cape2Cape adventure.

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John Brennan

Author: John Brennan

John Brennan, Manufacturing and Automotive Strategist, DXC Technology

John is responsible for automotive sales in the United Kingdom. He has spent the last fifteen years selling and delivering analytics solutions for clients such as Airbus, Bentley Motors, and Heineken and is based in England.