On March 12, 2014 the World Wide Web (www) officially turned 25. That the milestone passed largely unnoticed shows just how ingrained the web has become into the fabric of society and business.
There is now a whole generation who have known nothing but a WWW world.
For the WWW generation starting to drive in a car that is older than five years or a model that is at the back of the specification line is like travelling back in time. They go from being connected 24/7 to suffering from withdrawal symptoms because they are out of touch with the world and their only messages are coming from the speedometer, rev counter and temperature gauge â€“ all so â€œretroâ€. It is little wonder that they cause accidents by texting while driving.
As we see in this edition of Automotive Industries the connected generation is now influencing the design of cars. There are few, if any, references to horsepower and torque by the people we have interviewed. Instead, the OEMs and Tier suppliers talk about megabits per second connectivity and the place of the car in the â€œInternet of things,â€ or IoT
In the IoT people, cars animals and objects autonomously communicate with each other using unique identifiers (IP address) over a network. A tire sensor signalling pressure to the on-board computer communicates via the IoT.
As does a bus signalling a traffic light that it is approaching. Increasingly, vehicles are talking to each other on the road as the authorities and the industry work together to try to improve the productivity of the existing infrastructure. In short, we need to accommodate more vehicles on the same roads, and with greater levels of safety. To do that, the human driver needs technical assistance in the form of a connected car in an increasingly connected world. According to Gartner there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the IoT by 2020. ABI Research puts the number at more than 30 billion devices (â€œthingsâ€ in Cisco speak) wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020.
Cisco expects the number of â€œthingsâ€ in the world to reach 1.8 trillion in 2020. The number is growing at 3% annually. Based on the assumption that connectivity costs will decline by 25% annually from 2013-2020, Cisco â€œconservatively assume the price-elasticity of demand to be ~1 and consequently expect annual growth in number of things to be 25% CAGR during 2013- 20. Based on these assumptions, we estimate that the number of connected objects to reach ~50 billion in 2020 (or 2.7% of the total things in the world),â€ says the company. Readers wanting to see just how fast the IoT is evolving can click on to Ciscoâ€™s rapidly revolving â€œconnections counterâ€ in the Cisco newsroom. There is no doubt that the motor industry will help the wheel spin even faster in the future. As a sector which has traditionally been at the sharp end of technology, the motor industry is quickly moving to the lead in the connectivity field. The challenges are such that few other industries would have the capacity or willingness to tackle them.
Connected cars will have to share roads with vehicles that are completely unconnected for at least another decade. Mobile technology is also evolving rapidly. Todayâ€™s 3G cars may well be too slow for a LTE information highway. Then thereâ€™s the regular updating of the on-board software in order to ensure that vehicles are both safe and meet increasingly strict emission regulations. The good news is that the industry is already addressing all these challenges.
Once again it has embraced new technology and is enhancing it for the benefit of its customers â€“ the millions of people who daily rely on cars, buses and trucks to transport themselves and the freight that keeps the world moving. Over the next few years they will do it far more efficiently as vehicles slot into the IoT.