Automotive research: Autonomous, Self-driving, and IOT Connected Cars
As with almost everything now, the connection is highly valued, and the automotive industry is not far behind on this. Researchers have conducted research on circuits, sensors, and communications and have integrated these aspects slowly to develop the modern cards of today. Aside from the car itself, researchers have prioritized studying vehicle control systems, software, data privacy and security, and artificial intelligence.
Connected cars have become the next big thing. Embedded cars have built-in antennas and chipsets. Tethered connections allow drivers to connect their smartphones to the vehicles. Because of its popularity, it is expected that around 381 million connected cars will be on the road by 2020.
The first in the industry to bring connected car features to market was General Motors. GM worked with Motorola to develop a system that would get emergency help in case of a vehicular accident. After this, the next development was integrating GPS locations. Many manufacturers followed suit with their own versions of the safety program. In 2003, there were additional features such as directions and even vehicle status reports. Audi also offered Wi-Fi hotspots in 2014.
Research on connected cars consist of the following sub-areas:
- Mobility management
- Vehicle management
- Driver assistance
This has further led to the development of automated vehicles, with areas on lane detection, obstacle detection, sensors, navigation, and path planning among others. Toyota has their Lane-Keeping Assist (LKA) which can drive on the highway, though Toyota still requires drivers to hold onto the wheel. At the University of Parma in Italy, a team built an autonomous car that was tested in 2010 in different countries from Italy to Shanghai. This test had great impact and is considered a milestone in automotive research.
The University of Michigan, in 2017, has also launched their driverless bus to shuttle passengers around campus. The university continues to be one of the leaders in the automotive industry. General Motors has also announced their production of more than a hundred self-driving Chevy Bolts. They already have 50 that are tested in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Nvidia has expressed interest to work with Volvo and Volkswagen to develop high-tech chips for self-driving cars.
Artificial intelligence is also on the way, as all the major automotive firms try to come up with the best AI. Nvidia and Bosch has collaborated with the goal to build a supercomputer that will work with the Deep Learning technology. Adding to the competition, BMW and IBM have joined to add cognitive capabilities to vehicles so that they can communicate with one another.
As these developments continue to materialize, research on necessary software and control systems must not be left behind. These have to be updated to catch up with other aspects of the technology. These include security-related software, cybersecurity, as well as a central control. Connectedness means it can be prone to hacking if security is not secure, so researchers continue to study the best protection and security designs.
Connected Car Research Institutes:
- Autonomous and Connected Car Research at Waterloo Engineering
- Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN)
- Autonomous Vehicle Research Centre, Coventry University
- Connected Vehicle Technology, University of Michigan
- Connected Vehicles and Smart Transportation, The University of Toronto
- Intelligent Transportation Systems, The University of Texas at Austin
- Intelligent Vehicles Research, The University of Warwick
- Self-driving cars, University of Leeds
- Stanford Autonomous Driving Team
- Udacity, self-driving car nanodegree program
- Waymo, Self-driving technology by Google