Avoiding traffic jams, rough braking
Another case we can envisage is that a connected car connected to the Internet (cloud) can collect real-time traffic data, images, and route information and analyze the data to predict the right time for the driver to leave home or the office to avoid jams.
Suppose you are about to leave your office in the evening, and you get an alert on your smartphone from your car (parked nearby): "There's a huge jam just outside the parking lot. The route we take is clogged and won't open before 8:30 p.m." This information won't just save your time. It will also save a lot of fuel that you would waste in traffic.
The technology could be very simple. Your car connects to the cloud to fetch real-time data on traffic situations, analyzes the data for, say, the last 30 days, and predicts the traffic conditions. It could be as simple as your car sensor reading the jam just outside the parking lot and informing you of it.
Another case could involve car subsystems connected with one another to share and analyze important information such as tire pressure, optimum speed, and oil levels and alert the driver to take corrective action in time.
Another possibility is to use the onboard diagnostics interface and a global positioning system. The diagnostics unit gets the vehicle's braking information from the braking system and the deceleration rate from the speedometer. The vehicle position (location data) is obtained from the GPS device. This data can be collected when the emergency brake is applied, encoded using the security module, and transmitted wirelessly to other vehicles to avoid collisions and rough braking during a traffic jam.
Another possibility: The sensors in the car could alert the driver of a sudden obstruction.
Identifying shortest path to a destination and parking lots
In addition to the use cases explained above, smartphones with advanced features could help display real-time traffic information through an intelligent transport system that will optimize fuel efficiency by identifying the shortest path to the desired destination, finding alternative paths to avoid traffic jams, and identifying the nearest parking lots.
Increasing fuel efficiency via car efficiency and driver behavior
Fuel efficiency could be increased by improving vehicle efficiency and driver behavior. This could be done by retrieving onboard diagnostics through the OBDII interface, collecting and analyzing data, identifying possible parameters for improvement (e.g., the fuel injection or fuel rail pressure control system), and notifying the owner via SMS or display alert while driving.
It could also automatically make an appointment at the nearest service center or provide email/SMS alert at regular intervals and raise high alert warning to avoid serious mechanical issue (such as an open loop due to insufficient engine temperature/system failure/fuel cut due to deceleration).
Collecting and analyzing data from the OBDII interface and sending alerts could also be done to improve driver behavior (avoid rash driving, watch the speed/acceleration, apply continuous brakes, etc.).
Wireless connectivity, data analytics (big data), sensors, intelligent transport systems, and navigation systems (maps, Google Earth, etc.) can all work together to provide usable real-time information to optimize speed and help avoid traffic jams, rough braking, and unnecessary waste of fuel at stoplights.
In the near future, when semi-autonomous cars become a reality, these technologies can be integrated into self-driving systems to help the car drive intelligently.
— Vijay Anand is director of engineering at Aricent.