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Reinventing transportation with IoT integration

The beginning of the modern transportation era is often marked in 1908 with Henry Ford’s creation of the assembly line, the Ford Model T and the boom of invention that it erupted shortly after. From this spark of innovation, the next 100 years would prove to be one of evolution for the way we get from point A to point B. Today, we’re standing on the brink of another transformative era with the integration of the internet of things into vehicles across the transportation industry.

The acceleration of IoT development is at an all-time high, and largely responsible for this growth is the automotive industry. IoT has already swept the market as the smart car rises to mainstream commoditization. In fact, Gartner predicts the production of new IoT-equipped automobiles will rise to 61 million in 2020. Despite the smart cars’ quick rise to popularity, these automobiles only make up a fraction of IoT uses within the broader transportation industry.

Currently used by trains, boats and bikes, IoT is driving transportation into the next modern era. In personal, shared and public travel, it is increasing safety and efficiency, cutting costs, and improving the quality of how we get around.

One if by land and push notification if by sea?

As one of the oldest forms of transportation, the growing use of IoT is quickly disrupting the boating industry. Technological developments in delivering IoT services are driving these systems to market, offering boat owners and fleet managers innovative and interesting solutions to many of the problems faced on the water. IoT systems provide better control of vessels through quicker access to information, ultimately creating a safer, more efficient boating experience.

As one of the leaders in maritime technology, Navico is now bringing IoT to boaters with its GoFree suite. Using these systems, boaters and fleet managers can get real-time location and system data for safer and more efficient travel. GoFree Track, a connected hardware system installed to the vessel, enables the boater to track critical system information in real time. This device monitors vessel functions such as engine hours, battery status, oil pressure, coolant temperature and fuel consumption. Then, using IoT connectivity, this data is relayed back to GoFree Vessel’s online module which aggregates and stores the data where it can be accessed at any time.

This system provides users with information as it is being collected, meaning a boater can be warned immediately if there are any issues with the mechanics of their vessel. It also stores data to enable analytics of processes like fuel consumption and navigation, so boaters or fleet managers can predict energy and cost-efficient routes. Overall, by equipping these vehicles with IoT systems, boaters have better access and control over their vessel resulting in safer navigation and more efficient travel.

Two-wheeled transportation — a green solution

Ride-sharing is an economic and environmentally beneficial alternative to public transportation. Companies like Uber and Lyft have shown that these models can be an efficient way to reduce the number of cars on the road and eliminate the stress of parking and vehicle maintenance. Smart bikes are providing similar services in cities, giving users a healthier ride-sharing option with the same economic, environmental benefits.

Mobike, a smart bicycle sharing company, is pioneering the connected bike market in Singapore with this public transportation alternative. Using its smartphone app, users can find a Mobike station near their location and navigate to their desired destination using IoT-enabled GPS. After they arrive, riders use the app to lock their bike at another nearby Mobike hub and can be on their way.

Connected bicycles are beneficial to both the rider and their community. These connected vehicles are efficient in solving problems for riders like bike theft and vehicle maintenance. Using the bikes in congested areas additionally benefits city function by improving traffic and reducing pollution and storage issues. IoT developments in public travel such as smart bicycles are reflective of a broader shift in transportation as we enter an era focused on creating smarter city solutions. Relying on connected devices and IoT technology to manage municipal assets, such as methods of transportation, indicate the overall trend of IoT as a necessary system to improve daily life.

Railways and the evolution of safer public travel

Trains and subways have long provided a transportation solution to areas with high volumes of traffic. In fact, in NYC alone the MTA logs more than 3.4 billion passenger trips each year. Despite their conventional status, trains are also being modernized through IoT innovations.

Deploying IoT systems strengthens communication and data sharing needs, keeping public traffic running smoothly and avoiding delays or malfunctions. Being able to access vital information in real time increases situational awareness for conductors and rail operators. Using IoT systems they can determine location, direction and speed of the trains to prevent incidents such as derailments or collisions.

Although public transportation is often cited as a safe alternative to driving, unfortunately incidents can happen when there is a lack of situational awareness. IoT can become an increasingly integral asset to railway maintenance as instant information and predictive analysis create better situational awareness, improving functionality and safety for passengers.

The transportation industry has long been at the forefront of driving innovation in IoT. Although IoT solutions may be best known for consumer trends like the smart home or the connected car, we’re seeing this technology reinvent all aspects of transportation to create greener, safer and more effective ways to travel.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.