As the modern-day automobile becomes more and more dependent upon electronics, designers are being faced with new challenges in power control, advanced communications, and sensing applications.

Circuit protection – specifically, that which is being designed to prevent damage caused by hazardous overvoltages and overcurrents – has evolved to maintain pace with the vehicle transition to what is essentially a supercomputer on wheels nowadays.

Littelfuse has put together an automotive electronics application guide, authored by Carlos Castro, which details how best to protects one’s designs. It provides 15 example application diagrams, including motor control, lighting systems, battery management, infotainment, navigation, communication, and more, and guides the reader through proper circuit protection technology for each type of electrical threat.

From a section within the article, entitled “The Future is Now”:
Whether powered by gas-electric, fuel cell electric, diesel-electric, Li-ion polymer, or ultra-capacitor engines, electric vehicles are challenging automakers to address higher energy applications, including Battery Management Systems and onboard charging systems. Autonomous (self-driving) vehicles are already making appearances on the road. Similarly, connected vehicles are offering Internet access for connecting with devices both inside and outside the car. A range of new protocols are emerging:

• When there is the potential for a collision, V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) communications notify the driver or autonomous vehicle to take evasive action.

• V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) communications allow the traffic system to collect data that can be used to control traffic light timing, allowing more efficient traffic flow.

• BroadR-Reach technology allows multiple in-vehicle systems to access information simultaneously over unshielded single twisted-pair cable.

• HDBaseT has historically been used in the consumer and high-end A/V market to provide high-bandwidth, long-reach capabilities. A new, automotive version has been introduced to provide 6Gbps throughput for in-vehicle convergence of high-def A/V, USB, ethernet, feature controls and power on a single pair of wires.

The Internet of Things has proven its value across a wide swath of markets, but perhaps most visibly in the automotive industry. Cars are ubiquitous. Almost everyone has one, or at least has one in the family, and they’re a point of pride for teenagers and shipping magnates alike. The connected car is only the latest in a long line of automotive innovations.

IoT applications are far ranging in the automotive world, and the technology is being used for entertainment, for safety, and for efficiency. At its core, IoT is simply about making the world more connected. In a way, that’s what cars do, too. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the two technologies have merged together so well.

Here are some of the most important things currently happening in the space. New technologies and applications are continuously being developed and released, and the automotive world is only becoming more and more intermingled with the Internet of Things.

Optimizing Pay by Mile Insurance

It’s an age-old problem of car insurance. A person who only drives a few miles a week obviously has a lower risk of accident than someone who commutes to another city, so why should they both have to pay the same amount for coverage?

Although traditional carriers have been offering low-mileage discounts for some time, the problem is really one of logistics. Until recently, the technology simply did not exist for an insurance carrier to cost-effectively keep track of a vehicle’s mileage. Asking the insured driver to send in regular reports of their driving habits is inconvenient and often inaccurate, and asking the driver to bring in the car for inspections is simply cost-prohibitive. Both have been tried, and both failed to catch on with the consumer market.

IoT technologies have finally made the common sense insurance model of paying by the mile attainable. Firms like Metromile send drivers a smart dongle to plug into the OBD-II port on their cars. The device, free with most plans, keeps track of the vehicle’s location and mileage. As an added bonus, it also alerts the driver to any engine service codes the car reports, and allows them to locate their car using a smartphone app.

The application is exciting, allowing drivers to turn car insurance into a scalable expense. It may not be surprising to learn that Metromile has become the officially sanctioned insurance carrier for Uber, as their drivers can easily pay for only as much insurance as they actually use in the course of their work.

Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars are no longer the exclusive domain of George Jetson, whose flying car was depicted piloting itself around as far back as 1962. Google famously launched their Self-Driving Car Project in 2011, and they have been busily testing them since. The company has also been paving the legal road for autonomous vehicles, lobbying and petitioning state legislatures in California, Nevada, and elsewhere.

Although the idea of a driverless car might make one nervous, the truth is the cars are much safer than traditional automobiles. Using advanced radar and artificial intelligence, the so-called Google Cars can see dangers and pedestrians far quicker than a human driver, and can even detect them behind obstructions like other vehicles. A Google Car hit a bus earlier this year, but the truly notable thing about the incident is that it was the first of its kind.

Google isn’t the only corporation pioneering the technology. Ford, in what was perhaps a publicity stunt, but an impressive one, recently tested one of its own self-driving cars in complete darkness. The vehicles use LIDAR, a laser-based technology that operates like radar, to allow the autonomous cars to “drive just as well as they do in the light of day”.

Other manufacturers like Tesla and even IBM are engaging in their own research into autonomous vehicles. It seems likely that in the relatively near future, hands-free will take on a whole new meaning when it comes to cars. The trend might be for the best, as activities like texting and Pokémon hunting continue to cause accidents and unsafe driving.

Mobile Device Integration

In today’s technological world, the only thing more ubiquitous than the car is the smartphone. Phone makers and car manufacturers have been working to marry the two products for many years, dating back to the first hands-free car kit, which was released in 2001.

Recently, car and mobile device integration have advanced by leaps and bounds. Apple CarPlay and Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Automotive are just two of the APIs and platforms available to make our phones work better in our cars.

Going far beyond phone calls, the platforms have the potential to provide smart navigation based on simple commands (“Take me to the best Chinese food within a 10 minute drive”), fuel efficiency based on learning a driver’s techniques and habits, and even automatically calling the police and paramedics in the event of a crash.

Recently, Apple is confirmed to be investing even more heavily in the automotive industry. The Cupertino titan appears to be developing its own connected car from the ground up. Little is known at this point, but the firm’s Bob Mansfield has been tapped to see the project through.

Consumer Installed Upgrades

In the meantime, car and tech enthusiasts can enjoy IoT technologies in the vehicles they already own. Firms like ZubieMojio, and Dash are releasing OBD-II dongles that provide driving tips, location services, and even advanced engine diagnostics. Best of all, the Zubie acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing passengers to enjoy fast browsing while on the road.

These are cutting-edge consumer devices, and tend to be highly programmable. The Zubie, for example, can automatically populate a spreadsheet with driving records. The data it collects includes distance, average speed, and even fuel consumption. The result is a data nerd’s delight, allowing anyone to optimize and sharpen their driving habits to a fine point.

The automotive industry is one area where the IoT already has a firm hold, and is not likely to let go anytime soon. As the technology continues to mature and more and more innovative applications are devised, our cars will only become more capable, more connected, and even more user-friendly. It’s an exciting time to own a car.

Source: iottechnologies

The automobile industry is among the largest and most vital industries in the world. Increasingly this vast industry is undergoing disruption. The idea of self-driving cars has taken hold across the globe.

Existing technology makes it possible to create such cars and is leading to a frenzy among automakers and technology companies to develop autonomous vehicles. A leading market research firm estimates that by the end of 2020, there will be more than 250 Mn connected vehicles on the world’s roads.

This doesn’t mean there will be 250 Mn autonomous vehicles, however, it means that the number of vehicles that have IoT devices inside them will grow to 250 Mn.

IoT devices will grow in importance by 2020 in the following ways.

What IoT Devices Are Commonly Used Inside Cars?

A number of cars already have IoT devices, for instance, many vehicles come with built-in navigation systems like Google Maps. The platform on which Google Maps works is an IoT device because it can send and receive information from the internet.

Other IoT technologies like infotainment systems will begin replacing cars even recently installed entertainment systems. More cars will come with built-in infotainment technology that allows passengers to listen to music on Spotify or stream video from popular video streaming sites.

This will negate the need for connecting phones to entertainment systems in cars as is often done today.

The Road Ahead

While the proliferation of IoT devices on Indian roads will certainly happen far more gradually than it will in developed countries, it will nonetheless happen. Within a decade most new cars sold in urban centers in India will come fitted with more IoT devices. In developed countries, there are already cars that come fitted with self-driving technology.

This will only increase next year. For instance, the number of cars that will come pre-fitted with technologies like stop-and-go autopilot will increase by 2020. Stop-and-go autopilot uses IoT devices like sensors allowing a car to self navigate during a traffic jam by moving according to how cars ahead are moving.

While this technology will become more commonplace next year in Europe and North America, the day isn’t far when it will be found in Indian cars as well.

New technologies like predictive maintenance will become more commonplace by next year. While once again less so in India than overseas. Predictive maintenance is an exciting technology and key to the overall smooth functioning of an automobile.

It comprises of IoT sensors in vehicles that monitor functional metrics of the vehicle. What makes this technology so useful is that car owners whose vehicles are fitted with this technology are less likely to be caught off guard by breakdowns.  IoT devices monitor all the vital components in a car and can predict accurately whether a component is in danger of malfunctioning. When there is a possibility of a component malfunction, the car informs its owner.

IoT sensors will also be used to transmit information about a car to its manufacturer. This will allow manufacturers to monitor all systems connected by IoT devices and in case of an impending malfunction, inform the owner of the car. Because manufacturers will have information about every vehicle they’ve produced, they will be able to forewarn owners of defects or faults that have arisen in identical models.

Other IoT devices used for security, surveillance, and safety will be better integrated into automobiles. While such devices have been around for decades, their sophistication will increase in the years ahead. For instance next year, behavioral biometrics may make it possible for car owners to unlock their vehicles using gait walking and other markers.

A phone would become familiar with the owner’s gait and using other biometric markers would unlock his or her car. Such technology is certainly cutting edge but by next year more vehicles that incorporate behavioral biometrics will be seen on the planet’s roads. IoT devices will be crucial to making behavioral biometrics a success.

The manufacture of IoT devices is already a huge industry. Over the next few years, more IoT devices will be found embedded in cars. That they will be used to enhance and enrich the experience of owning automobiles is a given, what is less certain is how quickly or slowly they permeate in India and whether they will eventually lead to a world where automobile ownership becomes more widespread or unnecessary.

Source: inc42