M2M in the car: Changing the way we drive
Although experiments with telephony in motor vehicles began as far back as 1946 (Western Electric and Bell Laboratories), it wasn't until the introduction on OnStar services by General Motors in 1995 that vehicle connectivity emerged from the realm of science fiction to reality providing for the first time: hands-free voice calling, automated emergency response, remote diagnostics and even control, stolen vehicle recover and related location-based services.
Since then, automakers everywhere have joined the fray. Whether strictly to enable emergency response or to develop new revenue streams, today's consumer is hard pressed to find a car brand not offering some sort of connected services. In fact, automotive and transportation applications have been and remain M2Ms fastest growing vertical market achieving in excess of 35% growth both in units and revenue with no foreseeable slowdown in the coming years.
As a result of all this connectivity in the car, all sorts of new business models are emerging which are likely to change the way we view car ownership and even driving itself in the coming years. Here is a short sampling of whats being done today and whats possible:
Usage-based insurance: No longer do insurers have to base our rates on guess work and complex algorithms taking into account the type of vehicle, the age and gender of the driver and. Today, insurance companies can retrieve real life, real-time driving data to customise rates to the individual driver.
eToll/Mobile Payments: M2M tolling devices have been around for a while, but today, with the integration of M2M functionality into the vehicle itself, your car authenticates itself to the toll booth and your charges can appear on your monthly service bill. With this same technology and thinking, it wont be long before your car pays for its own gas or electric charge itself, too.
Driver assist: It began with rear-view cameras and perimeter sensors to make parking easier, but todays driver assist now incorporates self-parking and adaptive cruise control to avoid accidents even when youre cut off in rush-hour traffic.
Serving engineering needs
The recent acquisition of NXPs Automotive On-board Platform (ATOP) expands Telits offering to serve the engineering needs of those developing these exciting new automotive applications.
ATOP is an integrated, certified component that has all the functionality needed to create stand-alone On-Board Units (OBUs) for road pricing, eCall, and other certified or authenticated services and applications. By integrating cellular and positioning technology with near-field communications, ATOP provides a comprehensive suite of communications tools and a roadmap to include new hot technologies to enable new vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications in compatible form factors.
On the software side there is an open, multi-application development environment based on IBMs J9 virtual machine, which can execute JAVA code and with three embedded processors theres plenty of processing overhead for even the most demanding automotive applications.