India is one of the countries where the urbanization process is an integral part of development. The country’s urban population is growing at 2.3% annually, and is expected to double to 814 million by 2050. About 75% of India’s national income is projected to come from cities by 2030. Based on current estimates , the infrastructure necessary to achieve the planned goals of the mobile urban population in 2050 has not even been developed yet. Urbanet.com estimates the investment gap to be as high as $827 billion (Rs 64,57,216 crore). Smart cities will significantly reduce this burden by harnessing the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote sustainable development in urban areas.
At the heart of these smart cities is sustainable mobility. By 2022, India overtook Germany to become the fourth largest car market in the world. And the country’s auto industry is worth over $100 billion (Rs 7,80,800 crore), contributing to 8% of the country’s total exports. It accounts for 2.3% of India’s GDP and is set to become the third largest in the world by 2025. However, transportation is also a major contributor to air pollution. While India is fully geared towards meeting net-zero emissions and committed to sustainability, efforts are not keeping up with the country’s growing economy and population.
But the future of smart cities depends on connected, environmentally friendly, autonomous and personalized mobility. Challenges arise particularly when residents (and travellers) have to balance carbon reduction targets. Currently, the mobility industry is exploring all avenues to realize these ambitions, especially through innovations in AI, big data, and concepts such as shared mobility and smart infrastructure.
When technology is harnessed to manage multiple forms of transportation more efficiently, resiliently and sustainably, mobility becomes smart. Take, for example, an Internet of Things (IoT)-based dashboard app on a driver’s smartphone that can communicate with everything from an EV’s sensors to roadside monitoring devices, offering users data information about the route, weather conditions and traffic, among others. Smart mobility makes the best use of available capacity and ensures continuous services despite disruptive incidents while encouraging cleaner choices. Smart mobility solutions will aggregate, analyze data and provide the most efficient options. This will particularly help in logistics and business operations.
Environmental data (intelligence about weather, soil, air, and other natural elements) will first identify areas of concern when it comes to mobility. Thus, it helps to aggregate data for more efficient decision-making and transportation innovation. It can also help connect vehicles that will increase efficiency, reliability, and safety for both drivers and the environment. Large-scale adoption of these technologies will also help countries decarbonize their economies.
A total of 449,002 accidents occurred in India during calendar year 2019, resulting in 151,113 fatalities and 451,361 injuries. This places India in the highest position in the list of countries with high fatality rates from road accidents. Autonomous driving technology, which is experiencing tremendous growth around the world, will significantly reduce this statistic by reducing traffic accidents.
Ambient intelligence, for example, helps advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) through smart sensors that provide weather forecasts and alerts on visibility rates. In this field, rapid progress is being made with the shortwave infrared camera integrated with ambient intelligence monitoring systems. These effectively solve the low visibility challenges currently facing autonomous vehicles (AVs) and ADAS, especially when it comes to first and last mile and public transportation.
Interconnected network of vehicles
According to the study ‘Improving Internet of Things (IoT) Security with Software Defined Networking (SDN)’, there will be more than 75.44 billion connected IoT devices by 2025. This also includes the potential of vehicles that they exchange data with a central hub and with each other via cellular, Wi-Fi, and satellite communications. This technology, combined with alerts based on environmental data, helps share vehicle data and weather conditions along the route.
A comprehensive platform for an interconnected network of vehicles can help drivers and businesses monitor, track, reprogram and diagnose problems with constant weather alerts. With IoT-based technologies, ambient air quality monitoring systems can self-diagnose vehicle problems, schedule emissions tests, and regulate usage metrics for optimal performance. This connectivity can also provide easy access to vehicle data for use cases such as insurance, driver safety, fleet management, and sustainability.
Mobility as a service
A user-centric approach to commuting integrates various types of transportation into a single mobility service. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) offers value-added provisions through a single application to adopt and maintain a user-centric approach. A single comprehensive platform can help users decide on vehicle customization, routing, ticketing and payment. Ambient intelligence provides enough data to plan for the future more efficiently.
MaaS providers can partner with environmental data providers like Ambee to create new business models for route efficiency and regular maintenance, making this a popular trend towards achieving smart mobility.
Smart mobility is entirely dependent on a functional smart ecosystem in a smart city. This ranges from smart roads to automated parking and everything in between like roadside signs and sensors. It is necessary to implement an entire macrocosm of communication through IoT devices to share data efficiently.
Ambient intelligence-based driving systems employ a wide range of advanced sensors to understand their surroundings and make data-driven decisions. For example, sensors can consider visibility and precipitation data to make optimal routing decisions.
If India’s mobility can embrace worthwhile changes by harnessing the power of technology, India could make a tangible contribution to mitigating climate change. Ambient intelligence has proven to be an essential part of restoring the environmental integrity of our planet. Its multifunctional technology-based solutions will help the mobility industry build resilient transportation systems for the future.
Author: Madhusudhan Anand, CTO and co-founder of Ambee