How smart cities and connected cars are revolutionising urban mobility
It’s another one of those terms that can be found everywhere and on everyone’s lips, but what does “smart city” really mean?
A smart city employs state-of-the-art technology and ICT to enhance the quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. And not surprisingly, the management of urban transport, traffic flows and public safety is a fundamental issue for smart city sustainability.
The European Union has long been concentrating on the development of a strategy for achieving “smart” urban growth for its metropolitan city-regions. It is estimated that in just five years’ time, by 2020, the global market for smart urban services will reach a value of $400 billion per year. And much of this is based on big data and the telematics systems that collect and analyse it.
Indeed, a fundamental issue in improving urban vehicle mobility concerns the development of telematics-based predictive systems, employing big data and real-time information, that allow connected vehicles to base their route on current traffic, weather and road conditions – as well as alerts for special or unforeseen events – transmitted not only by service centres, but also – eventually – amongst cars, to save time, reduce pollution and improve quality of life.
As a matter of fact, the very infrastructures of a smart city will also collect and exchange information amongst service centres and even directly with vehicles, to provide alerts on road conditions (ice, oil spills, road works) or automatically regulate traffic light duration to adjust to effective traffic flows. Moreover, real-time information on parking availability will further help reduce urban congestion and pollution and avoid all unnecessary driving.
Clearly, this type of advancement will require the development of a universal telematics standard to allow all vehicles and facilities to seamlessly exchange information regardless of the automotive or telematics manufacturer.
In the meantime, telematics insurance policies are bringing greater value, safety and a range of added value features to drivers connecting to the incipient Internet of Things. Connected cars are a reality. Interconnected cars will come next. Cities throughout Europe, Asia and the United States are gradually introducing new services and systems for urban mobility and traffic congestion control. Even driverless cars are already being tested. All of this will gradually come together as a futuristic smart city.
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