The Internet of Things: How the Automotive Industry Could Benefit from Cutting-edge Technology

This article is focused on facts about Internet technologies, shedding light on cutting edge concepts such as The Internet of Things and how the automotive industry could benefit from it.

The Internet of Things is changing much about the world we live in. From the way we drive to how we make purchases and even how we get energy for our homes. Sophisticated sensors and chips are embedded in the physical things that surround us, each transmitting valuable data. This data better allows us to better understand how these things work and work together.

But how exactly do all these devices share such large quantities of data and how do we put that information to work?
Whether we are improving the production of a factory, giving city residents real-time updates on where to park, or monitoring our personal health – it is the common Internet of Things platform that brings this diverse information together and provides the common language for the devices and apps to communicate with each other.

The Internet of Things

The process starts with the devices themselves, which securely communicate with an Internet of Things platform. This platform integrates the data from many devices and applies analytics to share the most valuable data with applications that address industry-specific needs.

Let’s take a simple example from the automotive industry: a modern car. After taking a tiring, long road trip, the owner (call him Michael) notices that the check engine light has come on. He knows that he needs to have the car looked at by a mechanic, but it’s not sure whether it’s something minor or something that needs immediate attention. As it turns out, the sensor that triggered Michael’s check engine light monitors the pressure in a brake line.

This sensor is one of many monitoring processes which are constantly communicating with each other.
A component in the car called the diagnostic bus gathers the data from all these sensors, then passes it to a gateway in the car. The gateway integrates and sorts the data from the sensors. This way, only the most relevant diagnostic information will be transmitted to the manufacturer’s platform. Before sending this organized data, the car’s gateway and platform must first register with each other and confirm a secure communication.

The platform is constantly gathering and storing thousands of bits of information from Michael’s car and hundreds of thousands of other cars, building in the historical record in a secure database. The manufacturers added rules and logic to the platform, so when Michael’s car signals that the brake fluid has dropped below the recommended level, the platform triggers an alert in his car.

The manufacturer also uses the platform to create and manage applications that solve specific issues. In this case, the manufacturer can deploy an application on the platform called “The Asset Management System.” This application oversees all of their customers’ cars on the road, as well as all the parts in their warehouses. It uses the data from Michael’s car and offers him a potential appointment time to service the car, directions to the nearest certified dealer, and a coupon for the service. What’s more, the app ensures the car’s breaks are covered under the warranty, that the correct replacement part is ordered and then sent to the dealership, so it is ready when he arrives.
But the manufacturers analysis does not stop there. They have also deployed a continuous engineering application that tracks not only Michael’s car but hundreds of thousands of other, looking for ways to improve the design and the manufacturing process of the car itself. If the same problem in a break line crops up in a critical number of other cars, the manufacturer uses applications, custom-built for the automobile industry, to pinpoint the exact problem. They can see if these cars were made at the same factory, use the same parts, or came off the assembly line on the same day.

So what do all these pieces are up to? Streamlined inventory management for the dealer, a better safer car from the manufacturer, and for Michael it means he can get back on the road faster and get to where she’s going safely. All of these, thanks to the Internet of Things!

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