How Smart Vehicles Can One Day Integrate with Smart Cities
Smart cities are becoming more and more of a topic of conversation, and for good reason. They’re designed to make life better, with some sounding rather like a utopia. While we are still far from actually achieving the perfect city, every day sees a little more movement toward the smart city of your dreams.
Smart cars are the next step in creating a smart city, thanks to the technology they boast. Let’s take a closer look at how that will work.
What Is a Smart Car?
Before you consider how a smart car can connect with a smart city, you need to understand what a smart car is. Essentially, these cars are intelligent thanks to AI. Where human drivers make a number of mistakes due to the decision-making process that people go through, AI can process everything instantly and eliminate many of those decisions from the driving.
Most cars have some form of artificial intelligence, such as an emergency notification system, which is set into the modern vehicle. It’s possible for drivers and emergency responders to communicate through the emergency system, as well. If there’s an accident, a dispatcher can check in with the driver and dispatch help if necessary.
Smart cars go beyond that basic method of alert and straight into full-on artificial intelligence mode. The vast majority of the designs are meant to protect the driver and others who may be on the road at the same time. Smart cars are intended to alert and even take over steering when the vehicle passes over a line or moves into the opposite lane.
Automatic braking when an obstacle is detected in front of the vehicle is also possible. This can occur faster than it takes a human eye to notice something and then transfer the signals to step on the brakes. There’s also the very human alternative of swerving around the obstacle, which can result in even more damage. The AI can calculate a safe stopping distance and makes it easier to drive safely.
Self-driving or autonomous vehicles allow people to get into a vehicle and go where they want without needing any input from the passenger. While these vehicles are currently in testing phases, they will likely become the norm quite soon. The technology exists, it’s simply a matter of teaching it everything it needs to know in order to drive safely.
How Smart Cars Will Eventually Connect to Smart Cities
With smart cars able to use artificial technology and connect to the cloud, it makes sense that connecting cars to the city will result in a better experience for all. In fact, there are at least 450 smart city projects around the world, and it’s the perfect time to start connecting smart city autonomous vehicles.
As anyone who has ever driven in city traffic knows, there is a big issue with traffic in urban centers. What if that could be removed by using autonomous vehicle cities where cars talk to each other and to sensors throughout the city?
Smart cities already have sensors set up throughout the streets, in buildings, and on streetlamps, making it possible to check on traffic, both human and vehicular, at any point. Tapping into this world of sensors can make driving a smart car much easier.
Everything needs to be added by city planners and car manufacturers, but once implemented, it’s possible to connect just about everything in the city. Sensors are already implemented into smart cars that are on the market now. These will only increase in abilities over time.
Sensors within the vehicles will be able to collect more information on everything around them, from the street condition to other vehicles and even people nearby. Essentially, each car will be its own hot spot for Wi-Fi, making it possible to share this data with the city. All the information can be analyzed by artificial intelligence to see exactly where traffic is jamming, where the most popular points are, and how full fuel or charging stations are.
With this information, the AI can easily adjust traffic lights and signage to indicate where cars should go, easing traffic and eliminating bottlenecks.
Focus on Mobility
Smart cities are meant to be safer and easier to live in. Part of this means making driving simpler. When you have autonomous vehicles available to the network, it becomes even simpler to create cities that will ease traffic jams and reduce travel times and accidents. In fact, it will even be possible to turn a vehicle off if it attempts to run a red light, making accidents much less likely to occur.
Some of these things are already being implemented and tested. For example, New York City has been using sensors in intersections and traffic video cameras have changed the way traffic works in certain areas. In one place, travel time has improved by 10%, simply by adjusting traffic patterns.
Not only are these sensors making changes now, cities with thousands of sensors across the world are collecting information. When shared, this information allows AI systems to create more sustainable methods of handling traffic, street lighting, and waste management, among other things.
In Spain, the city of Santander has an app that allows citizens to report issues around the city that the sensors may not pick up on their own. This helps the city planners manage all the various aspects of keeping the city running smoothly.
At this point in time, autonomous vehicle cities are still a dream. The smart cities that exist at this point are still testing ideas and trying out various technologies. However, they are also realizing that there is a definite need to work transportation needs into the city planning. As smart cars become more popular, they will be integrated into these cities and made a part of the planning in real time.
The connection will create a whole new world for those willing to enter it.