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The Importance of Connected Vehicle Data for Smart Cities

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Connected car data is growing rapidly, with the majority of new cars expected to be connected by the next decade. This provides smart city planners and other city decision makers with a wealth of data that they can use in decision making and city planning, even in real time.

Vehicles are a concern for anyone looking to become more environmentally conscious. Traffic problems, emissions pollution, and the dangers of pedestrians and cyclists make vehicles a challenge to integrate with the ideals of smart cities. However, thanks to the connected car’s data, that could change.

Connected vehicles enable communication between vehicles, infrastructure and personal communication devices. These vehicles generate powerful data from these communications, by sourcing from vehicle electronic control units (ECUs), control unit access networks (CANs), and even infotainment systems. Some examples of this data include location, destination, speed, engine condition, and more.

Connected car data is growing rapidly, with the majority of new cars expected to be connected by the next decade. This provides smart city planners and other city decision makers with a wealth of real-time data that they can use in decision making and city planning, even in real time.

MindSphere, Siemens' industrial Internet of Things as a service solution, now allows users to take advantage of everyone's new AI [Learn More]

See also: How connected products enable predictive maintenance

A neglected market could take off soon

Connected Vehicle Data (CVD) isn’t very popular in smart city planning, but that’s all beginning to change. According to a recent study from Otonomo, 62% of respondents believe that CVD actually helps solve urban afflictions, including road use and management, zoning and urban planning, and environmental responsibility.

Once companies start generating value from this data, we can see an increase in demand and use. Population growth and disruption caused by events like COVID-19 have prompted cities to rebuild differently and take advantage of data to ensure cities provide the best services and living standards for residents now and in the future.

Data helps solve real-world challenges. First, the data can be used to plan and organize projects. Think about easing traffic congestion, creating better access to different parts of the city, or even organizing parking. This also includes better planning for one-off events that can significantly disrupt the overall traffic patterns of the city in question.

One event that could drive the use of CVD is the adoption of electric vehicles. This data can help cities better plan for changing stations and reduce “range concerns” to help more people adopt electric cars. However, at the moment, cities report that reliable data for electric vehicles is difficult to obtain, so this may be a use case in the future.

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Expand Connected Vehicle Data to Consumer Facing Applications

One interesting potential use case is leveraging CVD to design mobile transportation applications for citizen planning. This may have some benefits, including:

  • Improving the transparency of planning and public service offerings. Smart cities need a way in which citizens can participate more in public services, so an app can provide this convenience and ensure that more citizens benefit.
  • Facilitate tourism by providing information on city services, traffic challenges, and even event parking. This would prevent some of the bottlenecks that occur with the influx of tourists who are not familiar with the city.
  • Ensure citizens have more comprehensive access to all transportation opportunities and can coordinate their activities based on a variety of factors such as events, rush hour or construction.

Current Challenges for Connected Vehicle Data

Currently, more people are using traffic cameras or sensors on the road to approximate this type of data. An increasing number of cities are also using public mobile data collected from personal devices.

If connected car data is so valuable, why aren’t more cities using it? There are several intrinsic barriers to full adoption and dependence on CVD.

reliable coverage

More vehicles are being manufactured, but cities still need widespread CVD prevalence to rely on the data. By the next decade, this may not be a problem. In addition, better coverage from 5G connections will enable cities to collect and extract data with better reliability and plan.

Various regulations

CVD regulations are still in their infancy, and cities may be reluctant to risk non-compliance. A federal mandate would help settle the issue. However, states may need to follow California’s lead when it comes to protecting privacy — taking responsibility on their own without using federal guidelines.

Cyber ​​Security Challenges

Data collection also opens up cities to potential cybersecurity threats. However, smart cities will realize that data protection is vital to continuing data leadership initiatives like this. More cities are reacting to cybersecurity challenges as a first priority, but taking a proactive stance protects everyone.

Citizen’s trust

Trust in this new technology has been under discussion for years (even RTInsights talked about its importance in 2017). We are reaching a turning point. Citizens are divided over data collection and government participation. They want greater access to services and better overall experiences within their cities. If governments can take a transparent approach to data collection and utilization like CVD, this will go a long way to boosting citizen trust (and encouraging more participation – something these initiatives desperately need).

MindSphere, Siemens' industrial Internet of Things as a service solution, now allows users to take advantage of everyone's new AI [Learn More]

Connected car data can activate smart city efforts

The ability to integrate connected car data could allow more cities to plan with greater accuracy. In addition, citizens can feel that they have more information about their city to plan and make use of services.

CVD should become a single source of data designed to integrate with existing infrastructure data. It should also offer comprehensive and consistent coverage. This provides a system of checks and balances and ensures that all decisions derived from this data are of the highest quality. As we see more connectivity in the vehicles and the infrastructure itself, this could be a critical component of pushing cities into the digital age.

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