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Could Improved Smart Car Technology Speed EV Adoption?

While electric vehicles (EVs) are starting to become a more prominent sight on our roads, we are still some way off from their market dominance. Despite the fact that we are teetering on the edge of irreversible climate crisis, we remain dependent on our fossil fuel vehicles. Our hesitation about crossing over to the fully electric method of transport can be linked to a number of reasons.

There is certainly a culture of misinformation surrounding electric car use, prompted for the most part by an oil industry that is desperate to cling to its damaging business model. There are also the logistical implications; we have not yet created the infrastructure that makes EV ownership practical. For most of us, though, the primary barrier is a financial one. Electric cars have not yet reached the point at which they are affordable for the average family -- although that is improving.

Aside from the benefits EV adoption will have upon our environment, there is a case to be made that these vehicles are more in line with our contemporary lives. We enjoy a range of benefits as a result of our digitally connected lifestyles. Smart devices quickly rose in popularity, as they more closely integrated with our lives. So could a focus on making our vehicles smarter be the key to encouraging widespread adoption? Let's take a look at the efforts being made, and how this may improve EV popularity.

Remote Upgrades

Vehicles are complex, and -- let's face it -- most of us don't have the expertise to understand their inner workings. Whenever anything goes wrong with our cars, or there are recalls for upgrades, this can be inconvenient and irritating. By utilizing smart devices to limit these frustrating experiences, EV manufacturers may improve adoption of this more climate conscious mode of transport.

Many of the major EV manufacturers -- Tesla, Ford, GM -- have begun to utilize the automotive internet of things (IoT) in making vital changes to vehicles. Introduction of Over-the-Air (OTA) software updates has meant that providers simply send essential in-vehicle software patches remotely, rather than insisting the owner return to the manufacturer. This also goes further than essential safety upgrades, it's being used to improve vehicle performance too. Tesla has rolled out remote updates for suspension modifications and enhanced battery life.

Of course, being able to make changes to vehicles remotely requires the processing of huge amounts of data. Local storage just isn't a practical solution. In order to ensure that drivers aren't inconvenienced or put in danger by lag, the automotive industry has been investigating and trialing ways to use the cloud. Fog computing is a potential solution. This method acts as an extension to the cloud and offers high speed access that is less demanding on bandwidth.

Safety Features

We often think of smart car features in terms of their ability to connect us with our other devices. However, they also have a vital role to play in road safety. By placing greater emphasis on the smart safety features available in EVs, a useful new reputation of could be built. We can encourage a narrative that shows these vehicles have a part to play in individual safety, alongside the wider implications on climate change.

The last couple of decades have seen attention being placed on our phone use while driving. Public information campaigns have been useful, but now network providers and smart car manufacturers have begun developing technology to help combat this problem directly. Apps have been introduced to the market which block the user's ability to text while driving. Some of these interact directly with devices attached to the vehicle, preventing users from overriding the app's safety functions.

One smart tech aspect that certainly makes EVs more attractive, is the introduction of automated driving. When there is hesitation about self-driving cars, it's usually due to uncertainty about their safety. This issue is being addressed by manufacturers throughout EV development. The solutions often utilize artificial intelligence and software that adapts to the environment in which the car is driving. Waymo has recently introduced software that helps their cars react to unexpected scenarios, including recognizing and responding to hand signals of police and cyclists.

Industrial Fleet Adoption

In order to create a lasting impact on the environment, EV adoption cannot be limited to private users. Industries which engage in large-scale logistics also have a responsibility to engage with more environmentally-sound vehicle systems. Early use of smart technologies which are valuable to industrial users could be key to encouraging swift changeover from fossil fuel automotives.

One of the more prevalent issues surrounding haulage and delivery companies is the need for effective tracking. This is not just in security and business interests, it has also become a legal requirement. Fleet tracking software is already becoming popular, allowing companies to track every asset in the fleet in real-time. Devices attached to the vehicle communicate with mobile apps and desktop software to keep drivers and vehicles secure, alongside improving safety and efficiency.

There are also efforts being made to ensure that the electric option is practical for both industries and infrastructure. The amount of electricity required to power a large haulage vehicle could put undue strain on the grid, or public charging points. Therefore some companies are investing in smart chargers for their EVs. These devices control the times drivers charge their cars, drawing electricity at low usage periods. Thus, efficiently fueling the vehicle, while taking a responsible approach to electricity consumption.

Conclusion

We are living at a time in which we are faced by grave climate challenges. How quickly and effectively we respond could truly mean the difference between a sustainable future, or a planet in a state of irreparable devastation. If we are to travel, we must adopt fuel methods that are more environmentally responsible. By closely integrating EVs with the technologies that integrate more effectively with our digital lifestyle, we may be able to make the transition in a timely fashion with the most positive impact.

Posted by Magnolia at November 12, 2019 11:34 AM
Comments
Comment #450683

Ask the folks in California if they favor EV’s when the electricity is cut off for days due to fires.

“We are living at a time in which we are faced by grave climate challenges.”

There is no scientific basis for this statement.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 12, 2019 6:30 PM
Comment #450703

What so many misinformed “climate change” fanatics fail to understand is that:

  • (1) current global temperatures are currently only a few degrees Fahrenheit above the coldest temperatures over the last 2 BILLION YEARS,
  • (2) and that the global average temperatures over 80% of the last 1 Billion years were MUCH hotter than today (15F or more).
  • (3) and the global average temperature over the last 10 thousand years has not changed much.
However, IF the climate-change fanatics are truly concerned about the environment, then perhaps they should think about the human population growth of 235,000 per day !

Posted by: d.a.n at November 13, 2019 1:53 PM
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