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Connectivity and Automation

30 June 2017

By Ashley Newton

I recently went for my first spin in an automated vehicle – err, partially automated, that is. As the passenger in a Tesla Model S, I looked on as the driver engaged two separate advanced driver assistance systems that work in tandem: one system keeps the car in our lane, and the other maintains a set speed and following distance to prevent collision with other cars. It was exciting, yet anxiety-inducing, to watch the Tesla barrel forward with only supervision (not direct control) from the driver.

Ever-developing technology has created a demand for more automation that touches all aspects of life, from everyday chores, to transportation, and even to highways. With each advance comes greater convenience, but more questions about what this means for the future.

Everyday life

Throughout daily life there is a growing demand to automate tasks, and expand connectivity between devices, as well as between people. Applications like Wunderlist[1] let us create a shopping list at home and then tick items off while at the supermarket. Smart home technology lets us monitor the temperature of our houses and turn devices on or off, using our mobile phones or by talking to a digital assistant. Crowdsourcing platforms such as Yelp[2] can automate the process of collecting customer feedback, thereby ensuring quality and helping other consumers avoid negative experiences.

Transportation

When it comes to transportation, these advances are leading to more sophisticated technology in vehicles, and more convenience for travellers. Modern vehicles come equipped with increasingly advanced safety systems that can detect hazards, prevent accidents, and even (to a certain extent) drive themselves, as in the Tesla example I mentioned above.

In some cases, technology within a vehicle can communicate with its counterparts in other vehicles, or sensors installed on infrastructure such as signs or roads.[3] Transportation is also influenced by crowdsourcing technologies such as Waze, where users help flag traffic hazards to other drivers avoid delays while commuting.[4]

For public transport riders, this is evolving in the form of personalised itineraries or tickets generated at the click of a button. Using Google Maps, we can look up a route on a desktop computer and send it to a mobile device. Many public transport companies let customers purchase last-minute tickets online, ready to use within minutes.

Highways Infrastructure

At Yotta we have taken advantage of these developments in our innovative infrastructure asset management technologies. Horizons allows us to visualise and utilise data effectively so we can make better, informed decisions. Our Mayrise mobile products allow the back office to update works orders on a mobile device in real time, which leads to less back-and-forth, and greater efficiency. Our mobile applications allow users to go deeper, offering the ability to look up inventory while in the field, and report issues ad-hoc.

Yotta is embracing the future of highways by making unprecedented advances in connectivity and automation in our newest product, Alloy.

Alloy will help local authorities make the most of a rapidly-evolving landscape, with unparalleled connectivity between infrastructure and the people who rely on it, as well as the devices they use and the cars they drive. Alloy will take advantage of connectivity with Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which can transmit data about the condition of assets, and automatically trigger the process of investigating and resolving faults. It will harness automation so that collecting and interpreting data, allocating work, scheduling inspections, and communicating with others can be faster, simpler, and more efficient.

Building on the strengths from Horizons and Mayrise yet looking forward further, Alloy will offer enriched data visualisation, decision-making, and implementation capabilities.

[1] https://www.wunderlist.com/

[2] https://www.yelp.com/about

[3] https://www.wired.com/insights/2014/09/connected-cars/

[4] https://www.waze.com/en-GB/about

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