Imagine. What if the captain of the RMS Titanic could be warned about the iceberg, much before the ship even approached it? An important piece of history would have been different and James Cameron wouldn’t have made one of the most romantic movies of all time.
Transport has changed a lot since 1912. Propelled forward by the Industrial Revolution and the invention of the internal combustion engine, humans have continuously tried to invent newer technologies and faster modes of travel. Recently, however, the focus has shifted from increasing speed towards increasing efficiency and comfort. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, our daily lives have become increasingly connected in terms of the way we travel. From live tracking with GPS and real-time traffic reports to driverless cars, the landscape of mobility has transformed. The words ‘Intelligent Transportation Systems’ (ITS) have entered the conversation and have dominated the narrative ever since. Let’s take a quick look at what this entails.
The main promise of the ITS service is that it enhances connectivity on a multi-platform basis—between vehicles, pedestrians, and infrastructure. This allows drivers to share among each other, real-time data about speed, direction, and traffic. This significantly reduces the chances of road accidents and crashes, avoids hazardous routes, and allows the authorities to respond promptly to emergency situations and provide roadside assistance. Further, it shortens transit time by a wide margin by allowing drivers to change routes based on information received from GPS systems and weather alerts, thus enabling them to reach their destinations much faster than would’ve been possible manually.
Let’s face it. One of the major problems faced by overpopulated cities is finding parking spaces. Fortunately, ITS has found a smart solution that will soon revolutionize the parking sector. In the near future, it will become possible to be seated at home, planning a night out, and book a parking spot hours before you even go there. By feeding into the app the desired destination, budget, and other rudimentary details, the user can easily find the best option that ticks all the boxes. With smart parking meters and advanced algorithms, this vastly simplifies the need to circle around town looking for an empty parking spot.
The day is not far off where cars and trucks will no longer require “drivers”. Although that day has not come yet to the fullest, we are already looking at vehicles equipped with cutting-edge technology that uses optical cameras, radar, and processors among other things, to aid drivers in unprecedented ways.
The global transport industry is now looking at features that enable vehicles to squeeze into tight parking spots, alert drivers about traffic updates, appropriately lower or increase cruise speeds, and maintain lane discipline. Yet, when it comes to the possibilities relating to intelligent, connected transportation, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
For instance, buses can now turn traffic lights green upon approach, read the input from various navigation systems to determine the best possible route that is not only faster but also safer. This allows drivers to manage their fuel consumption effectively and know their ETA to almost pinpoint accuracy.
The Way Forward
It’s safe to say that the future of modern transport is very bright, with important parameters like safety, efficiency, speed, and communication gaining superiority more than ever. Companies like Tesla, Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes, and even Google are all collaborating to invent solutions to problems that we didn’t even realize we faced and thereby smoothing out wrinkles in our current transport system. The latest tools are revolutionizing the way we travel and as long as we hang on tight and embrace these changes, we are in for a ride of a lifetime.