The many applications of multi-layered intelligence powered by modern algorithms will affect nearly every aspect of our increasingly tech-dependent lives. It’s no secret that AI is about to take over the planet’s most significant industries. In the automobile world, AI is already taking center stage via practical applications through the Internet of Things (IOT) and vehicle telematics.
In June of last year, Colorado’s Department of Transportation began the first smart road technology test in the U.S. NBC News explained that the test had been set for around five years, on an accident-prone, half-mile stretch of Highway 285. The state government teamed up with private company Integrated Roadways to install interlocking “Smart Pavement” slabs – Wi-Fi connected concrete slabs that are embedded with fiber-optic cables, capable of sensing changes in pressure and identifying road accidents as they happen. “If you’ve driven off the road, smart pavements can detect when and where this happened and automatically send an alert to the emergency services to come help you,” explains Integrated Roadways CEO Tim Sylvester.
Meanwhile, the engineers that are at the forefront of developing autonomous vehicle technology are working faster than ever at perfecting the AI that makes driverless cars possible. Computer giant Nvidia has been in the process of developing and testing Drive Xavier. This is a high-level autonomous driving computer chip that has already gone into production during the first quarter of 2019. Drive Xavier is an integral part of Nvidia’s DRIVE Pegasus AI computing platform. R&D Magazine reports that it is a supercomputer that’s capable of fully autonomous Level 5 self-driving.
AI is also revolutionizing the automobile sector in other countries. Vehicle telematics is also becoming more commonplace. In the UK, AI through telematics is changing the way heavy trucks operate for the better. Verizon Connect details how fleet maintenance software assists managers through advanced engine diagnostics and real-time mileage reporting. An AI-supported system can analyze each part of the engine and correlate its rate of wear as the vehicle’s mileage increases. This insight is invaluable in preventing breakdowns. It is also a major step to full automation on UK roads.
Meanwhile, in Asia, the Beijing-based AI startup SenseTime has recently opened a self-driving vehicle facility in Japan. It happened early this year, at around the same time Waymo opened a self-driving vehicle factory in Michigan. SenseTime’s new Japanese facility is located in the historic city of Joso which is just 50km from Tokyo. Backed by online retail giant Alibaba, SenseTime is reportedly worth $4.5 billion, and is also working with Honda to develop autonomous driving technology – to the tune of $2 billion in fresh funding. Meanwhile, the Japanese government itself has been pretty vocal about its intention to put driverless cars on the streets of Tokyo by 2020 (in time for the Olympics).
While all of these are already significant developments in how AI, the IoT, and telematics are finding practical purposes in the automotive industry, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The most creative minds in software and computer engineering are hard at work, developing newer and even more efficient ways to utilize connected technologies on the road.