Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been on the cutting edge of innovating homeland security since the age of Sputnik, but the DARPA autonomous vehicle research is prompting a collaboration among different industries committed to changing how consumers (not just the military) travel in the decades to come. As soon as the Russian satellite, Sputnik, was launched in 1957, the United States was on high alert. It is that momentous event that led to the creation of one of the most innovative agencies in the Federal government, thanks to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which, at the time simply went by Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) —the “D” wouldn’t be added until 1972—was assembled to push America to be leaders of strategic technologies rather than play catch-up.
With the emergence of the sharing economy, making things that were once personal accessible to complete strangers has become the norm. This “new normal” of renting out everything from our services to our homes is changing the role of private ownership. It not only creates opportunity for both providers and consumers, but disrupts traditional industries. Among these are the auto retailers and car rental companies faced with a surge in car sharing services. Like other disruptors, car sharing not only poses a unique option for the public, but imposes challenges and considerations for both government regulators and automakers.
With traffic fatalities rising at an alarming rate, collision avoidance systems are a promising solution. Per the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), almost 1.3 million people die in road accidents each year with an additional 20-50 million injured. That averages 3,287 global fatalities a day, making auto accidents the 9th leading cause of death. The World Health Organization (WHO) broke that down even further in 2015. Within low and lower-middle income populations, road deaths came in at number 10, but within the upper-middle class it ranked 7 just below Alzheimer’s Disease, but above both Liver and Stomach Cancer.
Finding a place to store your car, whether short- or long-term, has been an issue almost as long as the horseless carriage has been around. The current influx of automobiles on the road, however, has made simply parking that much harder. This growth of vehicles on the street has added unforeseen circumstances to the parking mix. Things like traffic congestion, higher CO2 emissions, exorbitant fees, and parking so far away from your destination, you need to call another vehicle for that ”last mile” are big concerns. This has led to innovative advances in parking technology ranging from License Plate Recognition (LPR) to monitor who does and does not belong in a particular space to working with the brains of connected cars to support self-parking solutions.
The autonomous vehicle, or self-driving car, has become the focus of the automotive world. More and more, you hear that the connected car is the answer to a variety of transportation ills. From Google to Volvo to Ford to Uber and Lyft, the industry of moving you from one place to another is working feverishly to make the once science fiction dream of a driverless vehicle a reality. However, this seemingly 21st century innovation has not only been in people’s minds for centuries, but attempts and working prototypes have been pursued across the ages. What exactly is an autonomous vehicle?
The automobile of today is digitally enhanced, navigation system ready and virtually self-driving. These advances lead the majority of drivers to expect the same engagement from their cars as they do from their smartphones. That’s why automakers from Fiat-Chrysler (UConnect) to Hyundai (BlueLink) are focused on and offer in-car infotainment systems that keep drivers and passengers engaged and connected on the road. Being entertained and communicating with whomever and whatever you want with a swipe of a finger or simply speaking a phrase is considered the standard by which all in-car infotainment (also called in-vehicle infotainment) is based, but the experience has been around a long, innovative time. What is in-car infotainment?
You access any number of government processes via the internet these days. From eFiling taxes to renewing car registration, electronic government or eGovernment is streamlining some of the most time-consuming public transactions. But this paperless solution only succeeds for those people who can get to a computer. What about those who can’t? This is where mobile government or m-Government comes in.
From automatic crash notification (ACN) to fleet management, Telematics is the “connection” that makes the connected car a wireless marvel of the automotive world. Telematics is a hot topic these days. With the current focus on self-driving vehicles, connected cars, cyber security, and especially, rising levels of traffic fatalities, the communication network that makes it possible for your automobile to move and react on its own is rapidly innovating. Telematic solutions are more readily available for all vehicles and even mandated as standard in some countries. The technology’s origin is oddly similar to that of the Jeep, and its integration into day-to-day life has been as seamless as that ubiquitous, stalwart vehicle. But what exactly is telematics?
The Vision Zero Strategy makes a global promise of zero road deaths and injuries by as early as 2020 in some countries. The shocking rise in traffic fatalities in the U.S. makes broader implementation critical. On October 5, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that U.S. traffic deaths had reached a crisis level in the first half of 2016.
Computer viruses are nothing new. The brutal lessons learned from those who’ve survived them make us more cautious when surfing the digital wave on our devices. But how often do we think of our vehicles as motorized computers? Today’s automobiles include operating systems that provide climate control, fuel efficiency, satellite-based entertainment, automated safety features and more. Basically, we’re driving smartphones on wheels, something we tend to forget.