From Farm to Freeway: Leading in the Field

As I mentioned in my previous post , although telematics technology is nascent, it is also rapidly gaining traction. Just as software and electronics replaced mechanical controls in the vehicles of yesteryear, they too are now being replaced by sensors and telematics control units (TCUs). The automotive industry giants poised to realize the opportunity of telematics, can learn a ton of “do’s and dont’s” from the leaders in heavy equipment.

Commercial trucking and heavy equipment manufacturers including Caterpillar, John Deere, and Cummins are already leveraging telematics in three major areas: remote monitoring and diagnostics, spare parts planning to avoid downtime, and tracking of capital-intensive equipment through locational intelligence. They’re using this system of rich, real-time data fueled by predictive analytics for more visibility into and control over their fleet performance, supply chain, and logistics. That in turn helps them use assets more effectively, reduce costs, and enhance customer service.

Even forward-thinking companies outside the automotive industry can take advantage of the opportunities afforded by connected cars. Restaurant, shopping, and entertainment providers, for example, can leverage intelligence on driver preferences and location to distribute content and context-appropriate offers. Early adopters in the insurance industry are using telematics data to set rates based on how far, how fast, and under what conditions a person drives.

Common Sensors? Smarter Connections

more sensorsAn automobile coming off the production line today might have anywhere from 30 to 90 electronic modules, controlling systems from airbag release to seating positions. By 2020, a new car will likely be equipped with 200 or more sensors and a telecommunications module for transmitting vehicle, driver, and geo-spatial data.

But building a telematics infrastructure will require more than vehicle hardware and electronics. An ecosystem of connected cars and tens of billions of sensors requires telecommunications networks, Cloud infrastructure, data-storage capacity, and integration to different entities, as well as well-designed human-machine interfaces (HMI) so consumers can interact with the telematics system.

Manufacturers need strategies to meet physical and digital security challenges, such as preventing unauthorized access to both the vehicle and its on-board digital features and data. In the short term, design that addresses driver safety through the mitigation of manual, visual, and cognitive distraction will be paramount. (Longer-term, when cars are driverless and become an extension of our living rooms, consuming content in the vehicle will not pose the risk of distracted driving.)

Market participants must also consider customer privacy, and identify features that are useful vs. those that are intrusive. They will need to give consumers clarity on whether to share data and the benefits of doing so.

Get Inside, Close the Door: Telematics

The complexity of developing telematics solutions based on analytics of asset utilization data patterns from many sources may seem daunting. Cognizant offers a faster and more complete route to telematics adoption. We built our service offering built around the key areas Inside, Around, and Beyond.

For car manufacturers, we support developing systems inside the vehicle, from designing and testing TCU module software, to developing services and solutions based on HMI data. We support the development of infrastructure for transmitting telematics data around the vehicle, from taking data into the Cloud to integrating it with third-party support entities.

And Car360, our design approach, goes beyond vehicle design and data transmission to take a 360-degree view around the driver’s experience. We developed it by studying drivers’ demographic profiles and car ownership life cycles, creating applications to help consumers in different demographic segments identify opportunities for cost savings when researching, purchasing, and owning a vehicle.

Intelligence. Autonomy. The Time Is Now.

Telematics technology will open the road to intelligent transportation, when fully autonomous vehicles will turn cars into roving extensions of our homes and offices, completely changing the driving experience. Now is the time to mobilize around the promise of a future of connected cars.

Read more in my latest article: Telematics will Improve Drive Experience and Deliver Greater Business Value

Prasad Satyavolu

Prasad Satyavolu

Prasad Satyavolu is the Chief Digital Officer & Global Head of Innovation for the integrated business group, comprising the manufacturing, logistics, energy... Read more