IoT technologies are germane to transport in India and can help in alleviating some of the problems that are present on Indian roads including traffic congestion and increasing accidents & fatalities. Dibyendu Sengupta, Transport Sector Specialist, European Business and Technology Centre talks about the use of the internet in transport.
Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are applications of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) in transport in order to reap benefits like improved efficiency, safety and environmental benefits. With the popularity of the internet (or World Wide Web) increasing rapidly over the past two decades, the use of the internet for communication linkages previously untapped is becoming a reality.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and the Internet.
IOT IN TRANSPORT
Traffic surveillance techniques including detectors and cameras are used these days to provide real-time traffic updates to ease road congestions and help prevent accidents. With smartphones becoming increasingly used, travel time, speed and location data can be available using crowd-sourcing techniques. This combined with rapidly improving technologies under cooperative intelligent transport systems (ITS) for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications3, vehicles gradually are becoming smarter and will be able to react to real-time situations on the roads, and contribute to a safer traffic system.
Vehicle tracking and monitoring will also lead to optimised driving and walking routes. Sensor technology can be used to keep track, connect and locate transport infrastructure like parking, bridges, street furniture and pedestrian walkways, which has asset management benefits.
Vehicles gradually are becoming smarter and will be able to react to real-time situations on the roads, and contribute to a safer traffic system
According to estimates, freight transport in India is projected to increase from 1325 billion ton-km (b t-km) in 2007 to 3450 billion ton-km (b t-km) by the year 2020. In 2007 losses due to inefficiency in logistics were US$ 45 billion, including inefficient handling and theft of goods among others. The road freight industry in India is extremely fragmented and disorganised, with most of the truck owners being single truck owners. Vehicle overloading is rampant and is a major contributor to road pavement damage in India and other developing countries. 5 These inefficiencies, if not addressed, will lead to a losses as high as $ 140 billion by 2020.
If some of these problems can be resolved, GDP losses could be reduced along with accidents and fuel consumption. Therefore, work needs to be undertaken to improve efficiency which would translate in reducing costs and emissions. One such way would be to use ITS technologies to control the weight of trucks in order to prevent overloading and ensure compliance with weight regulations.
In the area of logistics and supply chain, with the use of identification and tracking technologies such as active RFID (executable codes in tag) and GPS, it is may be possible for goods may be transported without human intervention from manufacturers to suppliers. This would entail automated warehouses, decision making based on information received via readers and positioning systems to optimise transiting routes.
Such automation creates a dynamic production and transportation network and provides better asset management to improve the overall efficiency in the supply chain. 2 Using cloud-based central control systems, real-time equipment tracking can be done to enable operators to track and locate containers and packages. Similarly, system operators will be able to track fuel consumption and efficiency, potentially saving millions in fuel costs.
THE MOBINET PROJECT
MOBiNET6 is a seventh framework programme (FP7) EU-project for connectivity between travellers, transport operators and service providers and transport infrastructure. It falls under cooperative ITS and aims to build a service platform to simplify the European deployment of transport services by creating an “Internet of Mobility”. It has various Vehicles gradually are becoming smarter and will be able to react to real-time situations on the roads, and contribute to a safer traffic system
stakeholders like the automotive industry players, road operators, authorities, telecom operators and IT suppliers and provides a platform with tools and utilities for interactions among users and suppliers. It also addresses the barriers to cooperative system-enabled service deployment, including the lack of standardisation in services and inaccessibility and incompatibility of transport-related data.
Under this on-going project, solutions are being developed for several issues including:
• an e-Marketplace to link end users, content providers and service-providers including a comprehensive directory of Europe-wide mobility and transport-related data and services;
• MOBiNET membership with single payment account for end users and to enable providers to add third-party content and services contract-free to their own products;
• the project will develop both a Service Development Kit to enable easy creation of MOBiNET user services and a set of uniform Reference Services suitable for Europe-wide deployment, including “eco-traffic management-as-a-service” and a multimodal traveller assistant;
• MOBiNET central facilities will have a cloud-based host that will be available to the provider community. These facilities will be piloted at a few sites to validate MOBiNET in trials in order to create and deploy a Europe-wide platform.
Once complete, this will provide several solutions to change the way in which transport data is stored, managed and distributed across users, applications and services. For example, a Europe-wide distributed service framework for any customer, on any device, available anywhere in Europe; traveller assistance through one account with integrated services and access to any means of transport and seamless transitions
For example, under this project, several partners are collaborating for innovating a solution for effective truck control. Conceptually, the trucks voluntarily share their weights and identities with a roadside station, from which the data is transferred to a back office. The back office then checks and sends a recommendation to the inspector if the truck should be passed or stopped for weight control.
Some aspects of projects like MOBiNET can well be emulated in India, under upcoming schemes like Smart Cities, to reap benefits of technologies in transport.