Every year, road accidents cause considerable loss of life as well as economic damage to individuals, their families, and the nation as a whole. It is no different in India, which accounts for 11 percent of global deaths in road accidents. According to a report by World Bank, road crash deaths in India are among the highest in the world. About 450,000 accidents occur in India annually, of which 150,000 people succumb to injuries. Road traffic accidents have become a burden on society and are estimated to cause the Indian economy between 3 to 5 percent of the GDP annually. Thus, with the increased motorization in the country, road safety is now emerging as an important public health safety issue that needs to be tackled by incorporating innovative technologies into vehicle manufacturing, which can potentially improve road safety and enhance the overall driving experience.
Leveraging technology to enhance city life and improve road safety
According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, 40% of India’s population will be living in its cities by 2030. Digital augmented cities are a significant step towards empowering India’s citizens and laying a robust knowledge economy foundation. Advanced technologies such as Data Analytics, AI/ML, Cloud, etc., can improve decision-making and deliver a better standard of life. It can help IoT devices provide balanced information to the government, providing an inclusive, efficient, and transparent governance. Using innovative technology-driven applications such as smart traffic lights and traffic control systems, artificial intelligence, telematics, and automotive technology can contribute to preventing and reducing the number of road-related accidents and improve overall road safety.
Behavioral shift: Indian auto buyers are now more safety-conscious
Indian buyers’ perception of buying a vehicle has completely changed over the years. Putting safety as a top priority, Indian customers are now willing to stretch their budgets to buy safer cars. As digital technologies have taken over our lives, customers are also looking for a sophisticated, technology-driven connected vehicle that makes their driving experience seamless.
Technology has become a crucial element in the automobile industry to build safer and connected vehicles which offer holistic, software-driven mobility solutions to ensure a safer and smarter driving experience. Today, 4G enhanced connected vehicles are extremely important in averting crashes and further reducing the likelihood of serious injury. These vehicles make any city a better place by connecting to surrounding smart city infrastructure and play a vital role in ensuring road safety. As we transition to the 5G era, it will ensure newer use cases in the automobile industry and power the internet of things to further revolutionize the driving experience.
Safer and smarter roads with 5G edge
Roads would be much safer if vehicles had a fast and secure way to communicate with each other. Intelligent transportation systems depend on high-quality connectivity – the different actors on the roads need to be able to immediately communicate with each other and exchange data. Also, as more and more people are migrating to cities, technology-powered smart infrastructure must be deployed to ensure the quality of city life is not affected. 5G networks are crucial, which enable a seamless interconnection and data transformation between the smart city infrastructure and connected cars. Its low latency and great speed that offers a faster data transfer rate across connected devices.
Today, millions of connected vehicles can use 5G to communicate securely in real-time. It specifies one-millisecond end-to-end transmission latency requirements, which are perfect for minimizing the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-network (V2N), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. This can be used to improve road safety, enhance traffic efficiency and support advanced in-vehicle user infotainment services. 5G Edge computing allows the information received by a vehicle about other nearby vehicles, road conditions, traffic signals, etc., to be merged with the data from the vehicle’s onboard sensors to improve the driver’s awareness and assisted decision making. Therefore, 5G edge computing can make life in cities safer for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike.
Telecom service providers are critical to making our roads safer
Road safety, smarter cities, and telecom networks go hand in hand. As new car buyers predominantly look out for tech-savvy connected vehicles, 5G networks will form a foundation for high-end V2X communications. There is a great need for vehicle manufacturers to collaborate with telecom operators and technology providers to integrate high-speed internet services and top-notch connected car ecosystems. Therefore, the role of telecom operators can become a critical part of the new connected car and Intelligent Transport System (ITS). Further, governments need to push for 5G driven connected car services in the country and ensure safer travel for all the citizens.
(The author Mr. Anand Bhaskar, Managing Director, Service Provider Business, Cisco India & SAARC and the views expressed in this article are his own)