The new world of smart mobility | Soliton Systems


February 15, 2022

The New World of Smart Mobility

When you hear the term “Smart Mobility”, what does it conjure up?

In a world where we hear of Smartphones, Smart TV Apps, Smart Watch and generally smart devices all around, you would be forgiven in thinking that this is another of those new marketing terms. One which takes advantage of the current technology trend of everything being smarter than the average human with a new gizmo we can’t possible live without. But actually Smart Mobility is a futuristic trend that is, well, really smart! 

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What is Smart Mobility?

Smart Mobility is an expression given to a range of transport techniques that by manipulating a mass of data points that are both historic and real time, and often coupled with low latency live video streaming, allows cars, buses, taxis and other public services relying on transport to operate in a much more efficient manner.

The advantages of this are huge, especially from an environmental and sustainability prospective where journeys are much more efficient, take less time, safer and utilize less fuel.

The rise of the Electric Car

It is no secret that the car industry is moving to a strategy of decarbonization and electrification. The public appetite for fossil fuels is declining rapidly, and the future of the earth is dependent on new sustainable forms of energy that the transport industry is eagerly embracing. In Europe, transport currently accounts for 30% of CO2 emissions and there is a swelling amount of opinion that is keen to reduce this.

But with new generations of transport technology comes new opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop new benefits to make the world a safer, more efficient and cleaner environment in which to live and work. And these environments are often labeled as Smart City’s and consume many of the data points that are generated and utilized by Smart Mobility.

Autonomous, or self-driving cars are hailed as futuristic.  Installed with IoT devices, live streaming cameras, an array of sensors and by using the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI),  the ultimate aim is that they can completely self-drive. But self-driving is still considered unsafe for use in cities and has many challenges that still need to be overcome.

So what is the future for Driverless Mobility?

On the back of Smart Mobility, in addition to the ultimate dream of autonomous driving, we are now seeing new services emerge that allows the use of sustainable vehicles in the shorter term. New terms such as “Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)” and “Mobility on Demand” are beginning to appear. These are services which takes away the need of private ownership of motorcars and easily facilitates services where people and/or organizations want to carry themselves or goods, and can transport themselves to their destination easily and cost effectively across a wide range of different transport options.

The Emergence of Driverless Cars and Remote Control Taxis

Companies such Argo AI,  CruiseMobileye and  Baidu are all promoting and developing the autonomous self-driving car, which all utilize their own version of a lidar technology to enable safe driving through proximity sensors and radar control. But there is an alternative company known as Vay, who with a new approach to driverless mobility, is building remote driving electric cars that have a specific application to the taxi and the short term rental car market.

Cars can be requested by people on their phone app, and via a process known as teledriving, a teleoperator in a remote location can remotely drive the car to their location.  The hirer can then take over control, and drive the car to their destination and do not even need to worry about parking. The teleoperator can then resume control of the car as soon as the hirer leaves, and remotely drives the car onto its next job. For a world where people want to move away from owning a car, it is a really refreshing alternative without the worry and inconvenience of collecting or parking a rental car.

The Technology behind the Remote Driving Car

A teleoperator sits within a mocked up car within a teledriving center and they are able to take control of the car and drive it remotely as if they are within the car. To do this safely relies on the teleoperator having a real-time view of the road through the use of ultra-low latency live streaming.

Live streaming video from a car relies on a camera and utilization of the cellular network, but the issue is that video requires high bandwidth over mobile networks and this can add latency of as much as 1 to 2 seconds delay back to the teledriver. Imagine driving your car with even a 1 second delay. This could be catastrophic as even a half second delay when pulling out into traffic, or if a child should run out into the road, would mean the reaction time of the teleoperator would be too slow.

This is where Soliton Systems have developed a unique technology that allows secure live streaming of high quality video over multiple cellular connections, but with an ultra-low latency of less than 65ms.  With the emergence of 5G, 5G Live streaming is expected to reduce the latency even further. In a world where everyone worries about security and being hacked, Soliton’s background is embedded in IT security and all video and IT streams are fully encrypted and secured.

By working with automotive manufacturers, Soliton’s ultra-low video live streaming capability with a secure return path for remote control, is enabling companies to build safer and sustainable solutions for people and organizations looking to reduce their reliance on owning a motor vehicle and move into the world of Smart Mobility.

 


Anita Ghosh

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