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Intelligent Transportation Systems Require Intelligent Mobile Networks

At the ITS World Congress last month in Detroit, we saw a wide range of intelligent transportation solutions and concepts. The most popular solutions on display –presented by several Auto Manufacturers, ITS suppliers, and Cisco along with partner Cohda Wireless – were simulated and live Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) demonstrations, which showed how vehicles will communicate to each other and to roadside infrastructure in the not-too-distant future. A key goal of V2V and V2I is safety, for drivers and pedestrians, as vehicles will be able to synchronize their movement with traffic lights, roads, toll plazas, rail crossings and of course other cars.

Cisco also showed how Connected Transportation solutions can leverage the intelligent – and virtualized – mobile core network. We demonstrated a [fictional] after-market connected car application (“CarConcierge”) that enables users to remotely start or unlock their car, do a car “health check,” and extract car-sourced analytics over an LTE mobile network. The demonstration showed how the Connected Transportation market will see an explosion of innovative new applications that mobile operators can monetize by providing secure, intelligent, and cost-effective connectivity and process automation to devices and vehicles.

Watch a video summary of the Cisco demonstration: Read More »

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Delivering Better Transportation Solutions In a Connected World With Cisco IoE

Cisco ITS WC boothFord, GM, Honda, Toyota, the U.S. Department of Transportation.  It’s no surprise why they were front and center at the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) World Congress which wrapped up in Detroit last week.   But, Cisco?

Barry Einsig, Cisco Transportation Executive and John Gillan, Sales Relationship Manager for Cisco Advanced Services prepare for a customer meeting at ITS World Congress

Barry Einsig, Cisco Global Transportation Executive and John Gillan, Sales Relationship Manager for Cisco Advanced Services prepare for a customer meeting at ITS World Congress.

“Reinventing Transportation in our Connected World” was the theme of this year’s ITS World Congress, yet a question we heard all week was “what is Cisco doing here?”  As if right on cue, as the show came to a close, Connected World Magazine ranked Cisco as #1 on their prestigious Connected World CW 100 annual ranking of the top 100 elite technology leaders in connected devices.

Cisco has long been recognized as a leader in traditional IT and networking, but customers are starting to see how the Internet of Everything and the Internet of Things is driving a big transformation in transportation.  And, they trust Cisco to lead the way again.

Read More »

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Affordable Autonomous Vehicles: Coming soon to a store near you?

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If cities would set aside dedicated lanes on highways or exclusively autonomous sectors in cities, autonomous vehicles could probably become reality as early as 2015 to 2019 on dedicated highway lanes and 2020-2024 in dedicated city sectors. Mixing with and managing the human errors of drivers in conventional vehicles will move the time horizon for fully autonomous vehicles out to 2018 to 2022 on mixed highway lanes and post 2025 in mixed urban driving sectors.

Today, technology is assisting drivers in preventing crashes (e.g., line keeping assist) and is allowing drivers to delegate driving to the “autopilot” under certain circumstances (e.g., adaptive cruise control). It is available in many premium models and also becoming an option in other vehicle categories for all who are willing to pay a premium for a safer ride. Cruise, a startup just announced plans to launch a $10,000 autonomous aftermarket kit for newer Audi cars early 2015. While the call is still out whether upgrading conventional vehicles to become autonomous is a viable strategy, it is a good example for how quickly the technology is evolving.

Technology companies and automakers have fully autonomous vehicles that have driven hundreds of thousands of miles on our roads to date. The time when we can buy and ride in a fully autonomous vehicle will not only depend on the autonomous vehicle technology the industry is maturing at rapid pace, but even more on the driving space we allow such vehicles to drive in.  The options are best described in a four quadrant grid: One axis differentiates highway and city driving, the other axis distinguishes exclusive or non-exclusive driving space, meaning whether autonomous vehicles operate on dedicated lanes or city sectors or have to mix and cope with the mistakes of conventional drivers.

An investment in driverless vehicles will likely break even within one to six years, depending on the readiness of the auto insurance industry to adapt rates to the lower risks of autonomous vehicles and on owners’ willingness to share autonomous vehicles.

The fixed ownership cost of the average U.S. passenger vehicle is approximately $8,700 per year:

  • $4,300 depreciation, financing
  • $1,900 license, parking, warranty, etc.
  • $1,500 crash related cost born by the owner
  • $1,000 auto insurance

Human error accounts for over 90% of crashes. Assuming autonomous vehicles can eliminate 80% of this risk, the average vehicle owner would save approximately $1,800 (80% x 90% x $2,500) each year.

Conventional vehicles are used less than 5% of their usable time. The convenience of being able to call an autonomous vehicle when it is needed and easily release it for others to use when it is not needed is likely to make autonomous car sharing a much more convenient and cost-efficient mode of transportation for many. Assuming the remaining ownership cost ($6,900) can be shared by 3 users, this would equate to additional savings of $4,600 per user.

For the purpose of this “back of the envelope calculation”, let’s assume that structural design savings and the incremental autonomous cost are a wash. Virtually crash-less autonomous vehicles would require less structural and other safety features (e.g., fenders, airbags) built into vehicles, thus reducing cost and weight.

According to a recent Morgan Stanley study, driverless technology is estimated to initially add about $10,000 to the cost of a vehicle (less than the cost of a battery pack for an average electric vehicle). At the above savings rates, the investment in an autonomous vehicle would pay back in year six at $1,800 crash risk related savings, and in year two at $6,400 savings including the sharing option.

With mass market adoption, the autonomous upgrade cost is expected to go down to about $5,000 per vehicle. At this price point, the investment in an autonomous vehicle would pay back in year three at $1,800 crash risk related savings, and in less than a year at $6,400 savings including the sharing option.

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#IoE Napkin Math and Your Daily Commute

March 4, 2014 at 11:07 am PST

Google is creating a vehicle that drives itself. This isn’t really news, right? They’re testing it all over the place, and it’s on the roads in California, at least on highways and freeways (it’s my understanding Google employees are required to be hands-on on side streets and residential areas) and few would argue that the era of computer-driven vehicles is coming soon.

IOENapkinMath Read More »

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Cisco IOx: Real World Benefits

February 17, 2014 at 5:30 am PST

IoT Railway SystemsIn my previous blog I have attempted to describe some of the distributed computing and data processing challenges that have to be solved in order to release the full potential and value from the Internet of Things, and how Cisco is addressing these challenges by enabling a Fog computing model via Cisco IOx. Let’s now review some real world scenarios where benefits from the application enablement capabilities I have described can have a measurable and relevant impact on everyday life and business.

SAFER TRANSPORTATION

Whether it’s a passenger train in a bustling city or a freight train slithering through the mountainside, news of derailment is a tragic story. You may have heard about the fatal train accident in New York City’s Bronx or the recent incident in Philadelphia where a train hauling crude oil was dangling over a river. The US federal government has seen more oil spilled in rail incidents in 2013 than was spilled in the nearly four decades since it began collecting data. The demand for preventative measures is greater than ever. Read More »

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