Three Ways Smart Innovations Are Making Commutes Easier

Moncombu Raju

Who likes being late for work? Nobody wants to deal with the side-eye from coworkers or the boss calling you into their office yet again. Unfortunately, you could do everything trying to get to work on time and still be caught offguard by poor traffic conditions. Bad streets, congestion, and extensive roadwork can be a nightmare.

What would you think if your car could access real-time information to improve your commute? Most people would probably point to their car travel app or GPS navigation device as proof that we already have such technologies. But what if we took it a step further to have traffic light systems evaluate the current congestion on the roads and adjust signal changes to alleviate vehicle backups? Or have those traffic signals relay information directly to your car to about alternate routes based on real-time traffic data?

Smart traffic innovations are being implemented in some of the busiest cities in the country. These innovations are making commutes easier for drivers, relieving vehicle congestion, and speeding up traffic to lessen the amount of car emissions that affect air quality. Car manufacturers, city traffic signal systems, and telematics companies are developing new ways to streamline how we drive along our roads with a variety of smart traffic innovations. Here are three methods that may be changing your daily commute in the near future.

Traffic signal communication

When roads become overly congested on a regular basis, cities usually turn to widening the roads to decrease traffic backups. There may be certain roads that cannot be widened to relieve the built-up traffic and, as city populations increase, these widened roads become congested again. Traffic theory researchers are investigating artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) to look at the problem from another angle.

Instead of widening the roads, they seek to change how traffic signals operate. Each traffic signal can communicate with others, while sensors constantly evaluate the state of the roads and amount of current traffic. The signals will adapt to traffic conditions by creating more green-light signal changes for overly congested roads to keep traffic moving. Cars and trucks will experience lesser idle times, which will also increase fuel efficiency for vehicles, while also tackling air pollution.

Traffic system connectivity with vehicles

While traffic lights are improving the flow of vehicles along roads, the signals can also improve the driving experience for people. Another smart innovation coming to vehicles is connectivity between traffic signal systems and cars’ infotainment systems and instrument panels. This technological innovation under the vehicle-to-everything (V2X) umbrella brings information instantly to drivers about traffic signal changes, while providing driving guidance.

The traffic signal system can tell how long cars will be sitting at a red light so drivers can be prepared to move forward when it turns green. The information will be displayed as a count-down timer. The traffic signal system would also be able to relay alternate routes if the driver is in a hurry or if there is nearby construction, as the car receives real-time, instantly displayed information.

Other smart innovations can help people with overall driving, such as offering suggestions about vehicle speed to take advantage of green lights to speed travel time. It can also provide guidance on stopping and starting to reduce wear and tear on car brakes.

Increasing traffic safety

Nobody wants to be involved in an accident. Yet vehicle crashes and pedestrian injuries are a major factor that smart innovations are now trying to address. New driving technologies aim to give drivers the heads-up regarding the vehicle and pedestrian traffic around them in order to avoid accidents. This technology could send alerts to an app that will provide notifications about upcoming bus stops and pedestrian crosswalks so the driver is prepared to slow down.

Another interesting feature improves safety and speeding ticket avoidance. This smart innovation relays information to the car’s instrument panel about upcoming speed limit changes. This feature is ideal for out-of-state travelers who are unfamiliar with local roads, helping them stay within the speed limit without getting a police ticket.

Making the roads more enjoyable for drivers through IoT

Our world is becoming more connected through smart innovations, Big Data, and digital transformations. Car manufacturers and telematics companies are looking for more ways to connect drivers with technology to enhance the driving experience. By adopting more smart innovations, people can access a vast wealth of information directly through their vehicles about the driving world around them.

With this connectivity, drivers can improve their everyday commute while increasing driving safety. As IoT becomes enhanced, our cars will be able to do more things for us, and we can finally enjoy driving the roads without worrying about being late to our destinations.

Learn how to bring new technologies and services together to power digital transformation by downloading The IoT Imperative for Discrete Manufacturers: Automotive, Aerospace and Defense, High Tech, and Industrial Machinery. Explore how to bring Industry 4.0 insights into your business today by reading Industry 4.0: What’s Next?


Moncombu Raju

About Moncombu Raju

Moncombu Raju is Director of Solution Management for the Automotive Industry Unit at SAP. His expertise include sales, service, and aftermarket services with focus on mobility, digital services, the Internet of Things, and blockchain solutions.