Home Interviews “IoT makes vehicles safety-aware”

“IoT makes vehicles safety-aware”

“IoT makes vehicles safety-aware”

Transworld, since its inception, has been involved in providing robust data solutions for the first and last mile issues in supply chain and logistics. Vikram Puri, CEO, Transworld is an industry veteran with over 20 years of extensive experience in developing IoT backbone infrastructure and providing fleet management and data acquisition solutions. Known for winning several government contracts for solid waste disposal and even working with HPCL, Puri’s IoT company demonstrates how connectivity can facilitate shared mobility concepts and business models.

Tell us about Transworld Technologies’ offerings in the automotive sector.

Transworld Technologies is involved in wireless data activation and data management space. We build IoT devices that are edge computing smart devices. They acquire data from a variety of sensors. They process data locally. This data is then uploaded to an IoT cloud which can allow an awareness of location, environment and safety in a vehicle.

Our flagship award-winning product Mobile Eye is a hardware IoT device or an edge computing device that can be installed anywhere and perform a variety of functions. It can communicate with multiple sensors, cameras, and even the vehicle’s on-board diagnostics. It can process the data and then transmit the required results to the server on the cloud. It intelligently performs distributed processing or computing on that remote platform. Mobile Eye doesn’t need the networks to transmit the huge amounts of data. So it is an efficient system that can also give inputs. As OEMs are not open with their data and their respective IoT technology we come in as an aftermarket non-OEM provider and our services can be used on any vehicle.

How can your IoT system benefit drivers in a fleet system?

Mobile Eye can perform journey risk management module wherein it will upload a route risk map. This is beneficial in longer routes as drivers cannot remember the hazardous points on it. The device will issue a warning along with a recommended speed limit.

It can be easily used by underprivileged Indian truck drivers as it extremely simple and instructs drivers accordingly. It is designed in such a way that there is no need for a driver intervention through buttons and switches. Once installed, it can tell the driver of upcoming risks and observes the drivers behaviour.

This will allow fleet managers to be vigilant about the driver’s behaviour as a driver score card is generated providing a track record. It can also tell if the defensive driver training that is being imparted to him is effective or not. The device also has a fatigue meter which captures how many hours the driver has been at the wheel and on the job. This can indicate physiological and psychological condition of the driver. We monitor the drivers sleep, stress, agitation, and tiredness which can provide a correct picture of the drivers aggressiveness or stress levels.

Why is there a focus on first-mile and last-mile solutions when it comes to mobility?

If you think in terms of simple logistical delivery, a delivery man or courier will have to make deliveries in multiple places in a single day. The most optimal route has to be decided by them, if they are using low-tech applications. However, if they use advanced routing systems enabled by IoT, they can make more deliveries.

This types of systems can also help certain government departments, such as the postal service. As of now, a postman has to take the same route every day, irrespective of whether or not he has letters in that route. Intelligent on-the-fly routing can save 30 to 40 per cent of his time and resources. In a fast and efficient manner, an IoT system that can give delivery and route instructions on a daily and hourly basis. It can plan last-mile transportation on the fly.

On the first-mile front (or primary delivery, as we call it), we have successfully done the primary logistics that is scheduling, planning and monitoring of the supply chain of companies like Castrol, Chevron, and British Petroleum for the past 15 years. In this too, there can be ample of time and money saved by planning the transportation method effectively.

The process of primary transportation begins from raw material arriving to the plant from various places. After that, the product also has to be transported to warehouses or distribution points. Usually primary transportation is high volume, and has more or less fixed route and ranges from 100 to 1,500 km. Optimising these processes through IoT systems can help to track expensive raw materials and ensure a timely production system as well.

How does GIS affect the Auto industry?

Any segment of the auto industry, whether it is transport or supply chain or people transportation, cannot do without geographical information systems (GIS). For example, OEMs transport their product to dealerships. OEMs need to track the movement of their product (most vehicles are transported, whereas larger vehicles are driven) from manufacturing plant to the dealer. If the delivery from plant to dealership can be made efficient then that is huge money saving opportunity. This tracking of equipment and fleet uses GIS as it analyses, records, manages and presents geospatial data.

Through this system, the dealer’s movement can be tracked, recording unnecessary stops and route changes. It is also possible for OEMs to find out how the vehicle operates under different weather and climate conditions, terrain and different regions. This will help in the R&D which will help create better products suited to the customers needs. This can also help to reduce the production cycle time.

GIS can help fleet users as they need to know where the bulk of their fleet is used, in which region of the country. This can help them optimise engine oil, lubricant and other components’ usage. In personal vehicles or PVs, GIS can play a major role in roadside assistance and safety. You can’t do anything in this business unless you are geographically intelligent. It is akin to learning English to make your mark in the world.

How can IoT applications help fleet managers?

Tyres, fuel and time are the three cost heads that fleet managers have to contend with daily basis. A good fleet management system or a supply chain management system gives them complete visibility across all these parameters. It allows him to plan the location or trip more efficiently and it allows him to use fuel more efficiently. The system can also take care of vehicles, cash management, fuel management, tyre management. Sensors can help to prevent fuel pilferage, reduce fuel consumption, record economical
On the fuel saving front there are two areas viz fuel pilferage and fuel consumption. Very good sensors can detect pilferage instantly and even the location where it is taking place. Some sensors can also pick up throttle position, fuel flow and engine rpm, helping the the driver to practice economical driving. Along with route planning and scheduling, this can result from four to seven per cent fuel saving.

Can IoT be leveraged by personal vehicle users as well?

Personal vehicles can have an IoT device installed and with the owner’s permission their driving data and behaviour can be shared with vehicle insurance companies. Based on the report generated by the device, the driver will be offered certain incentives and insurance premium benefits. Low risk drivers will be most benefited through this as the premiums will be brought down. This is important as insurance companies have no way of knowing which among their customers is a good driver and charge the same premium rates for all drivers which isn’t really fair. The idea is to benefit the customers not to sell off the data. Of course, special care will be taken while handling this data through encryption.

How can IoT and shared mobility models be bettered?

OEMs are most competent to provide IoT for their own vehicles even though they are not electronic equipment manufacturers. However, this data needs to be made public much like Google’s Android service. In this instance, the tech giant has provided customers a wide range of hardware choice by allowing its Android OS to be used in various other phones. By doing this, however, they have still retained their customers as without a Google account the OS won’t work. OEMs could replicate this model with IoT data but none of them seem willing to do that. They are not willing to sell to their competition which can hamper their growth. If you come up with a new technology, making it free and available to the rest of the world is more profitable. In addition to that they get to write their unique offering all over it.

Fleet owners do not want to be restricted and they have vehicles from several different brands. Due to this they have to deal with multiple IoT platforms and softwares. None of the data collected from these softwares is on a single platform. The fleet owner in that case will have to collect data and manually put it on a single platform to get reports for an entire fleet.
If OEMs made their data public, multiple companies can take that data and put it on a single platform. However, they don’t want to share their data with other people.

So are you calling for democratisation of automotive IoT?

Not democratisation per se, but at least there needs to be some open sourcing to optimise fleet data. The old school method of thinking is not sustainable and unless automobile manufacturers stop treating technology as a solely automotive development they are going to struggle to get acceptance of their system.

There is a lot of data at risk due to the IoT cloud. How can those risks be mitigated?

Particular events can be picked up through edge computing sensors and then they will be encrypted. All this data is encrypted and sent only to the right server. In this manner, only those who need this information will have access to it.

How will supply chain visibility be optimised?

The supply chain is the movement of material from raw material to a product and finally the finished goods being delivered to a consumer. You can see the movement of the product throughout the supply chain. This allows for the delivery time to be shortened. Our IoT devices can be used across different applications and modes of transport. We can have tracking in a truck as well as an aircraft. The trick is to link the thing that you want to track to the thing that you can track. The customer can choose the type of IoT device that you require and then you can track the vehicle, the product, the consignment, or even a person.

The old school method of thinking is not sustainable and unless automobile manufacturers stop treating technology as a solely automotive development they are going to struggle to get acceptance of their system.

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