Guest blog: Harnessing the power of connectivity for transportation
In the mid-2000s, a Nokia advert showed how we would soon be able to look at our phones to find out when the next bus would arrive. To commuters that seemed like an amazing breakthrough, and the service duly arrived in London in 2010 (not that Nokia survived long enough to make much use of it, unfortunately). The combination of journey apps and contactless payment reversed decades of decline, and led to a 50% rise in London bus journeys. That might sound a rather mundane subject when we are being promised imminent access to the metaverse, but it shows how connectivity significantly changes people’s behaviour.
One of the key advantages of connectivity in transport is reducing uncertainty. People want to minimise changes of transport mode (e.g. combining two buses and a train), because each transfer runs the risk of a delay or breakdown. Today’s connectivity enables users to be aware of problems, but tomorrow’s connectivity will enable users to avoid them by automatically planning routes and transport modes in real-time.
For drivers, connectivity means less tiring journeys. While the prospect of fully autonomous cars driving from, say, Oxford to Liverpool remains a fairly distant dream, large parts of the journey will soon be semi-automated. In 2021, the first cars started to appear with “highway assist”, which enables the car to look after itself on a motorway, and only needs human control when it reaches the motorway exit. That will be a mainstream feature within five years.
Connectivity also opens the prospect of more efficient vehicles. All propulsion systems need a significant safety margin in case of adverse conditions (for example, driving at 7,000 feet on an Alpine pass). However, if the vehicle is connected and monitored, the motor and battery can be worked at maximum efficiency, safe in the knowledge that they can be throttled back if they get too close to their limits.
Perhaps surprisingly, connectivity will also enable the circular economy. A connected motor can provide an entire life-history of its usage. When it comes to the end of its first life, there will be enough information to decide whether it can be refurbished and put into a new vehicle, or if it will have to be broken up for its constituent parts. Without that record, no company would take the risk of re-using a 10-year-old component.
Of course, connectivity also has a downside – what can be connected can also be hacked. Keeping something connected for a decade typically requires numerous security patches and updates, which is a complex and expensive process. That is why ANGOKA has developed quantum-secure cyber solutions based on tamper-proof, hardware-based device identities, rather than software. The secure devices then create a Device Private Network (DPN), which provides secure communications even over untrustworthy networks. The hardware dynamically manages the security keys, meaning there is no need for regular software updates.
As we are steadily learning from well-publicised cyber-attacks, connectivity is only as good as the security that protects it. ANGOKA’s patented approach provides a unique combination of higher security and lower maintenance.
Guest blog by Jay Nagley, Head of Business Development at ANGOKA as part of techUK's Future of Mobility Campaign Week
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