Sunday, September 07, 2014

Top 5 Killer Apps: QS-Automotive Sensors

The Internet of Things means not just that computing devices have connectivity to the cloud but that they are connected to each other, and therefore that novel applications can be developed in this rich ecosystem. One area for development is linking quantified self wearable sensors with automotive sensors for applications including Fatigue Detection, Real-time Parking and Assistance, Anger/Stress Reduction, Keyless Authentication, and DIY Diagnostics.

The auto industry may be poised for tremendous change in the next two decades with self-driving cars, denser cities, more cars on the road, and alternative fuel sources expected. This suggests new concepts in personal transportation, including redefining 'what a car is' to shift from a 'dumb conveyance' to an interactive platform communicating in real-time with other drivers, smartcity infrastructure, driver and passenger biometric data, and other sensor/internet of things information streams.

 Smart Pod Conveyance of the Future?

 (Image: M. Ghezel)

Top 5 Killer Apps 

1. Fatigue Detection
  • Fatigue is implicated in 20% of accidents. Early warning signs are a slower driver heart rate and breathing rate, and posture slump. These could be detected through wearable sensors or auto-based sensors, and an intervention provided (verbal alert, seat vibration, music, or puff of air). 
2. Real-time Parking and Assistance
  • Up to 75% of city center congestion may be caused by drivers looking for parking. Parking garage data could be connected to on-board navigation systems to show and guide drivers to available spots, and further reserve and pre-pay for spots where a user presents a QR code on a smartwatch or smartphone to a smart parking gate like from SureSpot to obtain the parking ticket [and directions to the spot]. 
  • A related idea is real-time automatic road-side assistance, where automotive sensors would assess crash impact and predict damage. Then if appropriate the vehicle could alert local trauma centers (tier 1-5) and first responders. If the accident is less serious, if the driver has permissioned such a service, an app could automatically request local vendor service quotes.

3. Anger/Stress Reduction
  • Anger reduction is the most obvious area for improvement where most simply the driver’s mental state could be read from sensors and interventions provided such as breathing exercises, music, and question-based (re-focusing) intervention. 
  • Smart steering wheels with heart sensors could be used to detect heart attacks. Medical emergencies are implicated in 1% of accidents, and this number is growing with active adults driving longer, and commute distances lengthening. 
  • Wearable or auto-based sensors could provide a daily health check that is completely transparent to the driver measuring heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, skin conductance, and glucose levels, and sent through the cloud to the driver’s personal EMR or QS data portal. 
  • Addressing stress as a complex adaptive system, multiple data streams could be integrated into a ‘leave on time’ app. A key stressor in distracted driving is being late. An individual’s online calendar could be connected with real-time traffic data so smarthome or smartwatch alerts communicate to leave earlier for an appointment and confirm if this happens, and measure drive-time stress. Financial incentives could be offered for both health and auto insurance discounts for reduced stress and smart driving.
4. Keyless Authentication
  • Keyless authentication, could facilitate one-time or short-term access, for example for automated car rental, assuming anti-theft concerns are allayed. Vehicle authentication and access could be via Bluetooth, QR code, blockchain technologies, and/or smartwatch fingerprint readers for an added layer of validation.
5. DIY Diagnostics
  • DIY diagnostics accessed with tools like the CarChip could be an important app. Just like DIYscience and DIY health, on-board diagnostic data could be collected and linked to user-friendly consumer apps for pro-active notification and preventive maintenance. Asynchronous reminders (later while the driver is relaxing at home) could consist of the vehicle tweeting the driver more granular detail about its condition and potential maintenance, including the projected cost per different future time points if the maintenance is delayed.

More Details and References to Statistical Citations: Sensor Ubiquity: Blockchain Tech and Automotive-Quantified Self Integrated Sensor Applications developed for Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center.

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