Key Technological Innovations Transforming The Transportation Industry

Key Technological Innovations Transforming The Transportation Industry

The transportation industry is one of the industries where technological innovations can be felt in a very tangible manner. You can practically ‘see’ how digital transformation and modern technologies are revolutionizing the way the logistics industry works. From land based transportation to maritime and air-freight: all the three  main aspects of the logistics industry are getting reshaped by digital transformation.

Internet of Things In The Transportation Industry

What it is: Thanks to the IOT revolution, our vehicles are now connected to the web. With the help of sensors and even edge computing, the maritime and automotive industries are able to keep the vehicles and ships connected to intelligent systems, transportation agencies and with other vehicles and ships.

Use Cases:

  • Accident Prevention: A car that’s connected with the Internet can send the sensor data to an intelligent processing system that can hep it identify potential collision situations and obstacles.
  • Route Planning: A ship that can receive weather data from the satellites can plan its route based on the weather condition and avoid delay and danger.
  • Location Tracking: Vehicle owners and companies can track their fleet of vehicles with the GPS in the vehicles by sending the GPS data to the owners and the companies through the web.
  • V2X: It stands for vehicle to everything communication. Basically, V2X relies on IOT to communicate with things around a vehicle (like traffic lights and even pedestrians). The main purpose is to increase road safety, vehicle efficiency and automation.

Edge Computing:

If a remote system takes too much time to process data that a car sends, the data will be useless. Ships and automotive vehicles need real time data processing. This is why modern vehicle manufacturers use advanced hardware in cars so that the sensor data can be processed (or at least pre-processed) in the vehicle or ship itself. 

  • Sometimes having the necessary computing power onboard a vehicle is not possible. In that case, the computing system is placed as close to the vehicle as possible.

  • The basic idea is to avoid sending the data directly to centralised cloud storage or server to minimise wastage of valuable processing time and bandwidth.

 This processing of data using computing and storage power located near the place where the data generates is what we call edge computing.

Advanced Batteries

No matter how advanced an electric vehicle is, it is limited by the limitations in battery technology. Not only does an EV need frequent charging, the batteries in them are one of the reasons why EVs are so expensive. If electric vehicles want to see high adoption rates, the EV companies need to come up with better battery technologies. There are a number of technical breakthroughs that have happened in this regard over the past few years.

  • Silicon Anode Batteries: Today most batteries use carbon/graphite as the anode material. Researchers are testing newer batteries that use Silicon as the anode material which can prolong the battery life and ten times more store more energy.

  • Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotube Batteries: Nawa Technologies, a French company has identified that moving the electrodes in a battery carbon nanotubes that are vertically aligned to a surface can dramatically increase energy storage and efficiency of batteries.

Smart Propulsion

Ships are gradually shifting from manual control of the propellers to automated propulsion. When a ship’s propulsion is controlled manually, there remains a high chance of human error.

  • Automated propulsion systems can control the propellers based on sensor data and GPS location and keep the engine in optimum condition.
  • With automated propeller control, the ship can save more fuel and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Automated propulsion system is one of the core criteria that require to be fulfilled in order to build a fully automated ship.

Overall Digital Transformation

The overall Digital Transformation revolution that we are seeing elsewhere has not failed to touch the road transport and shipping industries.

  • We are seeing simple digitalisation like using Intelligent Document Processing and optimal communication channels (like using Microsoft Teams to forward important emails) adding massive value to the shipping industry.

  • Data Analytics is at the heart of Digital Transformation. It is through data analytics that vehicles and ships are able to help drivers and captains make data driven decision based on sensor and engine data.

  • Automation is taking the transportation industry by storm. From automated route planning to automated collision avoidance and brake: automation is not just making the transportation industry efficient- it is saving lives. Today, the marine industry is using automated technologies to reduce carbon emissions.

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