Smart vehicles are vehicles that can think, communicate with each other and the transport network, and take action to improve safety and efficient operation. A state-of-the-art road and vehicle system recommends to drivers the best roads to use, advises what their estimated travel time will be, alerts them to traffic hazards ahead, warns them when they stray out of their lane or get too close to the vehicle ahead, suggests where to buy the cheapest fuel, and tells them where to park.
Looking further ahead, the cars we are familiar with may be completely replaced by autonomous electric cars capable of sensing their environment and navigating on their own. Although this might sound like science fiction, companies such as Google, Toyota, and Audi have already built autonomous car models, while experts predict that up to 75% of all vehicles may be self-driving by 2040. A human may choose a destination, but is not required to perform any mechanical operation on the vehicle.
Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), have opened up a new realm of possibilities as well as challenging current privacy, civil liberty, safety and air-vehicle use laws around the world. UAVs have many potential applications for the smart communities of the future agricultural applications in particular offer huge opportunities for drone usage along with telecommunications, defence, traffic management, mapping, emergency services, weather monitoring, resources exploration, and environmental analysis.
This report explores the developments occurring in the ITS sector including Electric Vehicles, Vehicle to Grid (V2G), autonomous cars and Unmanned Aircraft (drones).
The connected car market has been moving along for the last few years with many ambitious projects and demonstrator products. In 2015, there are hundreds of thousands of Electric Vehicles (EVs) around the world, and the market is growing rapidly. Leading manufacturers in the EV market include Nissan with its Leaf electric vehicle, Chevrolet with Volt, and offerings from Renault, Toyota, Honda, GM, and BMW. The Solar Roadways project is an ambitious idea not only to charge EVs, but also to generate power for domestic and industrial use. Following Google's example, Apple may also be planning to build a self-driving electric car. Globally, there are five Personal Rapid Transport systems using automated electric vehicles. There is also keen interest in the Drone market. Facebook has built its first full-scale drone which has a wingspan of 42 meters and weighs about 400kg. It will be used to provide internet access to the most remote parts of the world.