Transportation

Bike Anti-Theft Device Now Connects to Global IoT Network

Create: 09/19/2017 - 20:01

Photo: Melanie McMullen

The increasing popularity of bicycling as a sport and a means of city and campus transportation have made bicycles an easy target for thieves. According to the National Bike Registry, more than 1.5 million bicycles are stolen every year. Anti-theft IoT technology has the potential to drastically decrease the frequency of bike thefts—and the frustration it causes the owners.

Making Tracks with IoT

A security-focused startup company, Sherlock, based in Turin, Italy, hopes its latest anti-theft solution will significantly reduce bicycle theft. In early September, Sherlock established a partnership with communications provider Orange Business Services to create a global bike tracking and data solution that uses a management portal and IoT connectivity to decrease bike theft incidences.

Sherlock’s niche is creating anti-theft solutions for a wide range of vehicle types. It has developed patented Intensive Antitheft Marketing® technology that involves etching an alphanumeric code on main vehicle components. The code, which is associated with a vehicle identification number, is stored in a secure database and makes it possible for law enforcement and insurance agencies to locate rightful owners. The technology is available for many different moving vehicles, including:

  • Automobiles and light trucks
  • Boats
  • Motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles
  • Heavy trucks
  • Motorhomes.  

Photo: Sherlock

For the recent partnership with Orange, Sherlock is gearing up for more automation. It plans to incorporate SIM cards created by Orange to prevent bicycle theft across Europe and North America. The current design plan entails embedding the SIM card into a bike’s handlebars. The SIM card will wirelessly sync with and transmit data to a mobile application, which is downloaded by the bike owner.

According to Sherlock, the Orange SIM card will contain a GPRS module for low-energy Bluetooth capability and Internet connectivity, as well as GPS for identifying the bike’s location. Manufacturers, retailers and retail solution providers will be in charge of installing the SIM card on the inside of the handlebars, while bike owners are tasked with activating the card via the mobile application on their phone (after the purchase of their new bicycle). An aftermarket solution, the module comes with two years of network connectivity included in the purchase price.

Once installed, the IoT device is virtually impossible to detect by thieves, and it requires no alteration of the bike design. An additional safeguard against theft is what Sherlock calls a “bike passport,” a digital document that identifies each bike. The bike passport was developed through a partnership with the Turin City Police, and it contains all the elements needed for an individual to prove their ownership of the bike.

When a bike has been moved or tampered with, the SIM card’s Bluetooth capabilities allow the owner to receive notifications on their phone. Thanks to the GPS module on the SIM card, bike owners can get real-time data and track the location of their bike. The police can also access the data to aid efforts to retrieve stolen bikes.

On the Road with Disruptive IoT

The partnership between Orange and Sherlock is a positive one for the bicycle industry, especially because technological solutions to car theft have previously been prioritized over protections against bike theft.

In a recent release, Fabrice de Windt, senior vice president at Orange Business Services in Europe, said “the Orange collaboration with Sherlock proves how digital transformation can be a disruptive force, creating new services that respond to people’s changing needs and expectations.”

Lock in a Partnership

Since its inception, Sherlock technology has been used in more than 1 million vehicles. Its distribution network is comprised of more than 600 partners. Its extensive registry system is supported by insurance companies in collaboration with police forces.

Learn more about how to form partnerships with Sherlock.

IoT Telematics Puts Data in Driver’s Seat

Create: 09/15/2017 - 15:34

For companies managing entire fleets of vehicles, monitoring the vehicles, while trying to reduce operation costs and focus on fleet efficiency can be difficult. IoT vehicle telematics can help. Incorporating vehicle telematics provides a range of benefits for fleet management companies. Benefits include reduction in labor costs, increased productivity, control of fuel costs, improved customer service, increased fleet safety and security, reduction in operating expenses, and reduction of unauthorized vehicle use.

Steering Vehicle Fleets to Success with Telematics

With IoT vehicle telematics, fleet operators can analyze even the most basic of details, such as route lengths and duration, and it can help them to understand how to modify a journey to save money. Vehicles generate data around breakdowns, component failure rates and driving habits. When operators monitor vehicle data, they can track GPS location, driver speed and seat belt safety. Fleet managers can identify vehicle issues and driving patterns before they become a costly crisis.

According to a report from Transparency Market Research (TMR), the number of companies incorporating IoT with fleet management is growing. With AT&T, Cisco, IBM, Intel, Omnitracs, Oracle, Sierra Wireless, TomTom International BV, Trimble and Verizon Communications being the current leading players.

TMR also notes that the demand in the global market for IoT fleet management will escalate at a CAGR of 20 percent during the forecast period of 2017 to 2025. The report evaluates that the IoT fleet management market, across the globe, was worth US$3,340 million in 2016, and estimates it to reach a valuation of US$15,870 million by the end of the forecast period.

fleet management IoT telematics

Fleet Complete, one of the fastest-growing providers of industry-leading GPS fleet and asset tracking technology and cloud-based mobile workforce solutions, provides companies across the globe with a comprehensive telematics platform. Day & Ross Dedicated Logistics, a Canadian automotive private fleet carrier, relies on the Day & Ross platform to optimize its operations and move ahead of the competition.

Diagnostics and Real-time Coaching for Drivers

In this video, Intel Lead Solution Architect George Moakley explains the efficiencies derived from local analytics gathered by the Intel gateway computing platform operating system. He notes two major concerns in running a fleet of trucks: fuel efficiency and keeping the vehicles in service while generating revenue for the company. When each vehicle has a gateway computing device, fleet management companies can monitor the state of tires, obtain detailed diagnostics and use information to coach the drivers on their driving behavior, such as shifting, breaking and accelerating, which can improve fuel usage.

For rental car companies, vehicle telematics are enabling faster emergency response and improved customer service. Car manufacturers are offering remote diagnostic and safety services that encourage brand loyalty. Fleet managers are able to seamlessly monitor productivity and track vehicle efficiency, usage and functionality.

Rev Up Your Knowledge of Fleet Management Telematics:

  • Learn more about Intel’s on-board diagnostics-II (OBD-II) dongle and how it turns virtually any vehicle into a connected device capable of real-time data analysis and feedback.
  • Watch this video to see how Transcode addresses operational problems using IoT technology to link real-time vehicle data and drivers to the office with in-vehicle computer systems.

Collaborative Platform Aims at Improving Smart City Development

Create: 09/13/2017 - 16:29

Photo: Global City Teams Challenge/NIST, U.S. Dept. of Commerce

 

While most cities want to be considered a “smart city,” adding layers of new technology can be a difficult task. IoT-based connectivity and communication projects tend to be highly customized, which can lead to an increase in both frustration and risk for city managers leading the charge.  

Launched in 2014 to help better navigate some of these stumbling blocks, the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) program is a collaborative platform for the development of smart cities and communities, led by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a bureau of U.S. Department of Commerce, in partnership with other U.S. federal agencies including National Science Foundation, International Trade Administration and National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Encouraging Collaboration and the Development of Standards

GCTC’s long-term goal is "to establish and demonstrate replicable, scalable and sustainable models for incubation and deployment of interoperable, standard-based solutions using advanced technologies such as IoT and CPS, and demonstrate their measurable benefits in communities and cities."

The program enables communities interested in making the transition to smart cities—or those interested in expanding or refining existing smart infrastructures—to benefit from the real-world experience of other parties who have experience with the technologies in question. All of which helps improve efficiency and lower costs by avoiding the need to reinvent the wheel with every new connected project.

Increased collaboration is at GCTC’s core, allowing disparate parties across the globe to connect and benefit from the others’ experiences. By using its platform, local governments, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, technologists and corporations from all over the world can form project teams, or “action clusters,” and “SuperClusters,” to work on groundbreaking IoT and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) applications within the city and community environment.

As the program has matured, new focuses have recently come to the forefront—specifically, the issue of improving security.

Smart City Partnership for Cybersecurity

At the Global City Teams Challenge Expo on August 29 of this year, NIST and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the next phase of the GCTC, the “Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge,” a partnership to bring together smart city initiatives and DHS’s security expertise and resources.

“A smart city application is an integration of critical infrastructures of all types,” said Chris Greer, director of the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program at NIST. “And so it’s important that these critical infrastructures be not only efficient and effective, but that they be safe, secure, resilient, reliable and privacy-advancing, in other words, that they be trustworthy as well. And that’s the focus of this partnership that we’re announcing between NIST and the Department of Homeland Security’s science and technology Directorate.”

Also speaking at the expo, Doug Maughan, director of the Cyber Security Division of DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate, highlighted why the collaboration was a natural extension of the GCTC’s mission. “Today, what we’re saying is ‘look we have a whole community of cybersecurity researchers nationally and globally that you can touch and tap into. It’s time for us to start doing a marriage here between the smart cities community and the cybersecurity and data privacy community.’ What we’re hoping to do with the partnership with NIST is exactly that.”

Maughan identified four major goals the DHS’s Cyber Security Division has that align with promoting safer smart cities: protecting critical infrastructure; securing .gov IP addresses on state, local, and federal levels; securing the technology ecosystem; and aiding law enforcement. It funds a variety of research and grant programs to advance the development of homeland security-useful technologies—one of which, the Silicon Valley Innovation Program, funds startups around the country. According to Maughan, DHS has a budget of about $90 million to fund new technologies.

Photo: Global City Teams Challenge/NIST, U.S. Dept. of Commerce

“Our goal is to find guinea pigs: people who are willing to be pilot partners to test and evaluate technologies. We actually fund pilots of some of these technologies as part of our projects,” said Maughan. “The smart cities environment is a great avenue for testing and evaluating new technologies. That’s what we’re all doing here as part of Smart Cities. We just want you to think more about the security and the privacy of those smart cities and of those technologies. We’re hoping to bring technology to help you.”

The Smart and Secure Cities and Communities Challenge will hold a launch event in November, followed by a tech jam in spring 2018. In fall 2018, DHS and NIST will host another GCTC expo to celebrate the progress made by smart city initiatives.

Help Cities Get Smart

Drones Provide a Key Assist in Hurricane Harvey Aftermath

Create: 08/29/2017 - 15:05
drones Hurricane Harvey

Photo: Aransas Pass Police Department

 

Police, fire departments and other emergency response groups across the globe have incorporated drones into their search and rescue mission processes. They are playing an increasingly important role, giving news media, authorities and local citizens a birds-eye view of the landscape in natural disasters, including hurricanes and the flooding aftermath.

In late August, as Hurricane Harvey flooded Aransas Pass, TX, leaving destruction in its wake, the Aransas Pass Police Department released several minutes of drone footage on its social media channels. According to local media, after viewing the damage to the area in the drone footage, city managers could more accurately assess the status of power lines, resulting in an announcement that electricity would be down for at least three to four weeks. The video also immediately showed that the storm destroyed the only water tower in town.

Nearby in McAllen, TX, a two-man drone operating team from the McAllen ISD Police Department assisted with hurricane relief efforts along the Texas Gulf Coast.

The team worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with search-and-rescue efforts as well as conducting damage assessments, according to news reports. The McAllen ISD police became certified in the use of drones last spring.

Photo: Twitter @TxDOT

Federal officials also called in out-of-state task forces, which included two San Francisco Bay Area water rescue teams, from Menlo Park and Oakland, CA. The Menlo Park Fire Protection District Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in a statement that the team took five vehicles, 10 boats and three drones with them to Texas.

Houston Traffic Cams: The Eyes of Texas

In addition to the coastal cities, Houston officials used drone footage to help monitor neighborhoods, freeways and traffic flow after the storm. The city was inundated with approximately 9 trillion gallons of water in two days according to the Washington Post, causing “an unprecedented flooding disaster affecting a massive amount of people.” In Houston’s Harris County, authorities asked stranded people to hang sheets or towels from their homes, so rescuers doing drone and helicopter surveillance could spot them more easily, according to CNN.

Houston map IoT

Photo: TxDOT/Houston TranStar

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) used drone and highway surveillance camera images on its Twitter feed to alert drivers of flooding hazards on freeways, underpasses and thoroughfares in the Houston area. TxDOT used its cameras to provide an interactive, real-time flood map that showed live images and road and freeway closures around the city’s main artery, the Houston Loop. It made the data available on its website, www.drivetexas.org.

Drone Pros Only

While commercial drones were useful during Hurricane Harvey, privately operated drones were not as welcome in the stormy skies. Local officials were reporting that civilian drones posed an extreme risk to crews on rescue missions.

Hurricane Harvey drones

Photo: Drone footage of Buffalo Bayou in Houston, TX, via Kelsey Meyers

The FAA issued a fairly severe warning for non-commercial drone usage after the storm, noting that unauthorized drone users might be subject to fines if they interfered with emergency response operations.

“Flying a drone without authorization in or near the disaster area may violate federal, state or local laws and ordinances, even if a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is not in place,” the FAA said in a public statement. Some cities affected by Hurricane Harvey, including areas near Corpus Christi, put a TFR for civilian drones in effect immediately after the storm hit landfall.

Drones vs. Disasters

The use of drones in search and rescue (SAR) operations such as those in Hurricane Harvey has pros and cons. But the benefits and ability to save lives, especially in high-risk, potentially dangerous regions across the globe, more often outweigh potential downfalls. Some of the benefits of deploying drones for SAR missions (in comparison to solely using helicopters for these missions) include:

  • Decrease in operational expenses
  • Low environmental impact since most drones use a small amount of fuel (and many use no fuel at all)
  • Low amount of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Low maintenance costs
  • Low amount of energy consumption
  • Increase in safety since drones don’t require humans to operate them.

For regions that are becoming increasingly affected by natural disasters, the ability of drones to take camera and video footage in potentially dangerous areas, without human supervision, provides a valuable mechanism to address public safety and help with evacuations.

Take Flight

  • Learn more about commercial drones and how they are used by city governments, and in industrial applications, including oil and gas, utilities, construction and agriculture.
  • Meet the industrial drone fleet from Intel, including the Falcon™ 8+ and the SIRIUS PRO Unmanned Aerial System. 

Intel Joins Forces with Toyota and Others to Lead Connected Car Consortium

Create: 08/28/2017 - 16:34
Intel autonomous driving

Photo: Intel Newsroom

 

Intel, Toyota, Ericsson, Denso, NTT and NTT Docomo recently joined together to form the new Automotive Edge Computing Consortium. The group has its sights set on building an ecosystem revolving around the massive amounts of data that will be generated by connected cars.

The stated aim of the group is to “develop an ecosystem for connected cars to support emerging services such as intelligent driving, the creation of maps with real-time data and driving assistance based on cloud computing.” And with the expected explosion in volume of connected- and autonomous-car data promising to push existing cloud-based networks beyond their capacity, it’s a good time for these big players to dedicate themselves to developing better solutions.

Data, Data and More Data 

According to BI Intelligence projections, 94 million connected cars are expected to be shipped in 2021, and 82 percent of all the cars shipped that year will be connected. These stats translate to a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent, from 21 million connected cars in 2016. Boasting a host of data processing systems and sensors, all these connected cars are anticipated to dramatically increase data demands.

Exactly how much of an increase in data volume is expected? Recent estimates predict that the data volume between vehicles and the cloud will reach 10 exabytes per month around 2025—which is approximately 10,000 times greater than the present volume. This massive increase in data will in turn demand new architectures of network and computing infrastructure to support its management. And these new architectures must still be compliant with applicable standards, something that requires collaboration on a local and global scale.

Finding a Better Solution Together

The consortium is focused on leveraging edge computing and the implementation of more efficient network design. The goal is to achieve the network capacity needed to accommodate the large amount of automotive big data that will be flowing between connected vehicles and the cloud. These edge computing solutions help lighten the load on the cloud servers by moving computing power to the source, processing the data where it is created. These and others planned changes translate into reduced network congestion and the sidestepping of common latency problems.

All of this also requires defining requirements and developing use cases for any emerging mobile devices—with a specific focus on the automotive industry—and bringing them to standards bodies, industry consortiums and solution providers. Additionally, the group will encourage the development of best practices for the distributed and layered computing approach recommended by the members.

Intel's Advanced Vehicle Lab

Photo: Intel’s Advanced Vehicle Lab in Chandler, AZ (Credit: Tim Herman/Intel Corporation)

While the consortium is ready to dig in on finding the best solutions for the effective management of connected automotive data, it is also looking to expand. “In the coming months, the aforementioned companies will initiate activities to invite relevant global technology leaders and expand the consortium,” Toyota said in its statement. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

  • Ready to learn more about the technology and data requirements for autonomous driving?
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest news, the Trust Interaction Study and other autonomous driving resources from Intel.
  • Get in on the ground floor with partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers focused on autonomous driving. BMW Group, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Intel and Mobileye have announced that they were joining forces to make self-driving vehicles a reality by collaborating to bring solutions for highly automated driving (Level 3) and fully automated driving (Level 4/5) into production by 2021. See their progress in developing a new autonomous driving platform

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