8 min read

What IoT holds for the future of the automotive industry

In this blog post, we will explore the current state of IoT in the automotive industry and delve into the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.

The automotive industry has witnessed tremendous advancements over the years, revolutionizing the way we commute and transforming our overall driving experience. The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) has further accelerated this transformation, enabling connectivity, automation, and data exchange between vehicles, drivers, and infrastructure. 

IoT is more than just a trend — it’s changing how fleets operate. From work trucks to waste collection and street sweeping vehicles, IoT technology allows businesses to achieve new levels of efficiencies. This technological revolution is powered by IoT sensors, which capture data about a vehicle’s status, then instantly send it to an application server. Theend-user, like a fleet management company, can then view this information via a mobile dashboard.

In this blog post, we will explore the current state of IoT in the automotive industry and delve into the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.

Connected Vehicles

A key benefit of IoT for commercial vehicles is that it can provide data to drive efficiencies and reduce costs. However, the massive shift to connected vehicle (CV) technology is not without its risks. The CV ecosystem calls for cars to communicate with other cars (V2V), pedestrians (V2P), road infrastructure like traffic lights and rail grade crossings (V2I), the cloud (V2C) and even energy grids or homes (V2G). Each of these communication types requires a specific type of device that can transmit and receive data.

Within this intricate ecosystem, a critical role is played by IoT-enabled sensors. These powerful devices can collect a wide range of information on the condition of a vehicle and equipment in the field, such as temperature, humidity, pressure, vibration, noise, speed, power consumption, ignition status, fuel usage, emissions and more. This data can be used to alert drivers of pending problems, schedule maintenance and improve fleet efficiency. It can also be shared with customers to help them better understand the condition of their equipment and prevent costly downtime.

Connected cars can also share real-time traffic, weather and road conditions with drivers via two-way communication. This can allow them to avoid traffic congestion or accidents, find the quickest route to their destination and reduce stress on commuters. Using information from multiple vehicles, the system can warn drivers of icy roads or other hazards, allowing them to slow down and take alternate routes.

Other features of a connected car can include safety enhancements and remote diagnostics. For example, a smart braking system can detect when a driver is not slowing down in time for an upcoming red light and alert them through a visual display, seat vibrations or audible tones. The system can also warn drivers of a nearby train, even when they cannot see or hear it, to avoid collisions with railroad tracks.

Similarly, a connected vehicle that uses GPS can track and record data from its location for a range of applications, including routing traffic flow, finding available parking spaces and improving city planning. Companies like Otonomo input this data into their smart city platform, which can then use it to adjust traffic signals and predict traffic patterns.

Autonomous Vehicles

We’ve been promised a future of self-driving cars since we were kids. Today, automobile manufacturers and technology companies are pouring resources into developing autonomous vehicles (AVs). They’re targeting Level 3 autonomy or higher, a significant milestone in vehicle automation. At this stage, vehicles are equipped with the ability to conduct the majority of driving tasks, essentially operating without the need for a human at the helm. However, it may be some time before fully autonomous vehicles are widely available for purchase by individual drivers. The more likely scenario is that AVs will be operated in fleets, much like ride hailing models such as Uber and Lyft.

While the concept of autonomous commercial vehicles operating on public roads may seem like something out of science-fiction films, it is important to note that they are already being successfully deployed in controlled environments, such as mines and quarries, at ports, and logistics centers. They can also reduce operating costs by eliminating drivers’ wages, removing driving restrictions and tachographs, and reducing accidents caused by human error.

IoT has the potential to make these vehicles even more efficient. For example, smart integrated systems can communicate with other vehicles and smart infrastructure to enable “platooning,” which allows multiple trucks to travel as a group without the need for space between them. This decreases fuel costs and environmental impact, and can also shorten delivery times.

In addition, IoT can provide real-time data on road conditions to help the vehicle navigate more accurately. This can be especially important in areas with deteriorating roads, where GPS mapping software may need to measure dimensions down to the inch to ensure accuracy. Providing this information can also allow the vehicles to alert drivers to conditions that might compromise their safety.

Finally, IoT can help fleets track maintenance requirements to minimize downtime and ensure the highest levels of safety and uptime for their assets. IoT sensors can monitor the performance of equipment to detect problems and send automated notifications to the fleet manager. This can help prevent costly repairs and extend the life of the asset.

IoT can also improve the safety of both vehicles and their operators by detecting unsafe conditions and ensuring the safety of cargo. For instance, sensor data can warn drivers of excessive braking and sudden acceleration that could lead to accidents. It can also prevent unauthorized use of vehicles by monitoring operator behavior and by using cameras to monitor cargo loads.

IoT Solutions for Fleet Management

IoT solutions for fleet management enable commercial vehicles to reduce operating costs and improve their performance, maintenance, manageability, and visibility. These technologies are designed to track a range of vehicle data, including location, fuel consumption, tire pressure, door lock status, cargo temperature conditions, and more. They can also provide advanced features, such as driver behavior analytics and predictive maintenance, that make them more effective for businesses operating in the logistics and transportation industries.

For example, a company that carries heavy loads may be worried about the impact of their driving habits on the environment and on their fuel expenses. IoT solutions can help with these concerns by analyzing and presenting the driving data from each vehicle in the fleet, giving managers and drivers the information they need to change their bad habits. In addition, IoT solutions for fleet management can be used to monitor the condition of each vehicle and provide alerts if there is an issue such as a low tire pressure or a broken door handle.

The potential of IoT for fleet management is huge — and it can make a real difference to businesses. The combination of the IoT and big data can provide a powerful insight into how to improve the productivity, efficiency, and profitability of each vehicle in a fleet.

This enables companies to make better decisions about which vehicles to use, how much to pay for them, and when to replace them. As a result, the business can save on operational costs while improving its bottom line and customer satisfaction.

For example, one company found that driving over the speed limit, idling for 30 seconds or more, and harsh braking and accelerations are the main reasons why they waste so much fuel. Using IoT technology, they were able to get accurate driver behavior data, which helped them to minimize these objectionable driving behaviors and drive more miles with less fuel.

IoT for fleet management can also help with remote condition monitoring, providing data that is automatically collected and sent to a centralized software dashboard. This enables technicians to perform proactive service calls, improve first-time fix rates (FTFR), reduce mean time to repair (MTTR) and unplanned downtime, and even extend equipment lifetimes. To achieve this, the right connectivity solution is key — a solution that offers maximum flexibility, ease of deployment, and integration with existing systems.

The Future

As the trucking industry and other fleets continue to rely on IoT, their day-to-day operations become more efficient and productive. This happens at both the high and low-level of the company, with more efficiencies leading to new revenue streams.

Imagine this: The day starts with a driver receiving a notification on their heads-up display that the work order for the Bobcat pickup has been updated. They have to be there by 10:00 a.m., so they leave at 8:00 a.m. and arrive just in time for the pickup to begin.

In the truck, sensors monitor a range of conditions, including engine status, temperature, electrical systems, speed, navigation, and more. The IoT platform then evaluates the data and, if any issues arise, alerts the driver and/or management via the cloud. This helps prevent breakdowns, reduce downtime and related expenses, and extend the life of the vehicle.

IoT can also help improve safety on the roads by tracking and analyzing driving patterns. In the future, this could even help to avert accidents by alerting drivers of unsafe driving or by automatically taking control of the vehicle and preventing the collision. This is similar to the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) now found in most vehicles.

Other uses of IoT in the trucking industry include delivering perishable goods to their destinations and keeping them at specific temperatures. This is important for the food and medicine industries, where sensitive products can be impacted by extreme heat or cold. IoT applications can notify truckers and fleet managers if the cargo’s conditions change, potentially saving lives and reducing damage to costly products.

Fleet owners can also use IoT to monitor fuel consumption, detect idling and unnecessarily long stops, and reduce wasteful engine idling and the resulting carbon emissions. They can also use IoT to manage inventory, predict maintenance needs and optimize routes.

Finally, IoT can assist in preventing theft of trucks and trailers by monitoring their location, detecting movement outside the assigned area, and enabling GPS tracking and cellular connectivity. In fact, LoJack claims its connected car IoT technology has a 90% recovery rate for stolen vehicles. This tech is not only affordable for fleets, but it can also be incorporated into new vehicle models.


The automotive industry is on the cusp of a technological revolution, fueled by the Internet of Things. The integration of IoT in vehicles, infrastructure, and traffic management systems promises to transform our transportation systems into safer, more efficient, and sustainable ecosystems. As IoT technology continues to advance, we can expect to see enhanced vehicle connectivity, intelligent traffic management, autonomous vehicles, intelligent V2X communication, and personalized in-vehicle experiences. The future of the automotive industry is connected, automated, and data-driven, and it holds great promise for the future of mobility.

What Relevantz can do for you

We create customized IoT solutions specifically designed to fit your commercial vehicles’ needs. With our focus ranging from sophisticated asset tracking to comprehensive diagnostics, we’re committed to optimizing and enhancing your fleet operations. 

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