Connected Vehicles: Advancing Technology for the Future |

Connected Vehicles: Advancing Technology for the Future

Connected Vehicles: Advancing Technology for the Future

By Bruce Kraemer, President, IEEE Standards Association

The car of the near future will be transformed from an isolated island of glass and steel to a fully interconnected node in the Internet of Things (IoT). Information and communications technologies are rapidly transforming vehicles and the roles they play in our daily lives. Significant advances in driverless assistants, fuel efficiency, passenger safety and entertainment, route planning, in-route information, emergency services and more are announced weekly.

If you conduct an Internet job search for “Connected Vehicle Technologies”, it’s easy to see firsthand how vehicle manufacturers are aggressively pursuing this emergent market sector. In fact, a report earlier this year by Gartner says that by 2020 there will be a quarter billion connected vehicles on the road that will enable new in-vehicle services and automated driving capabilities. The report further states that during the next five years, the proportion of new vehicles equipped with this capability will increase dramatically, making connected cars a major element of the Internet of Things (IoT). This proliferation of some 250 million connected vehicles will have significant implications across the major functional areas of telematics, automated driving, infotainment and mobility services.

Yet, as we’re rapidly approaching a future where vehicles are fully aware of everything along their routes, and capable of instantaneous communication with other vehicles, infrastructure, cloud services, etc., there are numerous challenges related to global standards and interoperability that have come to light. Vehicles that can sense each other and the surrounding environment, and adjust accordingly—switching routes, monitoring their own energy usage, ensuring the safety and comfort of their passengers—are being built in large part on technologies developed and advanced through the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).

Standards development for connected vehicles is extensive, covering everything from transportation electrification and smart grid integration to smart rail initiatives and providing broadband connectivity over electric power lines, and more. A look at a few key IEEE standards provides some insight into the scope of work being done to build an active, open and cooperative transportation ecosystem that will bring benefit to OEMs and consumers. 

Vehicle Communications

The IEEE 1609 Family of Standards for Wireless Access in Vehicular Environments (WAVE) define an architecture and a complementary, standardized set of services and interfaces that collectively enable secure vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) wireless communications. Together these standards are designed to provide the foundation for a broad range of applications in the transportation environment, including vehicle safety, automated tolling, enhanced navigation, traffic management and many others.

This family of standards serves transportation, automotive and traffic engineers involved with the design, specification, implementation, and testing of WAVE devices. Network engineers, hardware engineers, and application designers supporting Intellidrive utilize these standards as they define the communications architecture for DSRC-based V2V and V2I interactions, and as the basis for the low-latency interface design of On-Board and Roadside devices. Intellidrive application designers may use the standards to provide the basis for interface definitions between system components, and as a framework for application architecture.

Building Intelligent Transportation Systems

The IEEE Vehicular Technology Society (IEEE VTS) is also developing the IEEE 1512 family of standards. With the increase of travel throughout the United States and around the world, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are vital to ensuring safety, protecting environments and relieving traffic congestion. To guarantee the smooth operation of ITS, standardization of a common method for ITS components to communicate with one another is key, especially when considering that incident management represents a major element of the ITS infrastructure.

In particular, IEEE 1512-2006 addresses the exchange of vital data about public safety and emergency management issues involved in transportation-related events, through common incident management message sets. The message sets specified are consistent with the National Intelligent Transportation Systems Architecture and are described using Abstract Syntax Notation One ("ASN.1" or "ASN") syntax. This standard comprises the basic volume of the family of incident management standards, a multi-volume set of documents centered on this Base Standard.

The other members of IEEE 1512 family include three standards that specify incident management message sets for transportation management-related data exchange and hazardous-material and cargo-related data exchange, and the like. The goal is to support efficient communication for the real-time, interagency management of transportation related events. Those events include incidents, emergencies, accidents, planned roadway closures, special events, and disasters caused by humans or natural events.  

Transportation Electrification

The IEEE 2030 Smart Grid Interoperability Working Group has developed IEEE 2030 to provide alternative approaches and best practices for achieving smart grid interoperability. It is the first all-encompassing IEEE standard on smart grid interoperability and provides a framework to develop an IEEE global body of standards based on multiple technical disciplines in power applications and information exchange and control through communications.

IEEE 2030 establishes the smart grid interoperability reference model (SGIRM) and provides a knowledge base addressing terminology, characteristics, functional performance and evaluation criteria, and the application of engineering principles for smart grid interoperability of the electric power system with end-use applications and loads.  The IEEE 2030 SGIRM defines three integrated architectural perspectives: power systems, communications technology, and information technology. Additionally, it defines design tables and the classification of data flow characteristics necessary for interoperability. Guidelines for smart grid interoperability, design criteria, and reference model applications are addressed with emphasis on functional interface identification, logical connections and data flows, communications and linkages, digital information management, and power generation usage.

Coordination is Key

Clearly the standards work related to connected vehicles is vast and covers a multitude of disciplines. Unlike the past, when the transportation industry was mainly focused on mechanical drive train engineering, we now find information and communications technology, batteries, and utility connections becoming significant technology considerations that are impacting transportation design and vehicle connections.  Last year, IEEE took steps to lead efforts related to global standardization for tomorrow’s transportation ecosystem by launching the IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee on Transportation (IEEE SCC42 Transportation)  

The IEEE SCC42 Transportation represents a global effort to promote transportation standards and facilitate adoption throughout the entire transportation ecosystem. Using globally recognized IEEE standards and best practices within the IEEE-SA, the IEEE SCC42 Transportation brings together related disciplines to help ensure a future for transportation that will be more connected, automated, intelligent, electric and electronic.  

While there are challenges ahead, and disruptive technologies such as Intelligent Transportation Systems and Autonomous Driving are incubating new business models and fundamentally changing the industry as well as our daily lives, the technologies being developed today are building an improved, more intelligent and interactive transportation environment for all – one that represents a major component of the IoT and that brings new opportunities for businesses and useful services for end-users.

About the Author


Bruce Kraemer is IEEE Standards President, 2015. He has 30 years of experience in high tech research, development, and strategic marketing with companies including Foxboro, Harris, Intersil, and Conexant. He is currently with Marvell Semiconductor in Strategic Marketing. Mr. Kramer has 13 years of standards development experience in ETSI, IEEE 802.11 and IEEE 802.15, serving as Chair of numerous activities. 

Did you Enjoy this Article?

Check out our free e-newsletters
to read more great articles.

Subscribe Now