Technology has undoubtedly transformed how humans communicate and interact daily, from posting photos on social networks such as Instagram to voice and/or video calls via WhatsApp. These two platforms, owned by Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ: META), are just the beginning of the development of communications, as Mark Zuckerberg’s team is also working on the metaverse, a reality that will soon change even the way we interact; immersive experiences are closer than ever.
The communications era is on its way to the next level, along with the IoT (Internet of Things), where not only humans will be the ones interacting, but objects will also interact with us and each other. Smart homes are already a reality, but this is just the beginning; virtual assistants or electronic devices that can be programmed to perform specific actions automatically are small advances that lead us to a fully autonomous future. And if we think about smart homes and buildings, why not consider intelligent cities and all that entails?
Cars, trucks and trains will be part of these autonomous cities. To make this mega-infrastructure a reality, companies must carry out different projects to coordinate all movements to the millimetre. The joint work of sensors, communication networks and artificial intelligence will be crucial for success.
Being at the forefront of technology is essential for developing smart cities. This includes implementing not only 5G but also new technologies, such as 6th generation Wi-Fi, to establish communication paths between all devices on the network. Companies such as NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) are working on solutions to make smart cities a reality, not only with networks but also with car-specific semiconductors. This technology, called V2X, was first implemented by Ford Motor (NYSE: F), and from the same “connected car” department, they claim that with these components, cars get the ability to hear in the same way that our ears complement our vision.
Currently, the momentum of this technology is expanding to the automotive industry, as NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) is developing more strategic alliances to implement these semiconductors in as many vehicles as possible. The Volkswagen AG (BATS EU: VOW3) is one of the most important due to the large number of brands they own, 12 in total, and among the most important: Audi, Porsche or Scania in the case of trucks.
But this is not just about autonomous vehicles; it is about coordinating as many systems as ever before, a dance that has to be perfectly synchronized. The more connected devices, the more information will be available, making it easier to manage large cities. Europe is leading the race for intelligent cities since, in countries such as Austria, highways are beginning to incorporate the V2X system so that cars that have it can communicate with traffic lights, service stations or tolls and provide all kinds of information to drivers.
In the city of Hamburg, on the other hand, the port authorities, in conjunction with NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) and Siemens AG (BATS EU: SIE), are implementing these services to manage traffic flow more efficiently because the area is too busy. V2X systems have been installed at the port traffic lights, and it is estimated that more than 150 trucks also have them. This avoids delays or the generation of possible traffic jams.
Connectivity and how we interact are constantly changing, and no device will be left out of this revolution; this is just the beginning. The possibility for cars to connect with each other with smartphones, traffic lights and tolls opens up a lot of ways to take mobility to the next level.