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Transport and connectivity

Getting from A to B with ABB

Think of any kind of transportation and you will find proof that it is becoming “smart” and connected. That starts with walking (have you counted your steps today?), includes bike-sharing services like Limebike or eScooter sharing services like Coup or car sharing. Connectivity is key in those applications.

This phenomenon has led to the concept of the “intelligent transportation system”, or ITS. ITS is about connecting the dots to move people and freight around more efficiently, safely and at lower cost. It involves the use of sensors to collect data, communication technology to enable remote control and analytics to continuously improve the system.

At the same time, electric cars are at a tipping point. Several countries have announced bans or limits to the use of the internal combustion engine within the next couple of decades, and major manufacturers are responding with an increased range of electric models that are more competitive than ever before. It is no surprise that the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, a fully electric street-racing series, which demonstrates the cutting edge of electric vehicle technology, is capturing the imagination of motor-racing fans around the world.

Most experts agree that the widespread adoption of electric vehicles is a good thing, but there is also a realization that it will only happen if networks of fast-chargers are built up quickly, so that charging is as easy as filling a petrol tank. Digital connectivity has an important role to play in ensuring the reliability of supply. ABB is a global leader in electric vehicle charging, with a range of DC fast-chargers for cars and e-buses. These chargers are connected, using ABB Ability™ platform solutions. This allows remote monitoring of each charger. In the Netherlands, ABB chargers are the backbone of the network run by pioneering operator Fastned. ABB Ability enables them to “look inside” chargers hundreds of miles from their control center, predict when maintenance is needed and deal with problems without having to send an engineer. This helps them to reduce costs and make money, while providing a reliable service to their customers.

The future of transportation needs to take connectivity to an ever greater level. Automated driving technologies promise improved safety and convenience. Proponents describe a vision of a connected system of driverless cars, buses and bikes, all easily accessible via a single app. In this future, with each automated car producing an estimated 4,000 GB of data every day, digital services such as ABB Ability solutions are key. They will ensure that energy is directed to the places where needed, including the option for cars to supply excess energy back into the grid and help to keep the system running smoothly.

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