Let the Car
Do the Talking

Author: Sunil Kapadia

Designation: Tech Lead - Innovations

Who is Driver’s best friend? Well, the answer to that question is, of course, a well-maintained car especially when the driver is about to have a long trip. That doesn’t mean that the shorter trips don’t require the car in a maintained state. Every trip is important for the car to be in a good state. The car is always a prized possession for a driver. What if the car can talk back to its best friend? Sounds cool right.  Today, every car is equipped with a data port called OBD (On Board Diagnostics), via this port the car can talk back to the driver. The car is artificially intelligent, so whenever it detects a problem and the problem doesn’t get resolved for a certain amount of time then it is reported as a DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) or a MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light). But this is a very specific code and can be understood by a restricted group of people, what about the drivers like us. Well, the three musketeers come to the rescue.

The Three Musketeers

GPS, Accelerometer, and Gyroscope are the three most used sensors to create mind blowing experiences. Well, let me explain how – GPS (Global Positioning System) can give the latitude and longitude which can provide very useful information to the driver like weather conditions, any traffic incidents in the nearby area, etc. This information is still related to driving, what if it can help you to get a list of restaurants based on your cuisine taste. It would be good right, but a man always needs more so can it give something more too? Yes, it does, it can also display some schemes going on to the nearest shopping centers or it can give you a list of gas stations with least price of the fuel or may be based on your car type. It can display the nearest places to visit with visitors’ comments which can make the journey very relaxing and most importantly uneventful as your best friend is taking care of the same.

Then comes the second Musketeer which is the accelerometer. Again, a Latin term for most of us. Well, this is the sensor which can help the driver in a unique way. As the number of vehicles is increased, the number of accidents is also increased. So as a best friend the car has to help the driver to avoid an accident. In order to do this, the accelerometer detects the driver’s behavior on the road for acceleration, hard braking, and speeding. Based on the factors driver is given a score so that driver can improvise in certain areas. This is an era of getting something extra on every deal, well this also comes with an extra benefit in terms of Insurance. This model is called PHYD (Pay How You Drive). Hence the risky drivers or with less score need to pay more insurance than the drivers who are safe drivers. The remaining Musketeer is Gyroscope, which is normally not included with the accelerometer. An Accelerometer with 6 axis includes a gyroscope. This sensor plays a vital role in detecting the hard cornering. As it is still dangerous to merge on a highway from a side road.

Expressing Possibilities with OBD

As a human being, I am kinda getting greedy now. What else can an OBD do for the driver? An OBD can send the message to the driver when the car is towed or stolen. It helps the driver to find the car in a huge parking lot which is always a tedious job. But it is taken care of for you. It can tell you that the gas tank is about to be empty, but you would say that facility is already available in the cars. Let me try to put this in a different way, what if the system can tell you how much gas would you need before you are planning a trip based on data received and passing through a Machine Learning Predictive model. What if as a driver you are notified about the gas and based on your daily trips can suggest the gas station also with the best possible price. It would be extremely good or may be the best possible use of the data produced from the car, isn’t it? Such systems can give regular service updates, can check the health of the car every day and notify the driver in case of any immediate issue in the car. The combo pack is a term usually we hear every single day, the car with the OBD device can be the best combo in your life as a driver, or maybe the guardian angel, that keeps an eye on you, making your life simpler and safer than ever.

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