The Record - Issue 17: Summer 2020

88 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om Using the data collected by connected vehicles, automotive companies can gain deeper insights into their customers and their preferences F E ATUR E travelling salesman, in which order stops are opti- mised for distance and time; isochrones, which calculates the furthest distance in all directions from a location based on time; or matrix routing, which can calculate the time and distance between each given origin and destination. “Azure Maps was built to provide location ser- vices in the Azure cloud with scalability, service fundamentals and compliance in mind,” said Chris Pendleton, partner manager of Azure Maps. “Relying on premier partners like TomTom, Moovit and AccuWeather to provide high value services, our team is able to focus on developer integration and broader scenarios that cut across verticals and raise the bar in new scenarios and industry segments. The release of Azure Maps Creator, where private maps can be created, stored and queried, is the beginning of a wave of geo- spatial innovation tied to large Microsoft initia- tives across Azure IoT, Azure Machine Learning, Smart Cities and Automotive. Now that we have a foundation of capabilities, customers will start to see Azure Maps bringing game changing capa- bilities to customers to scale their applications, lower their costs and providing valuable insights to make more informed decisions.” These capabilities can help move the automotive industry away from the current paradigm of pri- vately owned vehicles, and towards smart mobil- ity. With most vehicles currently being privately owned, they rarely carry their maximum number of passengers, and spend most of their life parked instead of on the roads. This results in more vehi- cles in the environment than is necessary for the number of people travelling, creating more con- gestion and more pollution. However, a significantly different vision of mobility is presented in the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Potentially, different modes of shared mobility, such as vehicle- and ride-sharing services and public transport, could be brought together to form a single mobility service that can be accessed on demand. A single trip could there- fore comprise of a combination of different modes of transportation in what is referred to as mul- ti-modal routing. By unifying these services, the number of vehicles on the road could be reduced as people begin to use the transport options availa- ble to themmore efficiently and sustainably. Microsoft is therefore working with its partners to help expand the capabilities of Azure Maps for use in MaaS solutions. With Ford, Microsoft is exploring how quantum algorithms can help improve traffic congestion in urban areas and develop a more balanced routing system. And partners such as Cubic Transportation and Blue Yonder provide solutions which help to coordi- nate multiple actors in an ecosystem more effec- tively, which can all benefit from large-scale data sharing enabled by Azure. In the future, MaaS solutions will be devel- oped even further, moving towards Intelligent Transportation Systems that help to transform cities into fully connected environments. By com- municating with new digital city infrastructure, connected vehicles can help to improve the safety and efficiency of transportation, reducing traffic congestion and enhancing drivers’ experiences. While routing today may be informed by traffic conditions, it remains a solution that works for the individual rather than planning out the most efficient flow of traffic for all road users. By factor- ing in the deeper insights such as the type of car on the road, upcoming events or road closures, cities could shape traffic to become less of a bur- den for everyone. “All of the possibilities offered by an intelligent transportation system are enabled by vehicle connectivity,” says Dougherty. “Broadly speak- ing, the more data that’s coming off the car, the better. As a broader range of sensors are installed onto the vehicle, more data can even be captured about the locale in which it’s deployed. This could allow information to be continuously gathered on public safety issues, local weather conditions or damage to infrastructure, among many other things. The key thing is that all these use cases are enabled by more data coming from the car, which is why you need a deep, scalable, connected vehicle platform.”