Emerging Technologies in the Field of Advanced Mobility Electrical Engineering

Emerging Technologies in the Field of Advanced Mobility Electrical Engineering

April 8, 2020 Off By Hoofer

For so many years we understood the term “mobility” as it related to people with difficulties getting around due to disability or advanced age. Mobility was related to such things as wheelchairs and walkers, most of which were manually operated. However, since at least 2016, a new definition began to emerge and was detailed on the Techstar website such that:

“Mobility includes technologies and services that enable people and goods to move around more freely.” (Ted Serbinski, Techstar, April 2016)

In other words, emerging technologies in the field of mobility can have a huge impact on various industries from automotive to healthcare, and everything in between. As a result of the need for these emerging technologies, many schools like Kettering University Online have begun offering graduate engineering degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). An MS Engineering-ECE-Advanced Mobility degree prepares engineers to develop and/or utilize advanced mobility technologies in a wide variety of industries.

Mobility as It Pertains to the Automotive Industry

At the moment, the automotive industry is, perhaps, in most need of engineers with an MS Engineering-ECE-Advanced Mobility degree. Consider, for just a moment, the technologies involved in autonomous and electrical vehicles. While there are no fully autonomous passenger vehicles legally operating on the roads today, there are several partially autonomous vehicles such as the Waymo Google spinoff and the GM Cruise.

Vehicular Cloud Computing

However, autonomy is not the only area of advanced mobility as it pertains to the automotive industry. Cloud computing has also entered the arena in that today’s vehicles are ever searching for better options in entertainment. This field, known as Vehicular Cloud Computing, branches off into two major areas which are:

  1. Infrastructure Based VC
  2. Autonomous Based VC

Infrastructure based VC (Vehicular Cloud) computing is primarily used for roadside infrastructure while Autonomous Based VC is referred to as “on-the-fly VC” because the connections can alert the driver to hazardous conditions and emergencies to be aware of. It’s a bit more involved than it sounds with the distinction being greater than it appears. To get a better understanding of just what Vehicular Cloud Computing is, check out this site.

Intelligent Transport Systems

This is also a major concern in the automotive industry. While cloud computing has brought advanced mobility to a whole new level, it also raises a number of concerns such as:

  • Privacy
  • Security

There has been a lot of attention given to the fact that connected vehicles, especially autonomous ones, can be easily hacked. While automakers say this isn’t the case, some of the largest government bodies have been the target of attack. Of note would be the Raspberry PI attack in which at least 500 MB were stolen from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as recently as April 2018.

This is one area of extreme importance when working toward an MS Engineering-ECE-Advanced Mobility degree. In fact, this is a huge part of the reluctance to approve fully autonomous vehicles, passenger or commercial, on our roadways. If NASA could even be hacked, how easily could a connected passenger vehicle be infiltrated? Not only would the occupants be at risk in terms of safety, but consider any personal or proprietary information that module could hold.

Electronic Toll Collection

How often have you been held up in traffic waiting to pay a toll? Across the country, there are many toll bridges and highways, and until now they have been operated manually. Another branch of study within the ECE Advanced Mobility degree would prepare future engineers to design state-of-the-art transponder electronics such as EZ-Pass that works through Radio Frequency Identification, RFID.

Unfortunately, as with every advance in technology, there is both an up and a downside. With ETC, there is the obvious timesaving feature that keeps lines moving efficiently. States, counties and municipalities can reduce payroll because a driver simply needs to show the RFID fitted card and the receiver collects information. It’s fast and easy.

However, on the downside, this means that every driver must be fitted with that RFID device and that is not always an easy process. Engineers have been working with developing apps for smartphones, but there are some glitches here too. Believe it or not, there are still people who don’t own a mobile device!

There Is Yet Work to Do

Because technology is advancing at breakneck speed, there is still much work to do. Being a fairly new degree, Advanced Mobility engineers are in short supply. Whether you are looking to advance your own career in electrical engineering or are just entering the field, this would be a prime specialization with a bright future. Wouldn’t it be great to one day be named the engineer who designed the first fully autonomous vehicle approved for our roads? Alone or with a team, that would be one for the history books, and you could play a key role in developing these emerging technologies in advanced mobility.