Smart city and e-mobility: Transforming our automotive life

Article By : Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio

Many analysts say that smart cities will boost the adoption of electric cars.

Many analysts, including ABI Research, say that smart cities will boost the adoption of electric cars. Smart technologies will be the catalyst for the entire automotive sector, to adopt measures such as emission-free areas and historic centers open only to electrified vehicles in the coming years, thus also improving the quality of air and life of citizens.

Pollution is at very high levels, and a remedy is an obvious solution with the use of various green energy techniques. The systems require improvements in power management devices, with new techniques, such as energy harvesting, which will help improve the efficiency of an electric vehicle (EV). With large-scale use of electric automotive technologies, the release of greenhouse gases can be reduced, and energy use can be more efficient.

The advent of smart technology, starting with the upcoming smart cities, has also seen the interest of cars with integrated GPS technologies (Google Traffic) for driving directions. Speaking of IoT, the commitment of device manufacturers is very hectic with direct contact between car and smartphone, where the latter can receive real-time data on road traffic and share it with the automotive system.

Smart city

The IoT describes a system where the objects of the physical world, and especially the sensors, are connected to the Internet through wireless or wired connections. The stimuli and information that thousands of sensors in the city send over the air must be captured by a series of devices, the gateways, with an almost widespread diffusion.

For example, devices could use sensors and cloud Wi-Fi connectivity to automatically adjust the temperature when the rooms are not occupied. It’s possible to use services provided by third parties, such as weather information available in the cloud, to predict weather conditions and consequently improve response times related to the occurrence of various weather events.

The fifth generation (5G) of mobile communications should hit the market around 2020. It will act as a catalyst to enhance the evolution of industrial automation, artificial intelligence, and the entire automotive market. 5G technology will be a milestone in the telecommunications field that will have an impact on all other sectors by providing a catalyst for smart cities. For example, in a smart city, cars could communicate with pedestrian smartphones, as well as traffic lights and other cars to anticipate traffic conditions and even avoid collisions. TI’s innovative millimeter-wave technology (mmWave) is an over-the-air traffic monitoring solution, with an inherent ability to measure distance, speed and position information to determine the distance of a vehicle from intersections, as well as speed and occupancy of the lane (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Structure of a smart city [Source: Texas Instruments]

Many cities are implementing projects aimed at improving the environmental sustainability of the urban environment, improving the management of energy resources, and reducing pollution through better urban planning and transport. Among the focal points of the smart city project, there are precisely the environment and mobility, smart cities promote the use of low environmental impact vehicles, regulate access to city centers with limited traffic areas, promote the drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by limiting traffic, reducing waste production and expanding recycling.

As part of this new concept, security is vital to allow producers to capitalize on the advantages offered by the Internet of Things (IoT). Typical security applications and use cases are authentications, monitoring, and safeguarding of components, system integrity and data and communications protection. Adequate IP protection is a further factor for the success of new services and reliable technologies. To develop suitable security solution concepts, designers need hardware-based solutions that protect infrastructure and components against attacks, fraud, and sabotage. Secure identities are the key element of security concepts for smart factories.


Electric vehicles are superior in many respects compared to traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines. Electric motors are characterized by greater efficiency, accompanied by a higher torque value and better performance.

The design of electric and hybrid vehicles (HEV), in which currents and voltages are generated with very high values, must respect the strictest safety standards (such as ISO 26262), ensuring that any failure or damage to the electronic components on the vehicle cannot create a risk for the vehicle’s occupants. The type of electric motor most commonly used in hybrid vehicles and electric is represented by the permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) especially by its high efficiency, high power density, and excellent torque even at low speeds (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Typical PMSM engine [Source: Hanyu Group]

[Continue reading on EDN US: PMSM engines have a high torque value]

Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio is a Ph.D. in Physics, telecommunication engineer, and Editor In Chief of Power Electronics News.

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