Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Image source Freepik
A transportation system entails the movement of people and goods from one physical location to another. There are different components that make up a transportation system, this is in addition to the different means of transport available such as roads, water, air railways, and cables among others. The system is also characterized by terminals which are different stations or nodes.
One thing that we must admit is there has been a massive evolution of the transport system over the years. The evolution has mainly been fueled by the advancement of technology. At the center of it all are the integrated circuits, which are also known as chips or microchips. In this article, we are going to discuss various uses of IC chips in the transportation system. Whether you are building a new transportation system or working on an existing system, you will be in a perfect position to know the type of chip to use and what it does.
Applications of IC chips in the transportation system
Here are some of the key application areas or uses of integrated circuits in the transportation system.
Power management in transport systems
Power is a key component in the transportation system. All means of transport depend on power to run. For example, a vehicle will need electric power to start. Other functions of power include light, navigation, entertainment engine management, brake system among others.
Other components in the transportation systems such as traffic lights, and control systems also need power.
Generally, electric power is in every aspect of the transport network. IC power management ICs play a key role in the management and control of power. They are usually installed along the power lines to control the generation and distribution of power in the transportation system. Some power chips are designed to protect electronic components from the effects of overvoltage.
Take the example of electric vehicles. Power ICs are used for controlling the charging process of EV batteries by ensuring that the right amount of current is supplied to the battery system.
Controlling the systems
Closely related to the power function of the IC chips is the control function. Al the components and subsystems in the transportation system need to be controlled when performing different tasks. There are different IC chips that are designed to execute different control functions in the transportation system.
Some chips are designed to control the performance of the engine. This is mainly done by the ECU (engine control unit). This control unit manages the fuel intake and as well as the timing of the engine among many other functions. In most modern means, the control unit allows you to select the desired performance of the vehicle. For example, you choose the ‘sports mode’ for maximum speed and ‘urban cruising’ for fuel efficiency.
Other common control functions of microchips in vehicles include cruise control systems, and traction control systems among others.
Diagnostic of the transportation systems
Diagnostic in the transportation system entails finding a problem in the system and trying to solve it in the best way possible. IC chips have made it easy to diagnose and solve different issues in transportation systems. Instead of having to manually look for an issue in the system, you can electronically diagnose the system, detect the issue and start solving it. This can be done easily and more efficiently.
The onboard diagnostic system (OBD) is quite a common feature in most vehicles. The system is connected to all the components of the vehicle and has the capacity to highlight any issue or malfunction in the vehicle. All you need to do is plug a user interface device (laptop or smartphone or dedicated scanners) into the transport system and you will be able to view all the relevant error codes. From these codes, you will know the exact issue that is affecting the vehicle.
Through these high-tech diagnostic systems, it is easier to perform repair and maintenance services on transportation systems. Some transportation systems have the automatic diagnostic feature which enables them to do self-diagnosis.
Automation of the transportation
Modern transportation system is highly characterized by automation. This entails systems running by themselves with minimal involvement of human operators. Ticketing and tolling are just some examples of automation whereby tickets are generated automatically based on the data of the users.
Some aspects of traffic law enforcement are automated. For example, exceeding speed limits in specific zones will automatically attract some penalties. This is possible mainly because of automation.
Machine learning and AI have further upgraded the automated capabilities of different transportation systems. A perfect example is self-driven vehicles. These are the automobiles that can drive themselves. Traffic lighting and management are also automated thanks to the use of IC chips. These semiconductor chips are programmed for automated operations and functions.
Despite the effectiveness of automation in transportation, there is still a major need to deploy human operators in most automated transportation systems. This is done mainly because of the safety issues that are associated with the transport industry.
Data management and networking in the transportation
Modern transport systems are data-driven. IC chips make it possible to perform data collection, storage, and usage in different transportation systems. A simple data application is in the booking of travel tickets. Travelers will feed a system with their personal data which will be used for the generation of the tickets.
Data storage chips are responsible for storing this data. There are also data processing ICs for processing the data that has been keyed in. Network ICs are used for connecting users to the transport systems. The entry of AI and big data into the transportation system has made it necessary for IC chip manufacturers to develop chips that have the capacity to handle and process massive data.
Safety in the transportation system
IC chips are also used for enhancing safety in transportation systems. Most modern vehicles have numerous safety features that are designed to guarantee maximum safety to all those in the transport means.
In vehicles, we have Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. These systems include a blind-spot detection system, adaptive cruise control system, lane departure warning, and even the ABS. These advanced systems are controlled and managed by integrated circuits which perform different functions that are geared towards enhancing the safety of the vehicle. Other means of transport such as air, water, and even railway also have advanced safety systems, which are mainly run and managed by integrated circuits.
Impact of IC chips in the transportation system
Image source Freepik
From the uses of IC chips in transportation, it is easy to list the many positive impacts that they have had.
First, integrated circuits have enhanced the efficiency of the transportation system. The modern transport system is characterized by high levels of efficiency in the different nodes and terminals. For example, you can easily book a ticket online without having to travel to the transport terminal. Efficiency is also witnessed through route management and fleet management. From the technical perspective, it is easy to notice fuel efficiency and better engine performance thanks to the IC chips.
Other than efficiency, IC chips have improved the reliability of modern transportation. You can be sure that the transport means will be at a particular location at a specific time. Also, through performance optimization, most components that make up modern transportation systems are bound to be more reliable.
Safety is another positive impact of incorporating IC chips in transportation systems. IXC chips have enhanced safety levels in transport systems. Numerous driver assistance features in vehicles have improved safety levels when driving. For example, the lane departure warning system is designed to warn a driver whenever the vehicle is steering off its lane.
What about the cost? Well, this is another impact of IC chips in the transportation system. The usage of power management chips has led to the introduction of fully electric and hybrid vehicles. These two technologies have reduced reliance on fossil fuels by vehicles. Also, the chips have played a role in cutting down the fuel consumption in traditional vehicles. The overall impact is the lower cost of running vehicles. I you are running a transport and logistics business you should be able to appreciate the lower expenses.
At this point, it is impossible to underestimate the role of integrated circuits in the modern transport system. They are used in the running of both small and large components that make up a transport system. In most of the applications that we have just mentioned, several IC chips are used to make up a single transport system. The end result is to create a smooth and efficient transport system.
Are you working on a transportation project? Regardless of the type and scope of the project, having the right type of IC chips will play a big role in determining the success rate o the project. Once you know the specific function of IC chips in your transportation system, you should proceed to buy them. Choosing a reliable IC chip supplier will guarantee success in your project.
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