Can Connected Cars Drive Change?

Can Connected Cars Drive Change?

Rise Conference 2016, Machine Stage
Rafay Khan, INRIX; Joseph Waring, Mobile World Live

What if you could take data gathered from 275 million vehicles to generate the best real-time information in the world of drivers? INRIX is working with the biggest car manufacturers around to do just this. CRO Rafay Khan gets under the hood of the traffic problems he thinks machine learning can fix.

Can Connected Cars Drive Change

With over 10-years of experience in connected automobiles industry, Rafay started off on delivering traffic and congestion information. In particular, Rafay looked into location based services such as parking; as well as road safety, using data collected from running cars to develop real time analytics.

How does it work? Imagine all the cars running around are equipped with sensors, and they have become your eyes and ears round the city. First application would be predicting road condition in response to weather. With temperature and humidity sensors installed on windshield wipers and car bodies, we could build a live temperature map and humidity map with up to half-mile accuracy.

Secondly, braking information. If cars ahead are using ABS braking, we can tell there is a situation ahead. Together with other sensors on the chassis, we can create algorithms to analyse data pattern to identify poor road conditions such as gravel, flood, icy roads, snow etc. This has wide ranging applications in the markets like the US and Germany.

“When people go wide, we go deep,” Rafay illustrated his strategy, “we are working with all the major auto makers like BMW, Toyota / Lexus, Porsche, Audi, Ford. How about privacy issues? “we may anonymize the data.”

How does Rafay roll out the business? “we first target truck companies as their tracking systems are well built. There are plenty of data already. Eventually we shall move to consumer market.”

On autonomous driving, Rafay is making a long stride, too. “We believe autonomous driving can ensure safety, and reduce congestion. INRIX provides real time data analytics. We get data from 250k – 270k devices every minute. 0.8 gigabyte of data is collected every day. We used aggregation learning technique to analyse the data real time and predict conditions of the road a couple miles ahead.”

Traffic monitoring bodes well with smart cities initiative worldwide. Most mature cities do not have room to increase road space. Therefore, traffic monitoring and routing becomes essential. INRIX has signed contracts with Denmark and Dubai, installing GPS probe sensors on the road to improve traffic monitoring capabilities. Related to that, data analytics that help to find parking is also a hot spot. “In most cities during the rush hours, up to 30% of the road traffic is looking for parking. The government wanted to get the tools as much as the drivers.”

Do we see room for connected automobiles industry to consolidate? “Not yet. There is new company for new services. There will be limited consolidation.”

What are other areas of growth? “Infotainment in the car.”


Nikola Tesla (1856 –1943) was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. He worked for Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. He was the inventor of the AC induction motor, the motor without using any permanent magnet. Applications of AC induction motors nowadays span from heavy machinery to micro robots. Known as the mad scientist, Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution, and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices, despite the ill-fated attempt later at intercontinental wireless transmission, his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project. In his lab he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He also built a wireless controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited. Named after Tesla, the author have also dreamed of becoming an electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist and futurist, until the financial world snatched him. Nevertheless, the author shared his passion in science and technology, and his fearless attitude towards entrepreneurship.