There\u2019s plenty of IoT technology coming into the automotive sector \u2013 sophisticated fleet management systems, in-car entertainment and connectivity - but the real pot of gold is fully autonomous transport, which is inching closer all the time.\nOne piece of news on that front comes out of MIT, where researchers announced earlier this month that they are collaborating with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions to create a \u201croboat,\u201d which leverages GPS, cameras and other sensors, alongside on-board connectivity and compute, to create autonomous boats for travel along the Dutch capital\u2019s 165 canals.\n\nThe team has a few use cases in mind for the roboats over and above basic transportation of passengers. Several of them could be used to form ad hoc structures like footbridges, many could be used to make bigger structures like performance stages, and the data they collect could be used to monitor air and water quality in the city.\nSmart roads\nSomewhat more modestly, the Utah Department of Transportation said this week that it\u2019s working on two smart road projects. Instrumented sections of road are designed to provide real-time information about crashes, bad weather, stalled cars and the like, and to alert drivers of connected vehicles to delay info and alternate routes.\nWith Panasonic as a partner, the UDOT system will stream data from sensors in the smart roadways to a central cloud, and \u2013 thanks to an open software architecture called CIRRUS \u2013 the possibilities for third-party collaboration with other government departments and even private companies are there. (OK, it\u2019s only going to work with a set of 30 state-owned vehicles at the outset, but baby steps.)\nMeanwhile, satellite communications company Kymeta argued in a whitepaper this month that heavily connected first-responder vehicles are the prototypes for future autonomous vehicles. Advanced command\/control vehicles like the ones made by Microsoft, Nomad and others contain enough technology to serve as moving IoT hubs, with their own edge instances and multiple types of network connectivity.\nThat basic architecture, according to Kymeta \u2013 which, unsurprisingly, is a partner with Microsoft in its Tactical Command Vehicle \u2013 is similar to what you\u2019d need to create fully autonomous cars, though the bandwidth-intensive nature of any driverless vehicle remains a hurdle.\nAT&T teams up to support IoT\nIt\u2019s well-known that implementing IoT means that businesses with disparate areas of expertise need to team up in order to make the more impressive benefits of the technology a reality. \u00a0AT&T has apparently taken that advice to heart, announcing new partnerships with HPE, device management company AVSystem and GPS provider Passtime this month.\nThe deal with HPE centers on edge computing, with future customers gaining the ability to use AT&T\u2019s multi-access edge compute services \u2013 essentially, the carrier\u2019s framework for letting edge devices access its networks \u2013 natively from HPE\u2019s edge computing devices. Undeniably handy for that particular cross-section of customers.\nThe AVSystem agreement is focused on interoperability, with both companies becoming members of a \u201clightweight M2M interoperability program,\u201d per a statement. The partnership should make it easier for end-users to test that all the disparate components of their IoT setup will play nicely with each other, and for AT&T to deploy IoT services to customers more swiftly.\nPassTime\u2019s news is essentially that AT&T\u2019s LTE-M network is compatible with the company\u2019s location and tracking gear, which they sell as an asset-management solution. Good for them, but the upshot is mostly just another data point that shows low-power WAN technology of various kinds seeing uptake.\nPredictive maintenance\nPredictive maintenance is far-and-away the most talked-about use case for industrial IoT tech, and new research from IoT Analytics said that customers saved about $17 billion in 2018 thanks to the technique. Giant estimates like this always need to be taken with a sizeable grain of salt, but it\u2019s hard to argue that predictive maintenance isn\u2019t making a splash in the industrial sector.\nSimilar saline considerations apply to a survey commissioned by Metova, an IoT vendor, which says that a broad, popular understanding of the concept of IoT is taking shape. The number of people who say they have gotten to grips with the idea of IoT is still less than 25 percent, but Metova said that there\u2019s been a 25 percent increase in that figure since the previous year. Progress is progress.