As vehicles become more integrated with software that enhances safety, comfort, and reliability, these innovative technologies are transforming the future through the use of connected car solutions.
What Does It Mean to Have a ‘Connected Car’?
A connected car is a vehicle equipped with internet connectivity. The first vehicle to be considered a ‘connected car’ was created by General Motors in 1996 and featured the OnStar Safety Systems. Nowadays, “connected cars” can offer a multitude of features, including GPS navigation and up to date traffic information, vehicle service reminders, remote operation, blind-spot warning systems, Bluetooth connectivity, and more.
Connected Car Services
Many vehicles already feature connected car services. These are services that gather data and send remote commands to vehicles, often requiring the consumer to opt-in to a subscription. Typically, these features include a remote Lock/Unlock, Start/Stop, and Climate Controls that allow the driver to communicate with the vehicle utilizing mobile devices, “smart” or digital assistants, or websites.
Cars with Digital Assistance
One of the ways to integrate connected car solutions into future vehicles is to consider how manufacturers can merge existing technologies and AI into vehicle software. For example, adopting digital voice assistants like Alexa or Siri can offer a higher level of convenience for consumers. When the “check engine” light turns on, perhaps it can trigger an immediate suggestion from Google for the top three best-rated mechanics in a five-mile radius from the current location.
Cars with digital assistance may also be able to source data and translate it in a way that is valuable to consumers. For example, digital assistants may be able to compile and track gas prices at nearby gas stations (and offer suggestions for the least expensive locations) or to offer suggestions for sushi dinner dates (and remind you of that one sushi place you really loved – or really hated!).
Cars with Connected Communication
Vehicle-to-vehicle (also known as a “V2V”) technology allows cars to communicate with one another and share data. The idea is that this type of communication would increase road safety by sharing information regarding traffic, driving conditions, and obstacles or potential dangers on the road. This creates the added benefit of reducing the number of accidents, thereby saving countless lives and untold costs: from insurance premiums to medical bills.
In theory, it could also communicate issues that a vehicle (or driver) cannot resolve by themselves. For example, a car with V2V technology may be able to detect potholes that need fixing and organize them in priority of the number of drivers impacted by that pothole. Alternatively, it can detect streets where signage may be dangerously unclear and requires the city council or Department of Transportation intervention. A car could also communicate driving patterns and trends to the original manufacturer, allowing for the optimization of vehicle design and utility. In this way, manufacturers can obtain and interpret raw data to create the best vehicles for the end consumer – whether that means adding new features or adjusting the existing design.
The value of connected cars is clear, but there is still untapped potential to utilizing means of communication to produce the optimal experience for consumers and provide optimal data for decision-making to manufacturers.