Is the ‘connected car’ the future of driving?
The world we live in is increasingly digital, from how we work and communicate, to how we shop and manage our finances. As the buzz around connected mobility continues to grow, we wanted to know; is the connected car the future of driving?
Firstly, what exactly is a connected car? A connected car is a vehicle equipped with internet connectivity and, in most cases, a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network). Cars can access and send data, download software and communicate with other Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as other cars, houses, and infrastructure. Connected car features cover both software and hardware solutions. Software solutions include mobile apps that help drivers find better gas or electricity rates, improve fuel economy, and even call for emergency assistance. While such software is an important part of connected cars, the hardware is equally vital. Examples of connected hardware features include engine management and control, exhaust monitoring and cleaning, infotainment and communications, in-car power, lighting, safety and security systems, navigation, and telematics systems.
Improving road safety is perhaps the key driver of the development of connected mobility. Connected cars help drivers make safer choices on the road and increase awareness of what is going on in traffic around you, making our roads safer for everyone. New connected car models such as Tesla X, BMW i3, and the Volkswagen Tiguan use a combination of hardware (sensors, cameras, and radar) and software to stop drivers from drifting into adjacent lanes, making unsafe lane changes or brake automatically when a vehicle ahead stops or slows suddenly. As more and more cars offer these and other safety features, and increasingly communicate amongst each other, we can look forward to fewer (and less severe) accidents on the road.
Wired for fun
Besides safety, the in-car experience is also top of mind in the connected cars of today and tomorrow. Voice command systems like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa are becoming more sophisticated and can connect drivers to their phones, calendar, social platforms, entertainment options, navigation, and climate controls. Instead of just a means to get you from A to B, your connected car can become a companion who knows your preferred destinations, plays your favourite music and reminds you of your daily schedule.
Looking to the future, it is inevitable that vehicles will become increasingly connected to our personal devices, the infrastructure around us, other IoT devices and other connected vehicles (V2V). The consequences of this development are mainly positive; safer cars that are more fun to drive, a reduction in the number of accidents occurring on our roads and eventually lower insurance premiums. However, as with all new technologies, there are concerns around privacy and security. Manufacturers, users, and governments need to work together to keep the data gathered by a connected car safe and secure.