business, fundamentals

What’s driving the Connected Car 2/3

Observing cars from its roots throughout Henry’s Ford mass production on assembly line until today, concept of a car has not changed. Driver in front of the wheel is directing machine that roles due to some energy source (for example: gasoline).  Industry is investing huge amount of money in developing new technologies and services that will change this view. And it’s already started with Connected Car trend.

Illustration 1: Highway

We already defined Connected Car as car with ability to communicate with driver, other vehicles and outside world. Benefits of this idea are outrageous. Industry is investing huge amount of money in developing new technologies and services that will change the view. Car won’t be machine dependent on driver in front anymore.

So the real question is what can we expect out of the Connected Car?

Let’s start with simpler things. Car will be able to monitor itself and determine when it needs repairs and ongoing maintenance, preventing costly breakdowns before they happen. With Internet connection those informations could be send to mechanic, appointing the term of repair, even booking for most suitable service thus saving the consumer money. GPS systems today can predict fastest route but it will be able to predict most fuel efficient route. Similar like BMW does with its connected drive service.

When it comes to internet connection for driver and passengers, it opens wide range of options starting with, for example, access to Skype making video phone call. In 2014, Audi offered  4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspots which enables passengers to perform web surfing and connected apps. Cars are becoming  important platform for internet services and smart hardware innovation. Demand for 4G LTE connectivity and Wireless LAN is constantly growing. It enables manufacturers to update software over-the-air. More importantly, it is necessary for vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which is very important feature for the connected car future. Vehicles will be able to communicate mutually, exchanging position or speed data, preventing accidents and much more. Next concept is vehicle communicating with infrastructure, gathering all information from surrounding environment and emitting back relevant information themselves. Traffic signs, lights or camera will suggest driver how to behave in response to traffic conditions.

Illustration 2: Car Connected with surroundings

Let’s explain this little further.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, better car connection can result with 80% less automobile accidents, 10% less driving time spent in urban congestion, 17% less fuel consumption at traffic lights when there is no cross-traffic and finally, less time spent on looking for park place. All of that, even more is possible by equipping vehicles with technology capable of broadcasting, receiving, and processing data. Models that enables that are Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) we   mentioned, and works on ad hocnetwork principle –  cars connects automatically when in communication range. This way they can share speed information, direction data, parking availability, collision warning, weather information and everything they gathered about traffic and road condition.

Idea, however, is struggling with several challenges. Firstly it is important to enable safe connection through which messages will be no mistakes in delivery. Furthermore, not only cars have to become smarter. Complete traffic including roads, bridges, traffic systems have to be improved so that connected cars have things to connect to. And last but not least, corporation among manufactures is foundation of idea. They have to agree upon standards by which vehicles will communicate, respecting data privacy. Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure and its hardware, software and firmware is just low start for completing autonomous car.

Safety and diagnostics features are definitely attractive segments for customers and they are willing to pay more for connected car with this specifications strongly developed. Furthermore, they would like infotainment to follow them. New word is that payment option is soon coming to our cars. That means that driver would not have to leave car to pay for services but can make that online via connected car.

Developers are trying to build out intelligence that will understand the drivers behaviors, desires and habits and personalize each car. It will recognize voice, gesture and motion and be able to set internal features before driver gets in. Finally, the aim of connected car is completely autonomous vehicle.

Connected Car as a part of Automotive Internet of Things

Connected Car come as a human habit to be mobile and available all the time. Internet is part of our lifes for few decades now and it became unthinkable part of it. Communication and data share is now possible all around the world. Also, mobile phones, watches and cars got prefix smart with internet connection which actually represents foundation of Internet Of Things.

We can compare IoT with nervous system. Sensors collect informations about temperature, weather, voice stimulation from environment, changes on the road through traffic signs and more. All those stimuli usually collects neurons, but in IoT case, it is possible because of connectivity which send impuls on internet. Internet is, then, central nervous system or brain, that is, place where all informations process and send feedback like warnings that you should slow down because accident is ahead or there is free parking place or it is time to change oil. All these examples are closely related to automotive technology but there are also instances for home, health and it will considerably develop in infrastructure and industry, thinking of smart buildings and even cities.

Being part of Internet of Things means that cars and its surroundings will merge. Communication will go both ways. One of the brilliant ideas we want to make reality with TinyO is adjusting heating in our home from the car, as a logical extension of the reciprocal idea of making your car warm. Because winter is coming and warm welcome is what everyone needs. Another one is managing lights, an feature present in luxury models but easily implementable with any CANBus equipped vehicle, but why not have your home welcome you the same way. And whose wife doesn’t have trouble of leaving iron on?

Data exchange among cars, with manufacturers and V2I, real time traffic, wifi hotspot inside the car – benefits are numerous. And there are more to come.

What are your favourite Connected Car features?

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