The humble car has seen many technological advances in its time. More recently technologies like GPS, parking cameras, sensors and keyless ignitions have made new cars more luxurious and easy to use than we could have guessed a few decades ago. As technology bounds forward, so does the revolution of in-car technology. It wouldn’t be surprising to most to know that ‘connected’ cars, featuring wireless internet networks, are on the rise. But what exactly can this technology achieve for the driver, other road users and for the car manufacturer?
The ‘Internet of Things,’ or IoT as it is known, is the period of technological advancement that we are living through, where physical objects will be increasingly connected to the internet. This, of course, includes cars along with many other home and office appliances and systems. The connected car gives drivers the ability to communicate with the world around them as they drive, at present often taking the form of well known assistants like Alexa and Siri. Not only can drivers access infotainment services like music streaming and practical tools like remote start - but, with apps like BMW’s SmartThings, drivers can control appliances at home completing tasks like turning on ovens, robo-vacuums and lighting systems. We’re likely to see more AI development by car manufacturers as they focus on creating tools to act a the driver’s personal assistant. In the meantime, car manufacturers can learn a lot from data collected via connected cars about performance and safety whilst driving on the road.
In the race to autonomous driving, car internet integrations will also provide on-demand access to data about the vehicle's performance, fuel usage, speed control, location and proximity to other vehicles. It will also provide the ability for the car to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure like traffic lights. Development in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication will be vital for any significant roll-out of driverless vehicles, as the sharing of data will be critical for safety and practicality.
Although the technology is not widespread at the moment, there’s every chance that your next car will be a connected car. Experts estimate that up to 90% of cars will be connected to the internet by 2020 and predictions for the first true driverless car communities suggest 2023 to be the magic date.