Connected cars and the automotive industry – a quick overview

From telematics to autonomous drive, we take a quick survey of the connected car today and look at where it is heading.

Automotive IoT is made possible when cars equipped with sensors and cameras meet mobile connectivity. With a two-way channel to the cloud, connected cars share and receive data.

The possibilities for that data are endless. Connected cars provide automakers with data powerful enough to transform the core of the automotive industry. From location tracking to assisted and autonomous drive, automotive IoT is changing the way we use vehicles.

Connected cars are evolving

Today, vehicle-centric IoT services, like digital door locks and a remote control heater are familiar. But these services are only the stepping stones to the truly connected car.

Digital services connected to vehicles, similar to the apps and services we purchase on smartphones, are ever expanding.

The end-user feedback supplied by connected cars allow automakers offer services that evolve over time as markets and user demands change. Even the vehicle itself can adapt with over the air (OTA) updates to optimise performance or unlock new features. Let’s take a look at some use cases for Automotive IoT today, and some predictions for the future of connected cars.

Telematics and eCalls are saving lives

With the eCall regulation, the EU Parliament requires all new cars to be equipped with eCall technology from April 2018. In the event of an accident, the vehicle will automatically send location and status signals to emergency services. A faster response time will save hundreds of lives in the EU every year. According to the EU, eCall lowers the response time by 50% in rural areas, and 60% in urban and suburban areas.

Convenient car maintenance

The old LED “check engine” light could cause real anxiety for drivers when it would appear on the dash. A panicked search for the nearest service station might end in all sorts of unwanted adventures.

Now, the status and condition of almost every aspect of the connected car is visualised on the dashboard. Additionally, a broad range of information is accessible to drivers via mobile phone apps. Information on scheduled maintenance can be sent automatically to an assigned garage to facilitate smooth, efficient service.

Intelligent infotainment on the move

Both passenger cars and commercial vehicles have become information and entertainment hubs, with intelligent onboard navigation and music streaming services. These intelligent systems can become an aide to drivers and passengers with details on amenities along the road, like the nearest gas station when the vehicle is low on fuel, or restaurants in the area when meal time approaches.

The next generation of connected car services are providing car makers paths to new customers and new revenue. In-car purchases of apps and other services will generate revenue, as well as create incentive for developers to innovate. Car sharing models are already changing the way people access vehicles, with a low initial investment, and payment based on usage, either as a driver or passenger.

User Based Insurance and Stolen Vehicle Tracking

Using data from connected vehicles, insurance companies are offering policies with rates based on usage, driving behaviour and other variables. These models are called user-based insurance (UBI), pay as you drive (PAYD), and pay how you drive (PHYD).

UBI is already a standard procedure in the UK, US and Italy, with insurance underwriters in many other countries preparing to provide this service. Extending from this, is a service called Stolen Vehicle Tracking (SVT) or Stolen Vehicle Recovery (SVR). In the event of a reported theft, the system interacts with the police to locate and recover the stolen vehicle.

Converting cars into 4G WiFi hotspots

Connectivity on the move is a feature that car manufacturers are increasingly finding to be a highly valuable sales driver. Connected cars will be expected to function as mobile hotspots for passengers through a shared usage of their M2M SIM card. Outside their cars, drivers are used to anytime, anywhere network connections. Now people want their cars to provide mobile connectivity with high standards of quality, reliability and speed.

Paving the way for a self-driving future

Today semi-autonomous vehicles are on the road and paving the way for fully autonomous, or self-driving cars, in the future. Today, Advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS, integrate cameras and sensors to enable front collision warnings, brake assist, self and remote parking, blind spot monitors and other potentially life-saving features.

As connected cars continue to evolve, so will the roads and the entire connected world around them, transforming the way we experience mobility. As we move closer to autonomous drive, automotive IoT innovations will continue to help eliminate human error, and make the driving experience more efficient, safe and pleasurable.

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