The car of the future the connected car

The connected car: from smartphone to “smart”-car

You’re on a tight schedule. This is the first day at the new office. You have to make an impression: be there on time, smile, appear calm and in control.

You rush down the streets, elbowing your way and panting. A smartphone in your hand, you talk to a customer, you listen to a favorite ditty, you take a pic of a pretty face in a red skirt or even film some kids causing havoc in the crowd with their skate-boards. You’ve suddenly forgotten the address to the office. You search on the Internet. Found it! You turn the GPS on, bunch a few commands with your fingers on the touchscreen, there it is. You run a few more blocks, turn at the corner, up the stairs and you’re in. In the very nick of time!

You did all this on your smartphone. What’s the essential part? You stood connected. You were connected to your customers, to the people around you, to your office; the fact is you were connected to the world.

Now, close your eyes… take a deep breath…open your eyes.

You are driving a car that can do all of this. You are no longer running, panting or fighting the crowd. You enjoy a smooth drive while staying connected to the world. The car of the future with all the benefits of a smartphone, and even more, is the connected car.

How does it feel like to drive such a car?

“Future-shock”. “Tech savvy”. “I can’t believe how connected I am to all around me.” You name your answer.

A connected car, as you probably know, is a car with Internet access and local area connection. On a previous entry I described to you 5 important facts you should know about the connected car, considering topics such as network connectivity, apps and the futuristic self-driving car.

Today, I want to talk to you about the M2M (that is, Machine-to-Machine) market and community and about the infinite possibilities of bringing the communication on a new level. Driving a connected car could mean car to car, man to man, and even world connectivity.

In ConnectedCarIndustryReport2013 the futurist Ian Pearson discusses “Tomorrow’s Connected Car” showing how connection will be improved in the future, due to this astonishing technology. In ten-year’s time he sees the connected car becoming “fully personalized” and creating a relationship between the vehicle, the driver and the passenger as has never been experienced before. Driving this car would mean feeling more connected than ever before.

M2M market and technology

If your car used to be a lonely object, if you used to be cut-out from the world while in your car, this is not the case anymore. Cars can now communicate with other cars and drivers with other drivers. All this happens because your car can stay connected due to the Internet and to the variety of apps you can install.

Many projects are being developed in the area of spreading, gathering and aggregating information from a large number of vehicles. One of these projects is  Openstreetmap, in which GPS data is collected from users while they travel with the purpose of creating an open-source map. Another project is Trapster, an updated database of the location of police speed traps. There is also, of course, GoogleMaps.

M2M communication could also change the way we drive and live today. “When cars are able to connect to each other in this way, things can get truly exciting – they can coordinate braking and acceleration, hence distancing themselves automatically with lightning- fast reaction times. We could see a single stretch of road accommodating more cars safely, automatic management of lane changes, and even more efficient use of roundabouts” (Read more)

Experiencing driving not only as a means of getting from a place to another, but as a true life-experience, in which you engage with your car, with other drivers, and ultimately with the world around you, is all now made possible because of the connected car.

What about safety?

Because of the use of apps and of cloud-based in-vehicle services, this type of car is quite safe. If you have an accident, you’ll be able to communicate through these services with a specialized group of people who will speedily see to your aid. What’s more, starting from 2015 if you buy a new car, no matter your place of residence in Europe, it will be equipped with a network-connected tracking device, known as the eCall system. If, God forbid!, you have an accident, this device will automatically alert the emergency services. The EU believes this technology will save up to 2500 lives a year.

According to Ian Pearson, the self-driving cars, which are now, more or less, a project of the future, fully developed and experimented by Google, will reduce accidents to a striking 0%.

Are there any drawbacks?

The guys from Forbes have actually found 11 shortcomings of the connected car, which is not much taking into consideration both the novelty and the seriousness of the project. One of their  identified flaws is precisely the eCall system, which I haven’t found, nonetheless, faulty.

Even so, you must carefully consider the investment you want to make. Investing money both in your car and in its keeping has never been cheap if you think of the gas, repairs  and  services. Now you will also have to take into account paying for the network connectivity, and probably all the apps and services.

Moreover, both the users and the sellers have to be, as Forbes puts it “tech savvy”. You need to know what you drive, how all the apps work, and they need to know what they sell to you. Trading such a car is probably going to involve a lot more than trading a common one. Not to mention actually making one. While your smartphone receives upgrades and updates almost constantly, it takes a 5-year cycle to make a new car.

There is no rule of why you should choose a type of car. The connected car is the latest invention and it is a great opportunity for experiencing both driving in a safe way and staying connected to people.

In the end, choosing a connected car is a matter of how you view living, driving and staying connected. Is buying such a car one of your future plans? Let us know in the comments below.

Philipp Kandal