Why Is Everybody Racing For Connected Cars?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 09, 2014

car sensors

Roads filled with connected, autonomous cars are set to become a reality. Experts believe a new wave of technology will soon revolutionize the experience of drivers and passengers as more and more vehicle manufacturers and technology companies are geared up to integrate Internet access and smartphone-like features into connected vehicles. Auto insurers and app developers are also seeing a lot of potential in this opportunity.

A recent report from Juniper Research, this shift is expected to generate major profits, with global revenues projected to reach $20-billion by 2018. The report looked at the rise of telematics – the use of wireless and digital technologies that send and receive information within a vehicle.

While the buzz was around and companies were planning on wireless vehicles, it was Internet giant Google that created a major hype about connected self driving and fully autonomous vehicles. The internet giant develop formed the Open Automotive Alliance with some major vehicle manufacturers in January such as General Motors, Audi, Honda and Hyundai to bring its Android platform into vehicles and make car technology “safer and more intuitive.” The company went one step further in May when it unveiled a prototype of an electric car with no steering wheel that can drive itself. It has roped in former president and CEO of Ford Alan Mulally on its board, as experts believe develping a fully autonomous car needs a more incremental approach to address safety and this can be best guided by somebody like Mulally.

Apple is also reportedly coming up with a similar arrangement another group of automobile manufacturers in the near future. Apart from offering GPS on devices ports to connect iPods and iPhones on cars, Apple have not made any automobile related innovation until now and may look into this segment for better growth and profitability.

For example, the Juniper report notes that in-vehicle apps will become “widespread in the next five years,” both through built-in technology embedded in the head units of new cars, as well as through tethering smart devices to their cars. Apple recently introduced an operating system called CarPlay that lets drivers to use their iPhone through their car’s media and control systems built into the dashboard.

Connected autonomous vehicles are all the rage right now and automaker General Motors does not want to be left out. The car company will introduce in two years its first car that can communicate with other vehicles to help avoid accidents and ease traffic congestion, Chief Executive Mary Barra told Reuters. In the same time frame, GM also will introduce more advanced technology allowing hands-free driving in some cases, she said.

“I’m convinced customers will embrace (vehicle-to-vehicle) and automated driving technologies for one simple reason: they are the answer to everyday problems that people want solved,” she said in a text of a speech delivered at a conference here.

Auto companies, academics and government agencies globally are working to develop cameras, sensors, radar and other technologies that allow vehicles and surrounding infrastructure like stoplights to alert each other about nearby driving conditions.

While Barra noted that commercializing a fully automated vehicle may take until the next decade, she stated that the US Department of Transportation has made developing connected car technologies a high priority, a view shared in Japan and Europe. And when cars can also talk to surrounding infrastructure, the gains will be exponential.