The many faces and advantages of Connected Cars
Thursday, 13 February 2014
From the emblematic International CES in Las Vegas to the imminent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, everyone’s talking about the connected car as the great technological story of the year. And it’s not just gazing into the future or idle lucubrations on ‘tomorrow’s car’ but rather a matter of how vehicle connectivity is becoming a differentiating factor for all manufacturers.
Ford, Toyota, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Renault, Hyundai, among others, have already set out along the road to offer the ordinary driver a connected car, here and now, … or at least as soon as possible. In this battle for the connectivity of automobiles, M2M technology plays a key role.
Analysts like Research and Market have calculated that the market for connected cars will grow at an annual rate of 28.45 per cent over the next four years, thanks to a greater understanding of its benefits and the already active demand for applications. In fact, for 2020 it is forecast that 90% of all new cars will be connected.
While users are still waiting, car manufacturers along with operators and technology companies are already working on two types of implementations to offer them the car of the future today:
Designed as after-market solutions, these act as self-installable plug & play modules that enable you to make connected cars out of the standard vehicles running along our streets. With round-the-clock connectivity, they offer such benefits as the following:
- Real-time monitoring of the vehicle’s status and operation.
- Savings, through being able to detect potential problems with the car early on.
- Tracking of the vehicle in the event of car-jacking and alerts to safeguard the driver and relatives.
- Remote control of the vehicle in countries where this is allowed by law.
- Optimization of routes and driving expenses.
Providing comprehensive connectivity through a SIM card incorporated on the very assembly line, embedded solutions open the door to many more applications for both the operation of new models as well as the comfort, entertainment and safety of drivers and their passengers.
The basic features of 24-hour connectivity include:
- Monitoring and remote diagnosis of the vehicle.
- Software updating with the possibility of changing the car’s configuration remotely.
- Mobile phones or tablets can be used to control HVAC systems as well as other operational systems, suspension, etc. on the vehicle.
- Safety systems and automatic emergency calls in the event of an accident.
- Maps, real-time traffic information and satellite imaging.
- Real-time information about fuel prices and the location of the nearest service stations.
In addition, more and more applications are being developed in the Infotainment area to combine information and entertainment for the whole family:
- Access the Internet, instant messaging, e‑mail, social media.
- Streaming radio and other music services.
- Videos and other entertainment apps for passengers.
- Information and geo-location of nearby points of interest.
- Information on the weather, breaking news, … and much, much more.
In the near future, many more applications will come on-line, aimed particularly at the safety of drivers and their passengers. Communication between vehicles will become vital to prevent accidents by enabling the detection of the presence and location of other road users. Thus, for instance, it will be possible to avoid minor collisions due to distractions by alerting the driver when the car is too close to another vehicle.
At the forthcoming Mobile World Congress, m2m Telefónica will have lots of news to share and much more to demonstrate to visitors about connected cars.