Connected cars are evolving. Vehicle-centric IoT services such as the remote-controlled heaters and digital door locks are common today. But these services are merely the stepping stones to the truly connected car. After Internet of Things (IoT), connected cars seems to be the next most talked about topic in the industry. From automobile manufacturers to telecom operators to software vendors to consumer electronics companies, everyone is excited about the connected vehicle phenomenon. Contemporary cars, with the power of twenty modern PCs, already pack more punch than any other computing device. They have more than 100 million lines of code that can process up to 25GB of data in an hour. Keeping aside the hype created by the industry players, connected cars do bring a lot of value to the table.
One of the factors that’s turning this concept into a reality is ubiquitous connectivity. Automobile manufacturers are teaming up with telecom organizations to provide connectivity to their vehicles. When cars equipped with cameras and sensors meet mobile connectivity, connected cars share and receive data using the cloud. There are endless possibilities for that data. Data strong enough to change the core of the automotive industry is provided by Connected Cars to automakers. Automotive IoT is changing the way we use vehicles, from location tracking to assisted and autonomous drive. Let’s take a look at how IoT connectivity is transforming the automobile.
In-Car Content and Services
Connected Cars take the infotainment to the next level by delivering popular content to consumers. Car entertainment today is mostly confined to Bluetooth connectivity and FM radio. With increasing availability of high-speed networks, popular streaming services like Hulu, Pandora, and Spotify are becoming a part of the infotainment landscape in automobiles. Consumers will soon have plenty of options in digital content. Apple with Apple’s CarPlay and Google with Android Auto are competing to becoming the brain behind in-car infotainment. Consumers can use familiar voice-activated technologies such as Siri and Google Now to interact with the infotainment system, while Amazon is partnering with Ford to bring its popular Alexa engine to the car. Most infotainment systems are presently in a strange period where consumers can choose between manufacturer-made infotainment applications (MyFord Touch, BMW iDrive, etc.) or third-party apps created by mobile operating system giant's Google (Android Auto) and Apple (CarPlay). The coming generation of connected car services is providing car makers paths to new revenue and new customers. In-car purchases of applications and other services will produce revenue and incentivize 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.
Most modern cars are equipped with GPS-based navigation systems. Connected cars will come with smart navigation features that include location-based services. For instance, your car, based on the current fuel levels, can prompt you to halt at the next fuel station. It will be able to track the distance to the nearest refilling station and automatically change the destination. The advanced navigation system of your car will be able to access your calendar to figure out the time it takes to get to your next meeting. And based on the weather conditions and real-time traffic, your car must recommend the best route. They can suggest preferred brands and points‐of‐interest based on prior customizations and selections, by accessing past datasets.
In fact, our work with Volkswagen on their My VWDrive application provides added convenience at the driver’s fingertips. With numerous functions that include driving style and fuel consumption tracking, the app enhances the drive with smart capabilities that keep the driver safe and in control, while providing real-time insights on the car condition and performance. With graph calculations for driver score, distance, duration, fuel efficiency and fuel consumption and periodic fetching of data or polling every three mins in the background, we ensure that the data seen on the application is always upto date. With local storage, the application can be used offline, too.
Fuel and Cost Efficiency
With Connected Cars, you reach your destination safely, quickly and in a cost-efficient manner. Before reaching a signal, a smart car can slow down by communicating with road infrastructure and traffic signals. Just before the lights turn green, it can even stop and start the car automatically. This feature allows for greater fuel efficiency. The wear and tear of a vehicle can be assessed by Connected Cars by tracking the driving patterns. Insurance agencies can leverage this information by calculating the premium that’s based on the maintenance and usage of the car. To perform predictive analysis, service stations can periodically gather the diagnostic information over the air. They can even proactively connect with the car owners to fix a service appointment.
Convenient Payment Models
Mobile payments are already catching on quick across the globe. Both Mastercard and Visa are now working with automobile companies to bring electronic payments to smart vehicles. Next time you pass a toll gate, your digital wallet embedded in the car dashboard will charge your card automatically. Same with parking slots in public places like malls, parks, etc.
Leveraging in-cloud data management, in-vehicle data collection and user analytics, automotive IoT encourages end-to-end fleet management implementation. Fleet Management solutions encompass vehicle location tracking and scheduling, connected vehicle sensors, fuel tracking, vehicle usage analytics, speed control, car leasing solutions, fleet and driver management, workload management even and traffic management.
Convenient Car Maintenance
The condition and status of almost every aspect of the connected car are visualized on the dashboard. Additionally, a wide range of information is accessible to drivers through mobile phone apps. By showing average miles per gallon in different environments, it can even tell a driver how efficiently he or she is driving. Information on scheduled maintenance can be sent automatically to an assigned garage to facilitate smooth, efficient service.
Stolen Vehicle Tracking and User-Based Insurance
With rates based on driving behavior, usage, and other variables, insurance companies are offering policies using data from connected vehicles. Called pay as you drive (PAYD), user-based insurance (UBI) and pay how you drive (PHYD), is already practiced in certain countries. The Stolen Vehicle Recovery (SVR) or Stolen Vehicle Tracking (SVT), an extension of the UBI service, wherein the system works with the police to locate and recover the stolen vehicle in the event of reported theft.
Converting cars into 4G WiFi hotspots
Car manufacturers are increasingly finding connectivity on the move to be a highly valuable sales driving feature. Through a shared usage of their M2M SIM card, Connected cars will be expected to function as mobile hotspots for passengers. Outside their cars, users are used to network connections, anytime, anywhere. Users now want their cars to provide mobile connectivity with high standards of quality, reliability, and speed.
Driver & Passenger Safety
Multiple sensors are tracked by the central monitoring system for indications and warning signs related to the health of your car. It even checks for hazardous road conditions and external weather conditions to alert the driver in time. Most cars are already compliant with onboard diagnostics (OBD-II) standard that interfaces with external devices. Many mobile apps can communicate with OBD devices via Bluetooth or WiFi. In the last decade, almost every car manufactured comes with OBD functionality. By tracking the speed and the proximity with other vehicles, Connected Cars can also avert collisions. Through cameras, smart vehicles can capture the state of drivers and warn them when they suffer from fatigue and tiredness. The system can even optimize the music, temperature and seat functions to ensure that the driver is alert. If we implement the eCall regulation, like the European Union, where all cars are required to have the eCall facility from April 2018, in case of an accident, the vehicle will automatically send location and status signals to emergency services. Faster response time will save many lives. With My VMDrive app, we’ve worked to ensure that users will be able to easily obtain immediate help from Mondial Roadside Assistance in the case of an emergency.
Here the focus is on autopilot mode enablement, that is, partial or full automatic driving. Now let’s address autonomous driving, the elephant in the room. Currently, self-driving cars or fully autonomous vehicles are not available in the market, and they probably won't be for a long time. However, semi-autonomous cars already exist, and the lives saved are hugely due to IoT. Features like brake assist, front collision warning, blind spot monitors, remote parking and self-parking are all developments coming out of the rising use of proximity sensors, integrated cameras, adaptive headlights sensors and other connectivity components that define the IoT. These features are in place to get rid of the human error and make driving more convenient and much safer.
Today’s manufacturers fit their vehicles with special systems which connect the vehicle to your Android or iOS app, allowing you to decide how your vehicle is driven by setting limits on speed and the no. of working hours. If your child happens to take your car without asking or goes over the speed limit, you immediately receive a message.
The roads, the apps and the entire connected world around Connected Cars will continue to evolve with them, changing the way we experience mobility. And automotive IoT innovations continue to help minimize human error, making driving more efficient, safe and pleasurable. Many in the space have come to recognize that connected cars will soon no longer be a luxury but commonplace. We’ve worked with giants in the Industry like Mahindra & Mahindra, Volkswagen and MileIQ on their connected car journey. We’re excited to bring our expertise to your project. How can we help you?