Smart connectivity: the automobile evolves again

Without discounting the real value of rapid, informed emergency responder services, the car phone of 1992 could enable a range of services similar to those available today, albeit more expensively. Mobile voice and data services may have ended the absolute escapism of simply driving away, disconnected from all else but wheel and roadway, but it … Continued

Without discounting the real value of rapid, informed emergency responder services, the car phone of 1992 could enable a range of services similar to those available today, albeit more expensively. Mobile voice and data services may have ended the absolute escapism of simply driving away, disconnected from all else but wheel and roadway, but it has not had the landscape-shifting impact that connectivity had on other industries. At least, not yet.

The automotive industry is entering a period of tumultuous change and is beginning to integrate its products into a connected world. Vehicle manufacturers will make connected vehicles in great volume over the coming years, each with increasingly sophisticated data connections, high performance local processing, and device- and cloud-service integration, all novel additions to the electro-mechanical automotive culture. The industry will create hyper-connected customers with highly personalised product performance and usage data that will revolutionise the transportation industry.

The automotive industry is entering a period of tumultuous change and is beginning to integrate its products into a connected world

By decade’s end, transportation may still resemble the vehicular journeys of today, but the task of driving will be informed by driver-personalised, contextual, geo-spatial information from an array of on-board and off-board sensors and information services. In the commercial world, where return on investment is most demonstrable, real-time data for the vehicular asset, employee driver, and business performance will improve management through measurement and analytics.

For consumer and commercial drivers alike, simple voice input of destination will unlock stores of contextualised information. Real-time and predictive traffic modelling based on historical and current events will mesh with driver and passenger preferences to create hyper-personal navigation services that might include dining recommendations, coupons, and reservations for each personal journey. The journey’s progress is made available in real-time through social apps to personal networks. Infotainment services will be indistinguishable from those sourced through consumer electronics devices, though every service will be governed so as not to interfere with the driving task.

By decade’s end, transportation may still resemble the vehicular journeys of today, but the task of driving will be informed by driver-personalised, contextual, geo-spatial information from an array of on-board and off-board sensors and information services

Further erasing the vehicle as an island metaphor, sharing and inter-modal travel options begin the slow, inevitable increase in market share of transportation-as-a-service. Entering the vehicle cockpit to begin the typical morning commute, the driver is informed of traffic standstill, extending the travel time by more than 75 minutes. The connected service would also recommend different options, such as available riders of a ride-share service that would enable HOV access and a faster commute, extending travel time by only 40 minutes. A final option to use public transit with no extension of travel time is presented, with current route performance displayed along with real-time parking availability at the transit center.

Ecosystem complexity increases through the integration of mobile network operator, insurance carrier, vehicle repair, fuel, and other providers of adjacent vehicular services. Intelligently integrating these services and their providers into the driving task is arduous but necessary to minimise distractions while driving. The connected vehicle is a fundamental step to connected driving, which is itself only one step away from automating the transportation task. Every automated shop floor began with people carrying items, to which business process efficiency and electro-mechanical progress brought ever-new technology that eventually removed the driver for optimal performance. The global landscape for transportation will follow this metaphor. Eventually the driver will be removed and roadways will be as safe as possible. We are on the cusp of that journey.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.

Leo McCloskey is Vice President, Marketing at Airbiquity

The AutomotiveWorld.com Expert Opinion column is open to automotive industry decision makers and influencers. If you would like to contribute an Expert Opinion piece, please contact editorial@automotiveworld.com.

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