Connected cars: take one to ease congestion

Until a few years ago, traffic and travel updates were only available to travellers through broadcasts on television and radio programmes. However, with the staggering wealth of technology now at their disposal, modern travellers can access up to the minute ‘real time’ updates on demand via smart-phones and tablet computers. But this is just the …

Until a few years ago, traffic and travel updates were only available to travellers through broadcasts on television and radio programmes. However, with the staggering wealth of technology now at their disposal, modern travellers can access up to the minute ‘real time’ updates on demand via smart-phones and tablet computers. But this is just the beginning: with traffic technology advancing at a rapid pace, and internet-connected vehicles being introduced en masse, what effect will this have on the development of travel technology, and how will it transform the journey of tomorrow?

As technology develops and new devices are launched onto the market, applications (‘apps’) are also evolving. The focus is firmly centred on the next wave of innovation, with both consumers and developers looking ahead to when data-powered smart devices develop the ability to connect and communicate with each other. As smart-phones and tablets start ‘talking’ to each other, anonymously sharing information on travel speeds across the road network, a new era of traffic information delivery is being created.

Apps are being released with the ability to calculate and report the remaining charge of electric vehicles and accurately indicate an EV’s remaining range.

Vehicle manufacturers and navigation providers require high quality traffic information to create apps that transform navigation from something that simply provides directions into a tool upon which drivers depend to save time and fuel, and emit less carbon from their vehicles while travelling to the places they go every day. This can be achieved by aggregating or anonymously “crowd-sourcing” traffic speeds from vehicles, resulting in better traffic information covering more roads than previous methods, an area in which INRIX is a pioneer. Earlier this year, we announced a partnership with Audi to integrate our premium real-time and predictive traffic service, XD Traffic, into its new vehicles starting with the A6 just introduced in Europe. Accurate within 5mph (8kph) 90% of the time, it can enable next-generation connected navigation and driving services applications designed to help drivers reliably anticipate and route around traffic congestion.

Apps are already proving to be of great benefit to the electric vehicle market. Apps are being released with the ability to calculate and report the remaining charge of electric vehicles and accurately indicate an EV’s remaining range. In the future we will also witness the release of apps that have the ability to identify and reserve the nearest charging station for drivers of electric vehicles. The launch of apps that can navigate vehicles via the most economical and efficient route possible is also a very realistic concept.

As we enter a new phase in the development of mobile technology, manufacturers are becoming acquainted with the need set out by consumers for more reliable navigation applications, which are intelligent and have the ability to create both a point of differentiation and a fresh and innovative USP.

Successful transport-related technology relies on the delivery of accurate traffic information. However, other enabling technologies need to be incorporated for a holistic app-based vision to become a reality. Voice and touch-optimised user interfaces, as well as two-way connectivity, can be utilised to deliver better quality traffic information and enhance the speed and quality of a journey. As we enter a new phase in the development of mobile technology, manufacturers are becoming acquainted with the demands of consumers for more reliable navigation applications, which are intelligent and have the ability to create both a point of differentiation and a fresh and innovative USP.

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

Hans-Henrik Puvogel is General Manager of INRIX Europe

INRIX is the leading-provider of traffic information, directions and driver services, apps and tools. INRIX products are based on data sourced from the world’s largest traffic network, vehicle manufacturers, mobile developers, transportation agencies, fleet and internet companies.

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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