Connected Car Technology

Technology has progressed a lot in every sector over the last many decades. In some cases, these transformations are mostly behind the scenes and out of sight of most customers. However, in many cases, these changes have been intense like in automobile sector. The architecture of vehicles is one among of those things that define the times in which they are designed and manufactured.

Now that technology has enraptured from the assembly line and into the automobile itself, this change is becoming even more pronounced. All of this has become possible due to the efforts of sensible individuals operating in different styles of completely different technical fields. We are on the verge of having fully connected traffic on the streets. This means that each automobile can understand wherever every alternative automobile is. Therefore, they’re going to be ready to simply avoid collisions and optimize the route for each vehicle.

A connected automobile could be an automobile that’s equipped with net access, and with a wireless local area network. This allows the automobile to share net access, and hence data, with other devices both inside and outside the vehicle. Often, automobiles are outfitted with special technologies that faucet into the net or wireless local area networks and supply additional advantages to the driver

History of Connected Cars

General Motors was working with Motorola Automotive when they introduced OnStar in 1996 and was the first automaker. During those days, cellular voice calling was unreliable and General Motors wanted to create a safety product. The telematics system first enabled voice calls to a call center that contacted emergency responders in the case of accidents.

The connected car safety systems introduced many facilities over the time including GPS locations and the ability to provide voice communication and data access simultaneously. After the success of OnStar, various automakers followed General Motors with similar features by connecting their cars to an emergency responder.

In 2001 twenty new remote diagnostics were introduced. 2003 introduced many new useful features like the vehicle and engine health and diagnostic reports, turn-by-turn directions and a network access device. Continental introduced data-only telematics in 2007. After that, in 2014, Audi A3 became the first manufacturer to launch 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspots access and the General Motors was the first one for mass deployment of 4G LTE. In the UK, ‘The AA’ introduced the first piece of connected car technology, in Car Genie that not only warns of issues regarding the car health but also intervened directly with a phone call to customers to help them prevent a breakdown. In 2017, European technology start-up Stratio Automotive had provided vehicles predictive intelligence to enable fleet operators to better manage and maintain their vehicles.

Connected Car Functions Features

Typically, a connected car has a head-unit, infotainment unit, an in-dash system with a screen from which the operations of the connections can be seen or managed by the driver. Types of systems that can be connected are:

Infotainment

  • The system plays Music/audio via smart phone, tablet or any other device connected to internet. Multiple applications are available that play music according to one’s mood.
  • The System supports voice commands and hands-free control features and responds to voice commands, such as “Play some Music.” and more sophisticated may be Siri-Style commands such as “Navigate to the nearest restaurant.
  • The system provides wireless connectivity via bluetooth which allows the user/driver to make and receive phone calls via a microphone located close to the driver so that the driver can speak and the voice of the other party is played via the speakers of the car. Bluetooth devices like smart phones can also be attached to the system to play music.
  • Contextual Assistance – A new arena has emerged in the connected cars since the computer system learns the driver’s preference and then offers assistance, such as when the gas tank is low, shows nearby gas stations. Voice commands such as “I’m hungry” can be used to display restaurants in the nearby area.
  • 4G Wi-Fi Hotspots – General Motors is providing 4G LTE in all its cars since June 2015. The Audi A3 is the first 4G LTE connected car in the USA. Volvo also offered 4G LTE from AT&T in the summer of 2014.
  • Advanced connected cars supports Android/IOS and proprietary applications or softwares.

Safety

  • Roadside assistance – The most important and well-known service is in which agents help drivers in case of accidents or any other dangers like landslides, heavy rainfall etc by contacting authorities and rescue workers depending upon the need. Studies have shown that emergency call services forestall injuries and collision avoidance.
  • Traffic, safety and collision warnings – When the cars are connected to a navigation system, the drivers can be notified of car collisions, traffic jams, potholes, debris on the road and more. The car can communicate in various ways to other devices such as Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle-to-Pedestrian/Phone (V2P) or Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) for crucial information.

Diagnostics Efficiency

  • Systems can diagnose the engine and the vehicle health and alerts the driver about the problems with the car or a need of servicing.
  • Remote softwares provides the facility to use remote features which includes remote start, remote door opening and closing, turning the AC on/off remotely, car location tracking, alerts, children or elderly monitoring and valet monitoring etc.
  • Predictive prognostics – The system initiates a warning to the car owner when the starter motor, fuel motor or battery are about to fail or the gas tank is low.
  • Parking applications installed in a smart phone helps to locate and pay for nearby parking.
  • Heath reports – Owners receive their health reports.

Navigation

  • Navigation – navigation can be done either through a smartphone or an iPhone application or through a built-in GPS navigation system.
  • Leave alerts & text alerts – when connected to apps outside the car, the driver can receive notification to leave on time, while the car or apps notify friends or colleagues about the arrival time of the vehicle.
  • Real-time traffic – guidance using real-time traffic and peak hours.
  • Real-time weather – notifications of live weather conditions as it happens.

Payments

General Motors was the first maker in the USA to launch payments from the dashboard through Marketplace for snacks, coffee, and other fast food chains. The drivers could pay through the touchscreen in their vehicle without swiping a credit card or using a mobile device.

Hyundai also enabled payments through Xevo. The idea is that the driver doesn’t have to leave the car to pay for goods or services. DocuSign and Visa developed a new proof-of-concept that brings together secure contracts and payments method online via a connected car.

Presently, there is no one dominant OS for the computers of head unit or other devices that connect to iPhone or Android. Earlier in 2014, the Open Automotive Alliance, an alliance of automotive manufacturers and technology companies was formed aimed at using Android in automobiles. MirrorLink is a system in which the in-dash screen shows the same as which appears on the smartphone. Apple launched CarPlay that works with Siri. Google launched Android Auto in March 2015, similar to CarPlay that uses voice commands and steering wheel buttons. By 2017, CarPlay is deployed by Hyundai, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Ford, Honda, almost all GM, Buick and Cadillac models, BMW. Car makers that deployed Android Auto include Hyundai, Volvo, and Honda.