Technology is quickly evolving and it is no surprise that it is being led by the car industry. From self-driving computers to electricity-powered engines, connected cars are becoming more advanced every day. You might be asking yourself, what exactly makes a car connected? A connected car is a vehicle equipped with Internet access. These vehicles usually have a wireless local area network and are capable to allow other nearby devices use the connection.
The world’s top automakers are developing these types of vehicles, but experts say there is still much work to be done. Making sure a car is connected and fully functional isn’t as easily accomplished as creating a smartphone or smaller device. Ironically, carmakers are teaming up with mobile companies to ease the development process. A perfect example is the recent partnership of General Motors and the mobile giant, AT&T. The company is predicting around $350 million worth of profits due to their plans to bring AT&T’s service to their line of connected cars. One carmaker has even bought out a wireless company and made it their own. Audi, BMW and Daimler have obtained the ruins of Nokia to help reduce their reliance on Google and Apple’s maps. This will allow the company more freedom in development, as giant outside tech companies seem to keep tight control over their products.
Not only does this connectivity mean more apps, music and entertainment, but also driving capabilities. Some of the recent technologies introduced to cars include controlled steering and GPS systems. Experts say this could lead to more enhanced tools, such as self-driving cars. These advancements mean carmakers are searching for the middle ground between the government’s safety regulations and the consumers’ demands. How do you provide endless connectivity and better safety? While connected cars have some very convenient uses, some worry these advancements pose risks?
There is also the issue of the learning curve for drivers. When purchasing this type of car, the consumer will need to learn about their vehicle’s tools and how to properly use them. These kinks will need to be worked out quickly for some drivers. In fact, in Europe all cars will have to reach a huge connectivity goal by 2015. A new law will make it mandatory that all cars are equipped with a system that is programmed to automatically contact emergency services in the event of a crash.
This is not the only way tech-savvy automobiles are changing the future, connected cars are also capable of saving lives on a massive scale.
These tools can be used to save lives during disasters. A perfect example of using these functions for emergency services is Thames Water, UK’s largest water and sewerage company. With such a large area of responsibility, the company looked for an efficient and cost-effective way to keep their customers safe and informed during a crisis, such as flooding. Thames Water turned to Wireless Innovation to renovate their emergency response vehicle. The most important aspect of the connected car was the high-speed broadband internet connection, which was possible with a connection to the KA-SAT satellite with a push of a button. The emergency vehicle is also equipped with full Wi-Fi capabilities, such as email, internet and VoIP calls. The car also has its own generator and an electronic message sign to display important information to surrounding customers. This connected car has already had the opportunity to show off its full capabilities.
“During emergencies, such as last winter’s flooding, this vehicle becomes the focal point and control centre for those on the ground,” said Clive Dickens MBE, the Senior Technical Engineer for Operational Control at Thames Water. “With this refit, we have the very latest technology at our fingertips to quickly assess and respond to any emergency, while ensuring that we maintain clear communications with the local community, operations control centre and media.”
Not only are connected cars used in emergency and professional purposes, but the innovations are also making an impact on civilian life.
A fully functional “smart” car needs one very important tool to work: a reliable Internet. Many satellite internet providers are getting into this industry to help equip these cars with this valuable tool. The advancements that we will see in the automobile industry will surprise us as cars become more computers than transportation.