The concept of the Connected Car – which is based on computer and sensor technology to make driving more of a pleasure – is getting a lot of attention these days. Far from being a futuristic concept, many elements are here already and others are very close indeed to becoming a reality.
Many foundational elements are common in a car’s dashboard functionality today – streaming music from our phone, built-in navigation systems and phone call accessibility can all be controlled from the steering wheel.
More advanced applications include traffic-enabled navigation systems and Places of Interest (POI) search capability for restaurants and parking locations. The technology that will be brought to market in the near future will focus on deeper personalisation, which will be powered by what many call intelligent technology.
Industry research findings show that the next generation of drivers are ready for it. A recent survey by JCI found that people in their 30s and younger wanted full connectivity in their cars with visualisation, touchscreens, synchronisation and power charging for smartphones and tablet PCs, as well as location-based services such as automatic directions to petrol stations.
These digital desires go even deeper into personalisation by revealing that the next generation wants to know not only the location of a petrol station but also which one in the area has the cheapest prices, or which stations are most convenient for the route the driver is taking to get to their destination.
Many companies are supporting the development and integration of this intelligent technology for auto manufacturers . Ford is one that is pushing the boundaries of connected-car services. The Ford Evos is a perfect example.
Our Location & Commerce business is working with Ford as one of its integrators to bring this intelligent technology to market. This side of our business has expanded beyond mobile phones and includes products such as global location content, as well as scalable cloud services and APIs, which comprise Nokia’s Location Platform and support the Ford Evos concept car.
The car can learn about your driving habits and automatically adjust steering, handling and other functions. It also knows your commute details, the route you take most frequently, as well as what you do when you get in the car, such as playing a certain song, style of music, or tuning into a radio station.
Satnav maps can help drivers preview and avoid areas of heavy pollution and congestion or adjust the car setup to minimise the effects of these issues. In addition to its high-technology backbone, it is a hybrid vehicle, meaning that the battery kicks in automatically when the car is travelling through certain areas, highways or downhill roads, to save on fuel and/or reduce carbon emissions.
We’re going to see a lot of connected cars over the next few years as the digital world moves deeper into the automotive sector; the result will be a personalized driving experience that is smarter, greener and simply better.