It’s pretty common that when we are on a long drive or on a bus that takes us cross borders the driver tend to feel distracted or sleepy or both! This century long existing scenario opens up the race towards connected, electrified and self driving cars among the automobile giants. Why now, this was the case since cars have been invented? With the advent of Internet and Internet of Things, the connected cars can cater to automatic notification of crashes, notification of speeding and safety alerts.
In 1997, Toyota introduced a service that enabled people to check their emails from their cars, which virtually opened up possibilities to access headlines, weather reports through satellite radio providers. With that in mind, what new features can the connected cars offer? The In-Car Internet.
Applications are the tiny minions that basically runs our technology chores. Companies like BMW and General Motors have come up with customized applications that one install on their smartphone and establish a bluetooth connection to the car’s interface. So what happens when that connection is established? The connected car typically will contain a dashboard mounted monitor which will display a predefined set of application on car’s infotainment system. Some of the basic features one can access with this car are making a reservation in a local restaurant, receiving or sending emails, or make a Google Search. Typically a driver can make use of these features by controlling knobs on a central console or by simply touching the screen for operation.
This raises a lot of concerns as to what level of distraction are the drivers prone to while driving a connected car. Of course a lot of accidents happen when texting while driving! Critics have raised this concern justifying that these new features in a car will only add to the level of driver’s distraction. Besides Distraction, the growing number of hackers also pave way for data security concerns. So how well can the connected cars defend us against this driver distraction issue?
Traffic condition & Pedestrian position
Cars with sensors and connectivity to internet can assess the traffic conditions and Pedestrian position very well. The data captured by the in-car sensors can be transmitted to the users to their cell phone apps which in turn is interfaced with your car. This not only means that the driver will get real time updates on traffic conditions but also about the vehicle maintenance and repair diagnostics.
The connected cars will be replacing the main source of data input (humans) with computers, machines and sensors. Such a development ensures the physical world is intimately interfaced to the Internet without the need for human intervention. This means that even when the driver is not aware of the upcoming road condition, he will have a real time data which may have impact on their driving.
A connected car will be able to monitor the route it travels and adjust their position on the highway, alerting drivers if they are drifting out of their lane, and slowing down if they get too close to the car in front of them. Besides this, the in-car internet feature allows the driver to find the optimal route to their destination and helps manage the journey. Besides congestion alerts and re routing advice, the connected cars can track your car remotely in case of theft, notify the driver of upcoming toll, provide lateral collision warning, approaching car breakdown warning.
Imagine your battery needs to be replaced or your car insurance is running out that you are not aware of- connected cars will be able to track these details. In short, it takes care of logistics and spare parts management; Vehicle lifecycle management. This feature is indispensable because, even if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, your in-car internet feature will automatically contact the nearest repair shop for assistance and call your emergency contact in case of accident.
Considering the only idea of distraction while driving, the pros outweigh the con when it comes to the in-car internet feature. The advent of connected cars in the upcoming decade will of course be a disruptive period in the conventional car history.