Connected cars – the future driven with steering wheelsHow does it work?
Connected cars – the future driven with steering wheels
There is no doubt we currently live in the world of connectivity. Gone are the days when dial-up connections were the only way to access the internet. Now, you can easily check mails, latest Facebook updates and listen to your favorite music on Youtube through your smartphone. Going a step further, you can get to connect your smartphone to your vehicle, and your vehicle to the world.
How does it work?
You definitely want to be constantly connected to your contacts through a stable internet connection; but why would you want your car to be able to connect to a network? It can keep you entertained, provide better driving experience and create a safer environment. All this happens through a series of components which allow your car to become connected; not only to the internet, but to peripheral devices and other vehicles as well.
To connect to the internet, modern vehicles rely on a built-in communications module usually operating within a GSM operator’s coverage area. Most of the time, a contract with a GSM company is established when the car is bought, the buyer obliging to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee.
Such a communications module connects to the vehicle’s computer system and interacts with it by feeding various telematics data or other type of info that may be required. This way, the need for a standalone, third party GPS system is removed, as a constant internet connection won’t only provide directions but will also establish real time updated interest points, traffic news (accidents or roadblocks that may be ahead).
What advantages does a connected car bring?
First of all, you no longer need a bunch of wires to connect your phone to the aux port of your car’s stereo. Thanks you Bluetooth integration, you can directly stream music from your smartphone towards your vehicle’s speakers. Furthermore, you can stream directly from an online music provider such as Pandora or iTunes, since the vehicle can connect on its own to the internet.
A third party GPS is desirable when traveling long distances; however the rarity of map updates and the lack of live traffic feed may render a hardware GPS obsolete. However, connected cars are able to draw traffic data from specialized services and list them on the console screen. Such data includes information about traffic jams, speed limits and alternative routes, points of interest such as restaurants or gas stations.
Voice commands are no longer something out of science-fiction movies. With the latest renditions of Mercedes S-Class, GLK, Range Rover Defender, BMW 5 Series and 7 Series, the driver can keep his eyes on the road at all times while dealing with music or changing suspension settings of the vehicle to better suit the road. Voice commands are included in most high-end automotive units and can account for multimedia controls, calling and climate control inside the car.
Connected cars are also creating a safer driving environment. For example, the InControl system allows Jaguar vehicles to connect with each other when in proximity and provide data regarding road conditions, speed, and so on.
While not directly in connection with internet linked vehicles, car sensors are also a part of a connected car. By reading information from within and around the vehicle, sensors are feeding data to the central processing unit and then it is further displayed to the driver. This results in lane keeping systems, collision avoidance and adaptive headlight systems.
What to expect in the future from Connected cars
Since right now technology evolves at a pace where it is hardly possible to keep up, connected cars will continue to become better and more efficient, eventually leading to fully autonomous driving modes. Advances in this direction are already made by Tesla and Google, some vehicles being already legally driven on roads around the world.