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Sure, we were promised flying cars by now, right? Well, we’re a lot closer to that vision now, than we’ve ever been since the birth of the automobile. Self-drive with us as we answer the question of “How will ‘the internet of everything’ affect automobiles?”
When you think about it, it’s amazing that there aren’t three times as many accidents on our roads and byways. Today, a huge catch-phrase is “distracted driver”, and it is often the cause of the bulk of these collisions. Well then, wouldn’t all of these new technologies just further distract us? Frankly, no. Modern cars are fitted with a wide array of tools (with many more on the way) that are already warning us of lane drifting, or unsafe proximity (front, back, and sides) or that friendly, accented voice giving directions. The purpose of all of these sensors (speed, proximity, GPS, etc.) are meant to give us less to think (read; worry) about, and will allow for more focus on the task of driving.
Some extreme environmentalists would have us revert to the horse and carriage days in an effort to save the world. But, rather than investing in manure recycling stock, the auto industry has put their money on the fact that technology is the answer to a cleaner, healthier planet. In the early days, just cutting exhaust emissions was the goal. But, now (and into the flying car future) the drive is focused towards making the vehicle “find” the most efficient use of road-time, along with emissions, to lessen the auto vs. Earth interaction time.
Consumers who are used to connectivity everywhere they go (at cafes, hotels, home or office) are reluctant to give up this information access when they are on the road and in their cars. As they build greater connectivity into their homes (adding thermostats and kitchen appliances that share data and can be controlled via apps) they not only expect the same convenience and access in their cars, they anticipate their connected homes will also sync with their connected cars. These consumers are comfortable with their mobile devices and rely on them to stay connected and access data, and they look to their cars for the same functionality.
Ever since the automobile was invented, the logic was to follow a mileage/calendar schedule to replace parts, whether they needed it or not. Predictive maintenance is about finding the sweet spot that lets you get the most life out of your vehicle while minimizing the risk of failure. It involves gathering large quantities of data (such as maintenance records and data from sensors on the vehicle), analyzing it, and creating a predictive model to determine the optimal time for maintenance tasks to be performed on each individual piece of equipment.
Security And Privacy
The exchange of data among applications in the vehicle and other systems, such as over WiFi and to connected home systems, raises issues about how this data is protected. Automakers are perfecting safeguards aimed at making the connected applications and devices in our vehicles less vulnerable to hacking. All of the technology involved in these connected cars would be useless if people don’t trust them (and therefore, don’t buy them).
Self Driving Cars
In a world of nanny-state regulation, one would laugh at the idea of self-driving cars but, they are here…now! That’s because they actually work in favor of safety and environmental concerns. Going forward, there will be so many avenues opened up for increased productivity (think of all of those commuters freed up to drive the economy forward by shopping instead of driving!), less accidents, less pollution, and less congestion on the city roadways (it also means the end of stereotype driver jokes!).
Connected car advances must make good economic sense for car buyers (or connected cars will be seen as a luxury innovation, available to only a select few). Automakers are fully dedicated to this wave of the future, right now, and are already forming relationships with the full circle of suppliers in order to ensure uniformity, which in turn, will ensure affordability.