What IoT do you use in your car?
Internet of things is on its way to add some comfort to our lives – the obvious payoff of using automation systems is a release from the series of mundane, rote tasks that people have to do every day.
To some, IoT may sound gimmicky and forces technology into the areas of our lives which do relatively fine without it. But there are certain applications which prove that IoT is really useful for the user and prove its merit: connected cars.
Connected cars are powered by IoT devices add new layers of safety and control. They open up completely new functionalities for the users. The connected car market has grown to become a lucrative industry – it’s valued at $72.9bn (£52.3bn) last year, it is estimated to hit $219.2 (£169bn) by 2025. The number of devices in vehicles is likely to increase by 67% over the next two years, and consumer spending on in-vehicle connectivity is expected to double by the end of the decade.
Let’s have a look at some of the technology’s applications:
Applications of IoT in Cars
Modern vehicles come with software and connectivity features embedded into their infotainment systems. This includes maps, navigation, on-demand video and music, and many other services.
Google with its Google Auto infotainment solution clearly wants a share of the connected car market, as it has established partnerships with various car manufacturers. It is developing its infotainment ecosystem which uses Android apps such as Google Maps, Play Store and Google Assistant. The Google Auto infotainment system is currently implemented in cars Alfa Romeo, Audi, Ford, Chrysler, Citroen, Cadillac, Buick, and many others.
Similarly, Apple CarPlay is offered as a feature in a number of mid- to high-end cars (including Audi, Alfa Romeo, BMW, Bentley, Citroen, Datsun and many otheres).
IoT-enabled sensors in cars can monitor temperature, engine status, speed, electrical systems and navigation. The information is used to forecast performance and send important maintenance alerts to the users phones (via connected apps). In this way, car owners can address issues before they flesh out into major breakdowns.
An example of such solution is implemented by Northstar – a leading battery manufacturer specializing in designing, manufacturing and deploying an innovative range of batteries. The company’s ACE Batteries come with a solution that aggregates data from the car’s multiple battery sensors within single mobile device by BLE. NorthStar ACE® IQ App developed and maintained by Better Software Group gives access to all the information about your batteries in the palm of your hands within minutes.
Proximity sensors at the front and rear bumper provide help during parking, and make the driving experience safer – e.g. by detecting blind spots or controlling distance from another car. With greater adoption of connected cars onboard systems can communicate with other vehicles on the road and predict and avoid collisions.
Dashboard reporting and analytics
Data coming from connected cars offer a rich trove of data on the driving styles and habits of drivers. This information can be very important in the development of car AI and decision-making algorithms, helping to test and make better autonomous cars. As an increasing number of connected vehicles drive on the roads, the quality of the data will improve.
This can also be used to offer cheaper insurance to the more careful drivers. The users of the Polish dashcam app Yanosik, which informs the driver about speed cameras and provides other road information, are offered car-insurance discounts (if they consent to such tracking in the first place).
Cognitive insights for management
Connected cars allow manufacturers to directly and efficiently inform drivers about any problems and automate tedious tasks such as scheduling a car servicing appointment with the nearest car dealer or service center. This two-way exchange ensures that cars are regularly serviced in an autonomous fashion with little inconvenience to the user.
The Connected Vehicle Ecosystem. Source: Netscribes
Which manufacturers offer IoT functionalities?
In a bid to digitise the automotive industry, Volkswagen’s Car-Net service offers maps, music and hand-free calls to text message dictation and an SOS call feature that contacts emergency services if the driver can’t.
By integrating with the phone, BMW’s ConnectedDrive infotainment system serves as a control hub for the car’s connected functionalities. From there, the driver can take and make phone calls and synchronise calendars, as well as take care of the car’s key smart functionalities like heads-up display, lane departure warning system, traffic information, active cruise control, night vision and traffic information.
Audi Connect is designed to maximise security by minimising driver distraction on the road. It’s powered by Google Assistant which works as your guide to places of interest, travel information, weather reports, fuel prices and more. You can even send destinations with your myAudi account on your desktop straight to your car
The Mercedes Me system improves the car experience, and its features are mainly geared at convenience and comfort of use. The features include parking assistance, vehicle set-up, concierge service, traffic information and vehicle monitoring.
As far as connected cars are concerned, it’s hard to find a more forward-thinking car manufacturer than Tesla. The car’s infotainment system occupies the central space in the dashboard, and very likely has a bigger real-estate that your laptop.
The system offers monitoring of energy consumption (a crucial thing for an electric car), and provides the industry standards like internet browser, navigation, music and video. We don’t even have to mention it connects to your phone.
The connected-car functionalities of Nissan Connect include remote start via a smartphone and the ability to control selected features using Amazon Alexa voice control – locking and unlocking the doors, making phone calls without picking up your phone, and remote horn and lights. It also allows offers the usual features like wireless music streaming, navigation, security and infotainment system.
Volvo’s infotainment system Sensus Connect provides an upgraded user interface. It has a number of useful functions such as cloud-based services integrated in the car, improved navigation with 3D maps (with free map updates), a local search function and an option to remotely send destination instructions to the car.
Volvo offers an option with 3G modem built-in which allows to set am in-car Wi-Fi hotspot to share with the passengers.
The basic infotainment options like music streaming and Bluetooth are, naturally, also there.
IoT has created a new frontier where car manufacturer can compete and try to differentiate. Connected cars are becoming more and more ubiquitous as drivers seek convenience, security and in-car entertainment features.