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The Connected Car

Yes, cars are now being developed that connect to our smart phones and the internet, making the car the latest ‘mobile’ device battleground, if you like. Initial research shows there will be over 60million connected cars on the road by 2015. Apple and Google are both investing. As are car manufacturers from BMW to Toyota.

But that’s not all. It’s not only a way to get apps, streaming music and internet into the car. Research is also being done to develop voice controlled cars and cars that connect with the very road itself.

The high-end connectivity technology behind it is known as vehicle-to-vehicle communications (V2V). As the research goes, cars would be able to prevent accidents with each other – and that’s just the starting point. In Australia, where we may not even be manufacturing cars by the time of the connected car reality, this is a progressive idea.

A car that can communicate its intentions, can let other vehicles know if it’s slamming on its brakes or signalling a lane change. Drivers could then react to one of these cues, helping them avoid potential accidents.

Through connected cars we would create a continuously updatable network of vehicles communicating their intentions and interacting with the infrastructure of the road in order to make the roads safer.

Wi-Fi would be through a new channel such as the one called 802.11pp which allows for long-range transmissions. V2V crash avoidance technology is what they call game-changing in terms of road safety, as cars can communicate at much further a distance than drivers can see each other.

In fact, Road Safety authorities in USA are saying that V2V will become as essential for safety as are airbags and seatbelts.

I was interested this week then to read that support has now been lended to the concept of the connected car by the US Government who are starting to move on rules which would require future vehicles come with this Wi-Fi based technology in order for cars to communicate with each other.

Particularly if cars are more self-driving and safer, we may then be able to do more with our wasted driving time. Initial statistics say that car-focused technology will drive around $51 billion annually by around 2018.

We’ll be ready to do more activity in our connected cars – interactive dashboards, impressive infotainment, new digital channels could definitely come in to play. Perhaps online shopping while driving may be safe. The possibilities for future marketing is definitely something to think about. Let’s wait and see.

February 05, 2014
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