Whether you have an interest in cars or not, you’ll probably have heard lots about a major new development in automotive technology: the connected car. But what does this really mean? Here’s a basic guide.
What is a connected car?
In the simplest terms, a connected car is one that is connected to the Internet. It is another example of the Internet of Things, where devices besides computers can connect and communicate online.
Why would I want one?
There are many potential benefits of a connected car. Firstly, having an internet connection in the car can allow other devices – for example, passengers’ smartphones – to go online. In addition, online entertainment services, whether audio or video could also be streamed directly into the car’s entertainment system. Other common features of smartphones and tablets, such as maps, can also be delivered to the car over the Internet.
Safety is another important element of the connected car. Manufacturers can keep track of diagnostic data remotely, and inform the driver if the car needs to be serviced. Meanwhile, in the event of an accident, a connected car could automatically inform the emergency services when it detects an impact.
Your insurance premium might benefit too. Connected cars could transmit data on your driving performance back to your insurer, allowing them to adjust your premium depending on how safely you drive.
Can connected cars drive themselves?
The long-heralded ‘driverless’ car is the logical next step for connected cars, with autonomous vehicles capable of driving from one location to another with no human input. But we’re not there just yet! Technology companies like Google and automotive companies like Mercedes-Benz are busy researching the technology and how it can delivered safely. But we’re a few years away from the driverless dream yet.
Are they safe?
As with any connected technology, security is a key consideration. Hackers recently were able to take remote control of a car’s steering, prompting the manufacturer to recall over a million vehicles for a software update.
Developments such as this demonstrate the need for everyone involved in the connected car industry to take security very seriously, as Gemalto’s Rémi de Fouchier argues here. But with a coordinated and thorough approach, there’s no reason why connected cars can’t be protected from hackers.
Connected cars are a hugely exciting development and the years ahead could prove to be transformative for the automotive industry. If you have more questions, please ask!