The Connected Car

  Jun 10, 2013 3:24:13 AM

From humble beginnings in the 80’s the amount of electronics in car has been steadily increasing. Industry pundits estimate that the electronic content in cars is growing at a CAGR of 6 to 10%. The initial motivation for introducing electronics in the an automobile was to target digital engine control. Fast forwarding to 2013, we see that electronics is all pervading in an auto and provides a host of passenger entertainment, driver assistance and safety features.

The automotive players are now constants and take center stage in the best global expositions of consumer electronics and wireless systems. One of the major areas of focus in the automobile industry is to exploit advancements in communication and connectivity and integrate them in the car. Auto manufacturers have now turned their product into what is termed as a ‘Connected Car’. The Connected Car opens up a new dimension for manufacturers who will be able to continue to offer services to their customer after the initial sale.

Smart In-Vehicle-Infotainment Systems enable the occupants of the car to stay connected ‘any time, at any place, receive any content, from any device’. As the car now becomes a ‘connected platform’, the driver and passengers can access a vast array of services ranging from safety, navigation, entertainment, travel, weather, road conditions  and others. Of them all, security and convenience are turning out to be areas that several third party vendors are vying.

Security: On-board ‘diagnostic systems’ leverage the Connected Car systems to allow the OEM to track the health of the automobile and offer timely alerts for preventive maintenance. In the unfortunate event of accidents the Connected Car capabilities make it possible to generate ‘emergency calls’ (eCall) and provide ‘precise location based information’ vital to offer timely medical relief to the occupants. Whilst eCall services have been available for many years, the high cost of hardware and services has so far deterred consumers from opting for it in several markets. This has started to change over the last few years, thanks to the launch of ultra low-cost solutions.

Convenience: Vehicle manufacturers are now investing in further enhancing the driver-car relationship. Features such as remote AC/heat activation, remote vehicle monitoring and ‘find my car’ are already available through downloadable apps. Though these apps are created by third party vendors, it will soon become part of the package provided by the OEM, a big step in enabling connectivity in passenger vehicles.

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Leading industry sources point out that by 2025, we may well expect to see that safety, infotainment and navigation have become ubiquitous to the Car, primarily due to broader demand and legislative mandates. In a sense, every car will be a connected car. As governments and third parties such as insurance players across geographies are progressively taking cognizance of this trend, other aspects of the Connected Car such as electronics vehicle services, electronic tolling and PAYD insurance too will become an integral part of the car purchase.

It was the phone and TV that were Smart.  Now the Car has caught up and is set to lead the connected race.

 

 

Authored by: Swami Krishnan

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