Click here to return to the Bright Angles website

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Smartphones on wheels - automobile tech

We commented on it a few months ago in our Bright Angles newsletter, and now there is evidence that the trend of 'techification of cars' is becoming bigger and bigger. Across the industry, automobile manufacturers are incorporating technology that lets consumers control their smart devices, and in some cases their cars -  through voice, or steering mounted controls or touchscreens.

Ford's mobile developer program aims to help mobile developers interface directly with cars, using Ford's Sync and AppLink technologies. Amazon Cloud Player is now available in select Ford cars powered with this technology, allowing drivers hands-free and easy access their online music libraries. No more need to change CDs or fumble with connecting cables for your mobile/ MP3 player. 

Not to be left behind, Apple has announced Siri Eye Free integration in their latest OS version, iOS 6. General Motors has been the first car maker to deploy this technology in select Chevrolet models, by integrating a button on the steering wheel that activates the Apple Voice assistant, Siri. Drivers can now perform voice activated commands on their smartphone - schedule appointments, dial contacts and more - by 'talking' to Siri with the press of a button - without taking their eyes off the road or their hands of the wheel. Other automobile companies including BMW, Honda, Toyota and Audi - will also include this technology in their upcoming launches in 2013.

Premium electric car maker Tesla has gone one step further and replaced the conventional dashboard of the car with a 17 inch touchscreen for web browsing, displaying a map or adjusting temperature and lights within the car. The 'smart screen' dashboard receives automatic OTA software updates from the manufacturer.

And even more futuristic - Google's 'driverless cars' will use sensors and wireless technology to avoid collisions with people or other cars. While this technology is still more than 5 years in the future, the goal seems clear - to make driving a hands-free process. 

Thilo Koslowski, founder of the automotive practice at Gartner, predicts that this decade we will see the emergence of the 'internet of cars'. Connected vehicles will constantly access, consume, create and share, information with other vehicles, drivers, manufacturers and third party businesses.  

The automotive business today is based on sale and maintenance of a vehicle. The emerging paradigm will re-define the business model. Manufacturers will start focusing on the sum total of business opportunities that an automobile represents, building partnerships with a broader set of industries including media, IT, retail and financial services.

In the midst of all the changes and experimentation, one this is certain. We live in exciting times, and our driving experience is set to get increasingly easier, more stress free and richer than it ever was before.

Sources : Wired, Apple Insiderslashdot