In my previous post, I discussed the landscape that’s driving the future of the connected car, but now, let’s take a look at three of its growth areas:
1. Smart Parking. There’s nothing like the stress of parking, especially trying to find a convenient spot. There are a finite number of parking spaces for a seemingly infinite number of cars, and cities across the country struggle to meet the demand. In extreme cases, spots can even go for the price of a house. More commonly, people must invest large amounts of time in their commutes to find a spot and bundles of money from their budgets. Parking apps have emerged to provide an easier, cheaper and more efficient solution to the parking problem. Drawing from the Uber-inspired on-demand market, these apps provide consumers with local garage availability, as well as the opportunity to book and pay a lower rate for a space in advance. As a successful smartphone app, it’s easy to see the draw of an integrated parking reservation and payment system included in connected cars. For the first time ever, people could monitor and secure parking spaces on their front dashboard as easily as they browse music listings. There’s no saying that parking can’t be integrated seamlessly into the driving experience, creating a frictionless experience for people, just as other technology such as radio and air conditioning have been in past eras.
2. Vehicle-to-vehicle Connectivity. While the connected car itself offers great promise, there’s further opportunity to connect vehicles to one another. Waze has been successful at monitoring traffic and advising drivers of the least-congested routes, but cars with networks for short-range communications can interact with other nearby cars to gather such information as speed and potential hazards, creating a network of safer, easier driving. By sending notifications of black ice or warning drivers of an upcoming accident, the connected car could actually prepare you for what’s ahead on the road. AT&T and Audi are already collaborating on the integrated navigation, Internet database and Wi-Fi system. We may see soon enough that the future of the connected car in fact involves a networked web of numerous connected cars in the vicinity.
3. Car-status Monitoring. In an effort to provide more efficient and safe ways to drive, devices are being created to help drivers monitor their car. Tools such as the Automatic, the Mojio and the Zubie collect data to inform people the most fuel-efficient ways to press the pedal, the car’s location and more. The data collected acts as a “Fitbit for your car.” The connected car is also a way to ensure the safety of drivers, particularly teens who live in a world of multitasking. The car could provide information about where the driver is, how fast he or she is going or automatically call for help in an accident.
While it has yet to completely catch on with the general public, the prospect of new technology outfitting the connected car offers endless promise. With in-car assistance informing the driver about affordable parking availability, local traffic and hazard information and convenient engine diagnostics and car status updates, it’s clear that the connected car will one day soon be an inseparable part of the driving experience.