The Connected Car in 2020
Do you remember all those science fiction movies you watched as a kid that featured flying cars? It was a hint at what cars could do in the future. While we still haven’t seen a mass-produced flying car, yet, the advancements in car technology have never been more evident than what we see in the connected car. Just look at the innovation happening at the AT&T Drive Studio in Atlanta and the apps being developed at our Connected Car hackathons.
Within five years, the roads will be filled with many more connected cars than are on the road today. Roger Lanctot, Associate Director, Global Automotive Practice, Strategy Analytics, states, “Between connected smartphones and embedded connections as much as 50% of cars will be connectable.” Frost & Sullivan analysts estimate that as much as 90% of vehicles will be connected and geo-connected by 2020. Either way, all sides seem to agree that with these trends, the market for connected cars is growing.
Auto Maintenance: The Next Frontier
The year 2020 doesn’t seem far off, but when it comes to technology, a lot can happen in that time. We have yet to invent the advancements that will push the industry forward. That said, there are still plenty of exciting technologies available today that can provide a glimpse at how the connected car might look in the year 2020.
When thinking about the future, let’s look at a feature many automobiles already have and how connected car technology can be used to take it to the next level. We’ve seen the diagnostic tests that are run on cars now, but how much more could that advance? In the future, instead of a car just alerting us it is time for a check-up with a blinking light, maybe it could tell us what’s wrong with the vehicle. Can you say, “Save on mechanic bills?”
“A related trend that we’ll also see by 2020 will be proactive vehicle maintenance,” says Jeff Kavanaugh, VP Managing Partner for the Manufacturing and High Tech Consulting Units at Infosys. “With a stored diagnostic service history of how many times the car goes to the technician, the connected car’s system will know the longevity of the various engine parts and proactively recommend replacing them before they break down.”
The Future Looks Bright for Navigating the Connected Car
Currently, consumers rely on their phones for things like navigation, traffic, and discovering points of interest. In the future, that data will likely be integrated into the vehicle. There are plenty of new cars on the road that have navigation features built-in – even the Smart Car has it as a standard feature. However, the connected car of the future will elevate these features and provide so much more.
“Connected navigation is the most fundamentally necessary of the new connected car technologies. We already assume the availability of smart, live, connected search-to-navigate on our phone and other devices, yet in the car we typically live without it (or juggle our phones dangerously to have it.),” says Brian Cooley, CNET Editor at Large and host of On Cars. “With connected navigation we move from the current stilted world of POIs, manual address entry or stale guides like an annual Zagat update to being able to look for what we want with all our history, preferences, and trusted recommendations built-in – as it should be.”
It’s not just about making it easier to get around or to avoid traffic, the car of the future may be able to predict your needs even before you know them. Think about the amount of time spent in the car and the places you visit. Maybe you take the same route at the same time or drive to certain places repeatedly. What can a car learn about your behavior and how can it use that data to predict your needs?
“We can expect the development of services that use personalized and localized information to provide the user with intelligent alerts designed to optimize travel. This involves alerting the user to relevant things surrounding them,” says Michael Davies, Endeavour Partners and MIT. “For example, rather than presenting a list of every restaurant in the state, a car might send a notification at 12PM that an Indian restaurant is 3 miles down the road (based on the driver’s prior search history and stopping habits).”
Essential Features Connected Car Experts Want
Those are some of the trends that are happening in the connected car space and a glimpse at what vehicles could be like in 2020. We asked experts who cover the space what they’d like to see in the connected car of the future and here’s what they said:
- I’m still looking for a superior media/content management solution that will allow me to access all forms of content (via voice) on demand – podcasts, YouTube, TV broadcasts (news), radio (traffic and weather), streaming audio, Internet radio, Wikipedia, anything. – Roger Lanctot, Associate Director, Global Automotive Practice, Strategy Analytics
- Electronics system security that is easy to deploy that addresses privacy concerns. – Yong Kim, Automotive Segment Chairperson, AVnu Alliance
- To have sensors automatically send friendly notifications for slow cars in the left lane to move over if they aren’t passing. That would improve traffic flow immensely, and improve my blood pressure, as well. – Rex Moore, Motley Fool
- I am very excited by the prospect of making cars safer and faster by having them “talk” to one another, as well as to the road itself. When cars are interconnected, accidents will be fewer because cars will “know” what is happening not only with the car in front, but miles down the road. – Daniel Levine, Trends Expert, The Avant-Guide Institute
- I’m constantly rushing between places, and frequently caffeine deprived. What I’d love is a great app that lays out the local options for a great cappuccino (and rates them on a series of metrics, including quality, wait-time, and distance from me), so I can figure out which alternative works best for me given my time constraints and route. – Michael Davies, Endeavour Partners & MIT
- I’d like to see a way to simply graft in my iOS or Android universe in the head unit, using a no-cost, high-cap LTE connection built into the car. The head unit should be a gateway for the best services out there, applied through my preferences, history and account relationship. – Brian Cooley, CNET Editor at Large
We also experienced a lot of interesting innovation from developers who attended the AT&T Hackathon @ Super Mobility Week – Code for Car & Home in Las Vegas. Many developers focused on safety apps. Although, looking at the future of what the connected car could become, experts focused on how we will interact with cars in the future. What do you think of these concepts? Have they given you any inspiration for apps you might develop at future connected car hackathons? Let us know in the comments.