Driving a car on an open, scenic road can be an exhilarating experience, but everyday driving is often boring and frustrating — not to mention bad for us. Research continues to show that the stress of long commutes can lead to higher blood pressure, heart disease and even an earlier death. Advances in technology give us hope for real improvements on the road. This Car of the Future infographic shows a number of upcoming cool changes that will reduce boredom, improve traffic flow and improve safety. We already rely on vehicle telematics — in-car electronics — for hands-free wireless, GPS, mobile data, diagnostic readouts, emergency signals, fleet management and anti-theft car tracking. But with GM scheduled to roll out cars with embedded 4G LTE mobile broadband next year, we won’t just be driving cars — we’ll be piloting rolling hotspots/command centers that are a convergence of IT, telecommunications and automotive technology.
Welcome to the Connected Car
Cars that park themselves, find you a good restaurant, avoid traffic accidents, sense road conditions and even cars that drive themselves are all on the roadmap. Cars will be having all sorts of electronic conversations: with the driver, with other cars, with traffic lights and road sensors. That’s great, you say, but doesn’t that mean there will just be more things to go wrong and need fixing? We’re talking about smart cars, remember — cars that are smart enough to monitor and diagnose themselves. In her onwindows.com article The Ultimate Connected Driving Experience, writer Karen McCandless shows us how technology is improving the car ownership experience by including two other players in the conversation: car manufacturers and car dealers.
Next-generation design and diagnostics
By analyzing streaming data from embedded electronics, manufacturers can track performance on new models and detect anomalies that can trigger alerts or recalls. McCandless asks Kirsten Billhardt, manufacturing marketing strategist at Dell, how this works for manufacturers: “They can see if components are fatiguing and proactively reach out and get the customer to come into the dealership. They can also learn if one of their components is over-engineered so they can reduce the costs of manufacturing.” This data leads to both lower costs and safer vehicles — a true win-win for manufacturers and consumers.
The growing ability to leverage localization data will lead to a more relaxed driving experience. McCandless shares an example from Bill Popp, VP of Manufacturing Sales at Dell. “If you are on the road, and the vehicle sees that it is coming up to lunchtime, it will suggest restaurants nearby.” Or if the vehicle is picking up signals of driver fatigue, it can suggest taking a break for coffee or a soda, or perhaps just a quick walk around a nearby park. This leads to a more alert and therefore safer driver.
Automakers have just started to scratch the surface of using big data and analytics to improve the driving experience. We can all look forward to ending some of the frustration and tedium of being stuck in the car — and just enjoying the journey.Lifestyle,Technology