Driving Towards The Internet of Things
The year 2015 will largely be remembered as the year when cloud computing went mainstream and companies that had invested early were able to reap the benefits with the promise of much more to come. Industries which for so long had worked as an independent, players began the scramble to connect with each other in previously unheard of ways. The internet of things, as it has become known, is gathering speed and momentum and nowhere was that more apparent than in the auto industry. Innovation is everywhere.
(Infographic Source: Broadcom)
Consider, for starters, the new BMW 7 Series which boasts tech straight out of the future, like ‘’touchless” control of the audio system’s volume control, wireless phone charging and a world-first remote control parking feature. We can’t wait to see those hitting the streets.
It’s not only car makers getting in on the action. CarDroid is a new gadget developed by Canadian startup UonMap, which recently raised $35 000 on Kickstarter. It’s a small gadget running an AndroidOS which is connected to a cloud-based platform in order to analyze vehicle data and driver behavior before sending that information to a personal cloud. While smart cars are still in the upper price bracket, this device can make any car smarter. The company explains that “CarDroid can fast and easily make your car smarter thanks to the latest monitoring and safety technologies. It adds a lot of new features to your car. The device provides people with better, safer driving experience and brings comfort to those who worry about their dear ones driving.”
And if the smartening up of vehicles is the kind of thing that revs your motor, then the launch of the Tesla Model X ticked all the boxes in 2015 and proved just how far technology has come.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)
The 6-seater SUV has a 90kwH battery with a range of 250 miles and can go from zero to 100 km/h in just over 3 seconds. It’s also jam packed with cameras, sonar, radar systems and active sensors to enable automatic emergency brake deployment in an emergency situation. Production is scheduled for 2017 and automakers around the world are going to be racing to keep up with Tesla’s pace of innovation.
Loud & Clear
With the abundance of technology being packed into vehicles, it’s not surprising that driver distraction is one of the biggest obstacles to more connected cars. The latest attempt to tackle this scourge is from a New York-based company called messageLoud. Motoring blog Motorburn explains how messageLoud operates: “When in driving mode, the app accesses your text messages and emails, among other things. When a new message comes through, the app will read it out loud to you. You can then dismiss the message, or call the sender back, using simple gestures.” It’s a simple, smart solution to a problem that can have devastating consequences.
Of course, no story on connected cars is complete without a hat tip to the biggest developing story of them all: the driverless car. Every player in the computing / automotive game is feeling its way towards the moment when the future finally arrives and cars combine seamlessly with the cloud to produce a safe, comfortable driverless drive. Google is probably out in front at this point, Apple are believed to be feverishly developing a product of their own, while German, Japanese and American manufacturers are all advancing towards this burgeoning multi-billion dollar industry. Fasten your seatbelts – the motoring industry is about to get a lot more interesting.
By Jeremy Daniel