Connected Car Technologies Improve Safety
Developers, manufacturers, and dealerships are engaged in a connected car feeding frenzy as they seek to differentiate the in-vehicle experience. Sound familiar? It should. User experience has become one of the most important factors for increasing customer satisfaction as our virtual and physical worlds become more integrated. However, connected car technology will deliver value that extends beyond the vehicle by introducing new safety measures and increasing productivity.
According to the Harvard Health Watch, the average American spends more than four years of his or her life behind the wheel (does not include passenger travel). That’s nearly 1600 days, or 34,000 hours of potential accident time. Similarly, vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for U.S. teens. These alarming statistics are fueling innovations that use connected car technology to increase safety. For example, Hyundai – a recognized innovator with the biggest gains in the number of patent filings over the past five years – created Blue Link. This feature-rich, in-vehicle app includes automatic collision notification and emergency assistance. Hyundai has also gone the extra mile by incorporating monitoring services and parental controls. With Blue Link, parents can monitor their child’s location and speed limit, in addition to receiving accident notifications. The app also provides restrictive capabilities so parents can set limitations on the speed and hours of operation as well as the area of operation.
Though auto manufacturers continue to expand the safety features within their in-vehicle apps, I consider the functions below to be standard safety features:
Emergency Notification (SOS)
Automatically contacts specially-trained call center personnel and notifies emergency service providers in the event of an accident.
Contacts the manufacturer’s roadside assistance center with single-button activation or voice response, and automatically transmits vehicle and location information.
- Assisted parking
- Cruise control with “stop and go” capabilities
- Driver alert systems
This includes sensors and radar readers that interpret the vehicle’s surroundings, and then alert the driver when an object or person is nearing vehicle’s path. Note: The level of intelligence varies somewhat by manufacturer. However, many brands are accelerating their innovation engines as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) become more sophisticated. For example, the 2017 Cadillac CTS will include vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications which will allow it to communicate its speed and direction with other vehicles. Once this technology becomes pervasive, it could help reduce accidents by as much as 80%, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Provides notifications when a vehicle is operated outside predetermined parameters. These owner-defined restrictions can be based on hours of operation or by geographical boundaries.
Stolen Car Location
Helps police locate the stolen vehicle using GPS signaling. Advanced systems enable service advisors to decrease vehicle speed in the event of chase. Additional services may include ignition blocking which prevents the vehicle from being re-started after being turning off.
Disruption Across Industries
In-vehicle apps like Blue Link are providing immediate value by connecting drivers to emergency support personnel and helping teens to develop safer driving habits. However, the data captured via connected car technologies will cause significant disruption in a number of industries. First responders will need the ability to receive accident notifications in real-time. Hospitals will also need direct feeds in order to adequately prepare for the arrival of accident victims. Insurance companies will use data from connected car technologies to develop personalized rate plans. Telecommunication providers will be required to provide seamless integration between technologies as the automobile becomes another device in the communications matrix. This approach to “total connectivity” will motivate companies in the security industry (systems and services) to connect the car to their business and home monitoring systems.
Most of these industries are already moving forward with some level of connected car integration. But the most significant disruption will take place in the automotive industry as manufacturers seek to differentiate their brands through superior safety and connectivity. Millennials, the first generation to be raised in a digital world, will embrace – even force – new safety innovations, which could be a boon for next-gen manufacturers such as Apple and Google.
In my opinion, safety is the path to enlightenment for connected car technologies. Self-driving vehicles garner significant media attention; however, user adoption in these areas will be lengthy. On the other hand, advancements in safety will rapidly transform user viewpoints from science fiction to “must-have” functionality. And, like other truly disruptive technologies, there will be no turning back.