I’ve made a graphical representation of 5 important trends in the area of smart vehicles (or if you prefer, ”connected vehicles”). Drop me a line if you'd like to share ideas on the subject.
Each of the trends is represented as the exchange of certain types of information between entities (or nodes).
-Diagnostics is all about: Collecting and sharing raw data about how the vehicle behaves on its trip from A to B: fuel consumption, speed, braking, acceleration, fail codes, geographical position; Turning that data into useful information or some form of valuation of the driving behavior; Using that to provide feedback and coaching to the driver on how to improve use of the vehicle. A popular variant is to do this in a gamified service.
- Personalization is about enabling the driver to bring along all his/her personal data: from contact lists and often-driven routes to their favourite music. An interesting development is the measurement of biometric data to monitor the driver’s physical condition, and use this to provide feedback or coaching e.g. for the benefit of a safer driving style. Aside from sensors in the vehicle, the increasing amount of devices worn directly on the body such as smart watches will contribute to this development.
- The most ”classic” of trends is providing the right information at the right time. Navigation, realtime traffic information and points of interest are and will remain core to an optimized driving experience. With cities and local service providers opening up their data sources, this will be complemented with other pieces of information from the travel environment such as realtime parking availability.
The dependence of electric cars on information about battery charging possibilities is adding additional info to the mix, such as real-time availability of charging stations. Tesla has announced it will even include local wind speeds (which affect aerodynamic drag and thus range) in their route optimization algorhythms.
- Social traffic: new services enabled by the sharing of vehicle- and traffic-related information via (not exclusively but mainly) smartphones. Vehicle sharing is a major feature provided by these services, whether its sharing a ride in a privately owned vehicle or locating and accessing a fleet car made available by a car sharing provider.
Then there are services that you can use during your drive to connect to other drivers, or provide useful information e.g. about traffic jams. Obviously, safety is an issue here – no service provider wants to be responsible for taking drivers' eyes of the road.
- The most technologically advanced trend is self-driving technology that is increasingly offered as an option or standard feature on new vehicles. This is enabled by communication between smart vehicles, and by the vehicle continuously interpreting spatial measurements of the surrounding environment. Most features are thusfar focused on specific driving situations.