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Coping with the connected car

| Updated on: Sep 03, 2015
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Understanding the many technologies is critical

 A recent automotive consumer study by Deloitte showed that 64 per cent of Gen Y Indians planning to buy a car in the next five years have indicated ‘connectivity’ as one of the most important features they would look for.

This is a staggering number and while the term ‘connected car’ is the new buzzword in the automotive world, only a small percentage of consumers are familiar with what it actually means. Most people spend their time in three spaces - home, office and outdoors - and transit between each of them by a mode of transport which is the fourth space.

Game changer Owing to hectic lifestyles, these people are largely on the move. However, regardless of which space they occupy at any point of time, there is a need to always stay connected. It could be something as simple as streaming music from the Internet in the car while driving or accessing real-time traffic data to choose the right route.

Connected car technologies seamlessly connect the four spaces that we operate in. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But how does this impact our lifestyle? Here are some ways in which the connected car is set to revolutionise driving.

A lot of productive time is wasted on commute. A connected car will allow its occupant to make conference calls, notify the office when running late and also give him/her the option of dictating emails while driving. The occupant can also receive real time traffic information, find a vacant parking spot or locate the nearest gas station.

Imagine you are driving back home after a long and exhausting day and all you want is a hot shower and a cup of strong coffee when you get back. If your vehicle is connected to your home network, you can switch on the geyser and coffee maker while in your car. You can also command your garage door to open/close without getting out of the car, turn on the lights at home and check remotely if it is secure.

You can also connect ‘cars to cars’ or ‘cars to infrastructure’ to avert potential road accidents. If a car has broken down, an approaching vehicle receives a warning. The car can also be informed of road hazards like an oil spill or a possible collision in case their trajectories intersect. In case of an accident, the car can call the nearest hospital and send them your location via GPS.

The car is increasingly becoming an extension of oneself. It can be unlocked using biometrics or through facial recognition. A car can learn user behaviour/preferences and configure the driver’s seat, mirrors, and entertainment systems. It can even recognise family members and individually configure seats, AC vents etc according to each one’s preference.

Since connected cars rely on software, new systems will ensure they stay future proof over air updates. What this means is that every piece of software in a car is updated reliably, securely and in real time. In effect, your car will get smarter and safer with time as and when new technologies are introduced.

All this is achieved using multilayer security architecture built into the system to ensure that all connections to the external world and software downloads are inherently cyber-secure. It is of paramount importance to ensure that the driver is not distracted while interacting with these systems. Various mechanisms like natural language speech interface, heads-up display, steering wheel buttons and touch-pads, gesture and proximity controls will make interaction more intuitive.

The writer is Director, Corporate Technology Group, Harman India

Published on January 22, 2018

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