Vehicle Connectivity Trends – What’s Driving Our Obsession with Connected Vehicles?
February 7, 2019
The road to full connectivity and the fully-autonomous vehicle may seem a long one, but connectivity is clearly fueling the future of the automotive industry, driving change.
As with most industries, data is central to modern evolution, and the automotive data economy is growing into a sector of its own. Big Data investments in the automotive industry accounted for more than £3.3 billion in 2018, and with automotive OEMs, parts suppliers, insurers, dealerships and other keen investors, this is expected to continue growing 16% YOY over the next three years.
The data that is collected, interpreted and leveraged will not only enhance the purchasing, driving experience, and maintenance of vehicles, but combined with smart telematics and cloud technology, will transform the entire automotive industry into one of automation and self-sufficiency.
But what exactly are the everyday applications of connectivity, and who is expected to benefit the most from these?
If we’re talking about vehicle-powered data and connectivity, then let’s think of vehicles as devices. The automobile is becoming mobile in every sense. Therefore, connected cars need to offer experiences that mirror those on a mobile device – think voice control, social media, movies, and music. In-car infotainment technology is expected to generate $15 billion in sales by 2021, up from $7 billion in 2016, and investment into in-car technology has meant major advancement in the quality and diversity of the market.
A study by JD Power showed that the number of reported problems with in-car audio, communication, entertainment, and navigation technologies decreased three years in a row to 2018, and manufacturers continue to invest in this area to differentiate from competition, including Audi’s immersive movie experience. Whilst many of these innovations are reserved for the premium end of the market, it’s a matter of time before they become affordable, and seen in every new vehicle. Data connectivity – like fuel economy – will become a key purchase consideration.
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology will provide far more accurate, current, and personalised navigation information than is currently available. It is expected that all new cars on the road will have V2V technology installed by 2023. Instead of today’s centralised navigation systems, vehicles will communicate with each other, making smart decisions through data gathered from other vehicles’ speeds and journey times, plus road conditions and weather. Optimised navigation is expected to significantly reduce congestion and collisions, and reduce the automotive carbon footprint.
B2B distributors and fleet operators can utilise data to gain valuable insight into driving behaviour and vehicle performance, whilst being able to provide real-time updates to customers. Predictive maintenance will be hugely beneficial, with vehicles monitored for faults, automatically generating proactive maintenance notifications, which will reduce unplanned maintenance and unexpected vehicle downtime.
In-cab data will allow fleet managers to accurately assess driver performance and behaviour to identify training needs, monitor wellbeing and provide alerts about route choice or vehicle problems. Automated logging will save hours of administration time, and smart, connected loading and unloading means drivers spend less time stock-checking and more time on the road, shortening delivery times and improving customer experience.
Safety & security
Many cars on our roads today already have integrated sensors to monitor and regulate a car’s operation, with smart ignition, brakes, and transmission systems. Examples such as LiDAR, radar, cameras and ultrasonics are making our journeys safer, and connectivity with cloud technologies will only increase their intelligence.
Connected vehicles will become harder to steal. Facial recognition is expected to replace the key. In the event of a vehicle being stolen, telematics will easily be able to trace its location, and cut off power.
Predictive vehicle maintenance and predictive intelligence will be driven by data gathered from repair trends from other cars and similar parts, driving behavior, and vehicle sensors. The global market for predictive maintenance is expected to grow by 20 to 40% per year, reaching £8.5 billion by 2022. The benefits are huge, not just in terms of reducing potential part failure and resultant breakdowns (or worse, accidents).
OEMs, manufacturers and aftermarket dealers are already trying to harvest this data, to get ahead of the game and start tapping into what will be a huge market. Imagine being able to offer customers a spare part or service before they know they need it. More data on part failure allows better insights and improvements for parts of the future, which will in-turn benefit consumers due to more reliable parts at more competitive prices.
Whilst the general perception of autonomous vehicles is that they are a futuristic luxury, seen as gimmicky PR stunts for car manufacturers, the reality is that we’re not far from seeing these vehicles on our roads. It’s expected this market will explode globally over the next decade, growing by around 40% yearly to reach an estimated £430 billion by 2026.
With 94% of fatal accidents due to human error, safety is the obvious benefit. Although many are skeptical about the reliability of self-driving vehicles, they frankly will not be released into the mainstream until they are 99.99% safe. Aut0nomous vehicles are expected to reduce collisions by more than 90% and, in the event of an accident, automatic collision notification will notify authorities and further reduce casualties.
The technology is also expected to significantly reduce congestion, eliminating ‘stop-and-go’ traffic, reducing lane sizes and increasing road capacity. Plus, autonomous vehicles provide a safe, convenient alternative to taxis, particularly beneficial for last mile services (connections to public transportation), as well as seniors and people with disabilities who are unable to drive. Optimised driving efficiency, along with reduced congestion, will have hugely positive benefits in terms of reducing fuel consumption.
Smart boxes and dash cams are already making steps in the right direction, providing cost benefits of tailored insurance plans by proving good driver behaviour to insurance providers. But smarter, connected records of driver behavior will continue to reap rewards for smart drivers, with further data regarding mileage, driving conditions, mobile usage and other metrics providing far more accurate and dynamic insurance premiums.