2Sync In-Car Connectivity
Ford Sync, developed with Microsoft, was an early answer to offering in-vehicle connectivity. Sync extends a smartphone’s connectivity to the car, enabling a driver to take advantage of features such as voice-activated navigation, calling, radio-tuning and music searching. Earlier this year, Ford extended the technology to cars in India.
3Connecting to Cars Remotely
4‘So Connected, You’re Free’
On Oct. 24, BMW launched a ConnectedDrive campaign with the tag line: “So connected, you’re free.” The idea is that, with all the in-car conveniences drivers have access to, people will have more time in their lives for the things that matter most to them. Pictured are some of the apps in the BMW app store. Eventually, each car maker will have its own store for apps designed specifically for their cars.
6Built-In AT&T 4G LTE
In February, at the Consumer Electronics Show, GM announced that its 2015 line of vehicles—Chevrolets, Buicks, GMCs and Cadillacs—for the United States and Canada will have in-vehicle LTE connectivity from AT&T. AT&T has also announced deals with BMW, Ford, Nissan and Tesla. (Shown here is the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe in Crystal Claret.)
7Nissan Autonomous Drive Technology
On Aug. 27, Nissan announced that it will have commercially viable Autonomous Drive vehicles in 2020. “Autonomous Drive … means less input from the driver; U.S. drivers average 48 minutes per day on the road—hundreds of hours a year could be used more productively,” Nissan said in its statement. Other manufacturers have emphasized that, when using self-driving technology, a driver should be ready to take the wheel at any moment.
8No Deaths in a Volvo
Because autonomous car technologies eliminate human input (and so human error), they’re expected to dramatically reduce crashes and car-related deaths. Volvo announced Oct. 7 that its “vision” is that by 2020, no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo. This image is from a video demonstration of a Volvo driving itself.
9Volvo’s Self-Driving Cars
Autonomous car technologies rely on radar or sensors to create a constantly evolving, real-time map of everything around a car, including jaywalkers. Sensors will also enable cars to communicate with things like traffic lights, emergency vehicles and other cars around them, in the name of safety and greater efficiencies. (No more sitting at a red light with not another car in sight.)
10Communicating Vehicles and Safety
Sensors and connectivity in cars provide tremendous opportunities—your car could tell you you’re not going to make it to the airport on time and book you a ticket on the next flight. But they also present security concerns. The Information Security Forum (ISF) has warned members about the potential for threats to valuable shipments being transported by road and high-value targets.
11Google’s Driverless Cars
Google’s driverless cars—about two dozen Lexus RX450h vehicles—have already driven 500,000-plus miles and haven’t caused a single accident (though one was rear-ended by an actual driver). Google points out that more than 1.2 million people are killed in traffic accidents each year. “Our main goal is to improve people’s lives by making driving safer, more enjoyable and more efficient,” a Google spokesperson told eWEEK.