Open Road

What is a "connected car" and how will it impact driving?

Connected cars will change the automotive landscape as soon as 2020. But what exactly is a connected car and will they change our lives for the better?

A car that is ‘connected’ will have access to the internet and the ability to connect with other devices both inside and outside the vehicle. We asked Jamie Boone, Senior Director of government affairs at the Consumer Technology Association, to share her thoughts on the technology and what it means for the future of driving.

Connected and self-driving technologies are not mutually exclusive conversations,” she told us.

However, changing a potentially hazardous, manual activity like driving and relying solely on technology always raises an eyebrow or two. Boone reassures: “When cars can ‘talk’ to each other and the roadways, they can share information that will increase safety and prevent accidents. Imagine if a vehicle comes across an accident or a patch of ice—it can warn all the other vehicles around it, preventing a pileup or other accidents.”

In our previous post, talking about the future of head-up displays and augmented reality, Brad Berman noted that automation “means we need stimulation to prevent us from simply nodding off, and advanced augmented reality technology may be one solution to achieve that.” By keeping drivers engaged with AR, they remain alert and can respond if they need to take over driving.

Making driving something you look forward to is a mission of ours at Navdy, and driverless technology will enable us to continue doing that, albeit in an all-new way. Boone says: “With these safety controls, driving can become even more of a leisure-focused activity. Once vehicles become totally self-driving, humans will want to take full advantage of their new independence and cars will be designed for lifestyles. Cars could be designed for work, for rest, for entertainment—the options are limitless.”

Those who have been previously limited by accessibility will also have a new lease of life: “Creating new mobility opportunities for the elderly and people with disabilities is a motivating factor driving consumers’ acceptance of self-driving cars,” Boone states. A recent CTA survey found that nearly two-thirds of consumers are ready to swap in their current cars for self-driving models.

“Technology has become a deciding factor for car buyers and that’s why almost all drivers (93 percent) who are already using existing driver-assist features such as parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and collision avoidance appreciate the usefulness of these driving technology innovations,” Boone says.

However, despite the positive responses, the change to connected cars will not happen overnight. “The average age of a vehicle on the road today is 11 years old; it will take a long time for the entire vehicle fleet to turn over,” she continues.

Drivers, though, don’t have to wait. “The aftermarket is bringing life-saving technology into the hands of consumers,” Boones states. “While the number of new vehicles with connected and automated technology will increase, the ability for drivers to incorporate some of these benefits and technologies into their current vehicle is essential to cutting roadway deaths.”

Although it will take time before all cars are connected, it’s likely that it will become a reality. With cars being able to “see” and take control of driving, the future of automotive will look like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Photo via Intel

Navdy Staff

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