Cars Are Barreling Towards An Internet of Things Future

Stephan Otto
Dec 14, 2016 · 3 min read

A lot of people already consider their cars to be the center of their lives but this statement is set to be truer than ever before in the upcoming few years. The car is going through a digital revolution and fast becoming another seamless continuation of the IoT that is surrounding us.

Already, cars like Tesla are able to ‘update’ themselves overnight and adjust the driving parameters, add safety features, change the software on the entertainment panel and much more. This is absolutely incredible to people that are used to buying a car and then having to just live with it.

Companies like Apple and Google are building software for the cars that will let users plug in their phones and instantly find all their information through an interface that they recognize. Technology companies are also working with car makers to make more such seamless integration possible.

The company making the most headway in this space is actually Amazon. The online retail giant has had huge success with its wireless speaker housing its AI assistant, Alexa. Since Amazon does not have the advantage of selling a huge number of hardware devices like Apple or Google, it is relying on third party integration to be able to make Alexa more useful and have it everywhere that users might need it to be.

One such partnership of Alexa with BMW now allows users to be able to check the amount of gas they have left in their tank, check tire pressure and even when their battery needs a replacement just by asking Alexa on their phone.

Ford is also planning to do the same thing with its cars and introduce Alexa into the Escape and Fusion Models before the end of the year. Ford leadership imagines scenarios like shared shopping lists between a household can be shared directly to the car and make life easier for everyone involved.

Car makers were focused on emergency services and basic communication as technology suites to be added into their offerings a few years back, now it is all about integration with existing devices and providing access to all the information you need. And the future will be about the completion of further tasks with the help of autonomous driving.

Envisage a scenario where your car drives to a wireless charging station on its own whenever it is running out of juice, is able to calculate the best driving routes based on the information it gets from your calendar and drives you to your appointments on its own.

All of this is only possible when the car is fully plugged into the IoT, a process which is happening right now and the above scenario might begin to feel routine less than a decade from now.

There are a few impediments to all of this seamless connectivity, the chief among them being that every car maker is working on software that does not communicate with others. There is no standard to which everyone can conform. Of course, the fact that many of these companies have little or no experience in writing complex pieces of software, maintaining and then, more importantly, securing them in the long term is also something to be wary of.

However, an ever increasing scope of partnerships with technology companies and a shift towards the carmakers that adopt this technology will lead to the arrival of industry standards and further accelerate this change.



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