The way we interact with our cars is evolving quickly. The world is becoming a smarter, more connected place. From our work to our homes, every touchpoint is being influenced by wifi, 4G, 5G, Bluetooth — and that’s before we layer on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology which is soon going to be part of our everyday lives.
Thanks to advancements in connected car technology and large investments by the automotive industry, digital innovation is not only transforming every aspect of buying, owning or renting a car, it’s also changing how we view our relationship with the car and the time we spend travelling in it.
The Digital Revolution in Automotive
More and more car buyers are making purchasing decisions online, rather than in a dealership. The internet gives buyers as much information as they could want about every car that exists, including 360-degree virtual tours and reviews from drivers. They can even complete their purchase online.
However, people still prefer to buy from dealerships — for now. But the pace of technological change means that dealerships have to embrace the digital revolution that is driving this new customer behaviour.
Connected car technologies from companies such as Bright Box Remoto can support the digital transformation of dealerships and help drivers get the best from their cars. By using real-time data collected from the car, dealerships can provide superior customer service and drive incremental sales and revenues, all via an easy-to-use app, to significantly increase customer lifetime value. Car dealerships get to understand their customers better and ensure they anticipate their changing needs over the lifetime of the car. That ranges from discussing and arranging car finance, insurance assistance, vehicle registration and or extra connectivity features.
In fact, one connected car can generate higher revenues over its lifecycle than 10 non-connected cars, according to KPMG’s Global Automotive Executive Summary.
Benefits For Drivers
All this new technology and powerful connected car platforms brings many benefits for car owners. From making the in-car experience more enjoyable for passengers, to reducing the likelihood of accidents.
Nowadays, people spend a lot of hours driving and enjoy having additional services in their cars that make their lives easier. They want to have special entertainment apps in their cars which integrate their social media and media centers. When passengers can stream movies onto their devices over the in-car wi-fi, rather than having to endure the driver’s music choice, that has to be an improvement!
People also want features such as driver assistance, alerts for hazards or weather conditions and warnings about potential collisions. Plus everyone needs navigation information when driving in an unknown area and benefits from being informed about how to avoid traffic jams, leading to smaller queues and faster journeys, which is less stressful for the driver and better for the environment.
And, in the Middle East, Bright Box has seen just how much customers enjoy their remote car control feature so they can start the vehicle and adjust the air conditioning before entering the car when temperatures reach over 40 degrees centigrade!
Digital self-diagnostic systems let you know when it’s time for a service. It can even tell you when it’s time to pump up your tyres. AI technology collates data from your car and compares it to what is happening with other drivers’ connected cars to predict when your car parts are about to need replacing. Self-diagnostic maintenance helps drivers save money, identifying small problems before they become large ones. It also helps prevent accidents due to malfunctioning parts.
Finally, the voice-controlled smart devices we love to use in the home are now available for the car. Apple’s CarPlay brought Siri into the car in 2014. Google’s in-car Android system allows for voice-control for Google searches. This year, Amazon is releasing the Echo Auto,a voice-controlled speaker for your car. It brings all the functionality of Alexa into the car, piggybacking on your car’s wi-fi, or your phone’s mobile connection.
Challenges in the future
As well as benefits, the advancement of in-car technology throws up challenges for the auto sector to solve.
Most of the controversy over the integration of digital into cars is around data security. When you drive a connected car, you produce a large amount of data. This data records where and when you drive, the routes you take, even what you listen to. This data helps car companies improve their products and the way they market to you.
Some people are unwilling to provide their personal data to any company, whilst others are not concerned at all where their data goes. Perhaps consumers should be given an option whether to share their data and with who. For example, they might be happy to share information about their driving style with insurance companies, to benefit from cheaper premiums, but not prepared to share it with ecommerce or social media companies.
Keeping this data secure is of paramount importance. The industry is continually innovating to make sure drivers’ data never falls into the wrong hands. Bright Box ensures that the data it collects is completely independent,cannot be compromised and does not accept any unauthorised types of commands. The driver is thus always safe because Bright Box makes them invulnerable to scenarios involving the vehicle’s system being hacked remotely.
The logical next step for autotech is the self-driving car. Tech giants such as Google and Tesla are investing billions into developing autonomous driving technology. Smart cities like Dubai are already installing infrastructure to send and receive signals from self-driving cars. This throws up a whole new set of challenges. Will they be safe? How will the roads cope when some vehicles are driven by humans and others by robots? In the meantime, connected car platforms, like Bright Box’s Remoto, are an easy way of embracing the latest autotech, whilst still maintaining driving control.
The digital transformation keeps on coming! The introduction of 5G wireless connections will have a huge impact on the auto sector, especially on the development of autonomous driving. For example, people will be able to work or watch a movie whilst on the road, knowing that their autonomous vehicle is driving safely. AVs will be communicating with other vehicles, traffic planning systems and have instant access to traffic information as well as road and weather conditions.
As part of our future on the roads we can also look forward to Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) connectivity, V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) and V2P (vehicle-to-personal) communications which‘will lead to a safer, more efficient and more comfortable future mobility. It is an inevitable requirement for the long-term vision towards accident free and highly automated driving.’ according to the Car2Car Communication Consortium.
To conclude, the digital transformation of the automotive sector brings benefits to the automotive industry, helping them manage their supply chains, connect with and understand their customers better and improve their sales and marketing activities.
But it’s the drivers who will benefit most, able to enjoy their time in their car much more, knowing that the majority of technical issues are being monitored and that once autonomous vehicles come into play, they’ll be able to take their hands off the wheel completely and just enjoy the journey.