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Teaching Your Old Car New Tricks: Implementing IoT Technology

Since Ford brought us the assembly line, technology has always been the foundation of the automobile’s evolution. Technology helped create faster, cleaner engines. It made cars safer for drivers and pedestrians. IoT for cars is also making cars last longer than ever before.

In 1970, vehicles typically wouldn’t run more than 100,000 miles (that explains why odometers reset to zero after 99,999 miles). In 2017, the average automobile is expected to keep running for 15 years. A result of not only the advanced materials used to build vehicles but also the computerized technology used to more efficiently maintain and service cars.

And, for the last quarter century, technology has been making a more prominent presence within vehicles. The early years of telematics connected cars to emergency responders. Today’s Internet of Things (IoT) has created new scenarios for consumers, municipalities, regulators, pedestrians, and of course, for the car industry overall. 

couple driving with IoT for cars

Consumers benefit from in-vehicle content and services, and IoT for cars makes their rides more entertaining and even productive. Smart navigation that offers location-based services and other features are getting drivers to their destinations faster. And, safety features that warn drivers of external hazards and autonomous internal responses to hazards are keeping drivers, passengers and pedestrians safer than ever before.

Consumer demand for convenient, connected features, including advanced navigation, remote diagnostics, and multimedia streaming will contribute to the globally connected car market growth to reach $219.21 billion by 2025, a CAGR of 14.8% from 2017 to 2025.

However, it’s not just consumers that will affect this growth. Regulators also play a role. As automobiles become computers on wheels, carrying more than 100 million lines of code that can process up to 25GB of data in an hour, governments are considering regulations regarding safety and cybersecurity. These regulations will be particularly crucial as vehicles begin connecting to smart city infrastructures as well as more autonomous cars hit city streets.

The anticipation of such future technology also signals a problem for automakers. Purchasing a new vehicle is an expensive way to access the latest connected car technology. Plus, built-in technology requires auto manufacturers to develop formal, legal alliances and partnerships with technology providers, which can be a slow process.

To address this gap, hardware tech companies are creating add-on devices that drivers can use to access connected car features even in older models.

  • Bringing AI onboard
    • As automakers work to bring Google and Amazon’s artificial intelligence assistants into connected car dashboards, a handset and companion app is now available that automatically loads Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and gives drivers access to voice functions, music control and more.
  • Connect your smartphone
    • New devices are now available that allow drivers to add Bluetooth functionality to their cars. With this connection, drivers can now comfortably take phone calls, access music, maps, and other apps loaded on their smartphones while in the car.
  • Smarter diagnostics
    • Drivers can now plug an external device into their car’s diagnostic port to access data from the vehicle’s onboard computer. Once they do, they can obtain information about their vehicle’s fuel efficiency, emergency services, and audio warnings. These features are especially helpful to new drivers as they learn to operate their cars on the road.
  • Improved entertainment
    • There are plenty of aftermarket car entertainment devices available today. With these devices, drivers of older cars can enjoy Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, accessing its infotainment features, phone functionality, and voice commands.

Referenced sources:

Other sources:

Case Study: IoT is redefining the customer experience. Nokia case study.

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