There is no doubt that the connected car is here to stay. Equipped with an Internet connection, mobile apps, and more, connected cars allow drivers to interact with their vehicle, their environment, and third-party services. Just like so many technological advancements before it, some uncertainty and fear accompany connected car adoption. Remember moving from phone to fax, fax to email, or even online shopping? Security and value were always questions that arose during those early adoption days. Yet those technologies are now indispensable in our everyday lives – and connected cars will be, too.
Even at the Computer Electronics Show (CES) this past month, the future of auto was an oft-discussed topic. Autonomous cars are at the top of the list, of course, but with many still in the early phase of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), today’s connected cars are a stepping stone to a better driving experience that many consumers are starting to experience.
If you’ve purchased a car recently, you’ve likely been offered an extended warranty and given many reasons why it is now more important than ever: you’re really driving a remarkably sophisticated computer.
With all the technological advances manufacturers are including, all new cars are technically connected cars. While the days of old offered us a connection to OnStar as early as the 1990s, our cars are now driveable computers, not only connected to the Internet, but also even offering their own Wi-Fi. Connections to real-time weather, road conditions, traffic, and many other features make us feel safer than ever.
With estimates that 75 percent of cars shipped globally will be built with connected capabilities by 2020, connected cars are growing at a rate 10 times as fast as the overall car market. In the near future, consumers will find they have few choices other than to adopt connected vehicle technologies. And why wouldn’t you want to? The benefits for the driver are unprecedented.
Four key reasons to embrace the connected car in 2018
- Safety and security – More and more new cars are coming equipped with sensors that help prevent accidents, such as lane departure warning (LDW), lane keeping assist (LKA), lane change alert, blind zone alerts, forward collision alert, and automatic braking that alerts the driver that a front-end collision is imminent, whether with a vehicle or a pedestrian.
In addition, connected cars backed by advanced telematics solutions have the ability to instantly detect and report a crash to first responders and insurance companies who can help consumers in crash situations. Data analytics are critical to understanding what happened – and determining liability – as the automotive industry evolves. Telematics can also help with safer routes, giving drivers peace of mind when driving in unfamiliar territory.
- Better drivers and safer roads – Not only can cars provide front and rear park assistance, some can even self-park. Telematics monitors driver behavior and provides a score to both insurers and drivers, allowing them to understand their own habits and how to improve the more dangerous ones, such as distracted driving, hard cornering, or speeding. With telematics providing feedback to drivers on their overall driving habits, they learn to practice safer driving – less hard braking, less tailgating, etc.
Auto manufacturers also see potential to make the roads a safer place. They are releasing vehicle safety systems that allow vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) connections to avoid crashes and reduce severity. According to the Department of Transportation, V2V and V2I applications notify drivers of “roadway hazards and dangerous situations that they can’t see through driver advisories, driver warnings, and vehicle and/or infrastructure controls.”
- Cost savings and convenience – Insurance telematics solutions monitor driver behavior, which is then analyzed and used for rate-making as part of usage-based insurance programs, rewarding safer drivers with lower premiums. Telematics helps insurers more accurately price risk based on individual driving behavior, rather than pooling drivers based on risk proxies such as gender, education level, or credit scores. Crash detection and instant first notice of loss (FNOL) are both critical new capabilities enabled by connected cars and telematics. By detecting when a crash occurs, insurers or other providers can dispatch emergency services or roadside assistance to the scene of the accident to help improve driver safety and peace of mind. Insurers benefit from this data as they can realize significant cost savings in the claims process through objective data and faster claims cycle times.
- Car health – Connected cars can monitor the health of a vehicle, report on diagnostic trouble codes, and alert drivers to maintenance needs, curtailing breakdowns and accidents. Fuel efficiency, preventive maintenance, tire and brake health, fluid alerts, and more are taken to a new level with telematics. Connected cars can tie into a service plan with preferred dealers and create an appointment with just one touch of a screen. Dealers can carry out remote diagnostics through the vehicle in advance of a visit, decreasing customer wait time in-house and increasing efficiency of service.
Clearly, the future of the connected car is today, and consumers and auto manufacturers are harnessing the power of these advancements to make safer drivers and safer roads a reality.
Nino Tarantino is CEO of Octo North America, a leading provider of advanced telematics and services to the automotive and insurance industries. Nino is also Board Director of the Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA), a non-profit business league established to facilitate the interaction of the entities involved in the vehicle communication environment. He is a frequent speaker at industry events on subjects such as crash and claims management, insurance technology, telematics ,and UBI. Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ninotarantino.