5 Handy Connectivity Apps | European fleet
Connectivity is one of four automotive disruptors, alongside electrification, sharing and autonomous driving. The bits and bytes behind this revolution are meant to improve the customer experience for digitally savvy drivers and create new business models for OEMs investing in data monetization. Let’s look at the typology of connectivity alongside five cutting-edge technologies already available in today’s cars that are setting the tone for tomorrow.
Connecting cars to the outside world means many features that previously had nothing to do with cars or mobility seep in. Therefore, the range of connectivity applications has become as wide as you can imagine. It starts with accessing email on the infotainment screen, paying with a biometric device on the dashboard, tracking your mileage for user-based insurance rates or getting of your vehicle to the highest level of autonomy. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next big thing.
Since the connected car requires computer science, and much of it, OEMs are partnering with third parties that specialize in data collection and cloud-based computing. Big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Foxconn are gearing up and getting the customer inside the pilots with a myriad of smaller startups. And the customer? They mainly expect a seamless experience between app and device – or service and car – like on their smartphones.
Broadly, OEMs classify connectivity into three types of applications:
- Customer-centric and general: think drive-in delivery, where you can remotely open the trunk for a courier or fill your tub with a voice command to Alexa from inside the car. It is the outside world that enters the vehicle.
- Customer orientation and mobility: here you will find everything from telematics tracking of driver behavior to location-based services, giving OEMs the ability to team up with, for example, retailers and distribute discounts on often traveled routes. In this category also belong car applications as payment or mobility.
- Vehicle-centric: these services are directly linked to the vehicle and cover everything from predictive maintenance to upgrading your car with new options over the air, to fleet management systems or personalized insurance.
Now let’s shine the spotlight on some real-world apps pushing the boundaries of connectivity.
A navigation-based link connects the vehicle to the applicable legislative constraints in the immediate vicinity. For example, when a plug-in hybrid enters a designated zero-emissions zone, the car can automatically switch to electric drive by recognition. Kia is incorporating this technology called Greenzone Drive Mode into the latest hybrid versions of the Niro, where designated zones can be stored personally by the owner.
Ford runs a driver on geofencing tied to speed limits, automatically adjusting the top speed to what’s legally allowed. Some premium car brands also use this technology to adjust the shifting patterns of the gearbox to the course of the road.
Over-the-air updates are becoming more and more popular, but there is still a long way to go. Now being introduced by premium brands like Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Polestar, etc., customers can activate hardware and software options after purchase, also by subscription on a periodic agreement.
Tesla has begun the use and monetization of over-the-air updates which will play a vital role in the years to come due to its ability to retrofit older vehicles with newer software versions for (semi-)autonomous driving .
3. VEHICLE TO THE NETWORK
One of the most promising connectivity services connects electric cars to the home grid, turning them into powerhouses. As such, they help to intelligently balance the right power at the right time, reducing peak times and supplying electricity as a supplier, thus becoming cash generators.
Several projects are underway with the Nissan Leaf, Ioniq 5 and BMW i3, among others, but Volkswagen will be the first to bring the technology to customers with the ID. scope by the end of 2022. Further advancements in big data collection remain a prerequisite for feature optimization.
4. TEST INTELLIGENCE
Imagine a flock of birds simultaneously changing direction in the sky, while constantly moving. Vehicles connected to a LAN network can behave accordingly on the highway, always ensuring a minimum distance from each other and reacting to previously detected obstacles to ensure optimal safety.
Among broader applications, this self-learning system can also be connected to maintenance workers and inform them more quickly of road wear and dangerous infrastructure.
5. CAR AS PAYMENT
Eventually, cars themselves will become payment methods like wearables. Credit card company VISA has already partnered with Honda and Mercedes for in-car commerce, where beacons at fuel pumps or parking lots automatically detect the car and help select the type of service (amount of fuel, etc.) .) on the infotainment screen with automatic payment made later. Upgrading these concepts to road, tunnel and ferry tolling will facilitate the billing process for managing commercial and corporate fleets.
With seemingly endless connectivity possibilities around the corner, automakers will need to invest in partnerships or startups, from service providers to cybersecurity, to take advantage of these new resources as our cars become increasingly self-driving. . But fleet organizations must also consider the impact of this evolution, as it serves to protect their assets, improves user experience and leads to cost reductions.
Image source: Bosch