Cars of the future: connectivity with safety?

12.00 | 12 February 2013 | | 3 comments

Vehicle manufacturers are hoping that the technology regularly found on smartphones could change the way we use our cars in the future, according to a BBC News report.

The report focuses on the technological developments that cars of the not-too-distant future may include, and how billions of pounds are already being spent on the “connected car”. This may result in the “app-culture” infiltrating the dashboard – from a parking space finder, to getting coupons for local restaurants, or directions that can pop up on the windscreen.

For this to be achieved, cars will need to be connected to the internet. But, according to Intel, the connected car is already the third fastest growing technological device after phones and tablets.

Jack Bergquist, from the information company IHS, said: “Ford has categorically stated that this is selling more cars for them. Over 50% of consumers would be swayed by the presence of an internet-capable device. By the end of 2014, for some of the bigger brands, every vehicle they sell will offer some sort of connectivity.

“If you look at a cost to design a completely new car model, some companies are spending around a third of the budget just on the in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) and the in-car technology around the system.”

However, John Ellis, global technologist for connected services and solutions at Ford, warned of potential safety implications.

He said: “The danger is safety. You could get caught up in your experience and forget that you’re driving. Better, faster cheaper is what consumers want – but with safety.”

Safety concerns are being addressed with a mandatory sensor which calls emergency services in the event of an accident. Titled eCall, under EU plans, all new cars will be fitted with it by 2015.

The BBC News article concludes by saying that if these companies are right, it is only a matter of time before the car could directly compete with the phone and the tablet to become the biggest smart industry.

Click here to read the full BBC News report.


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    It pains me, as an electronic engineer, to write this, but it seems clear that electronic engineers (in particular) and their employers are losing touch with the real world. Time and time again they design things, that if needed at all, have no need to be anything like as complicated as they are. They do it because they can, not because it’s needed – think TV remote controls, think car dashboards, think most aspects of modern life.

    Idris Francis Fight Back with Facts Petersfield
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    I think that the car manufacturers should just concentrate on producing simple and easy to use vehicles without any form of interference/distractions caused by “technology”.

    Far too many drivers have relied on the false belief that modern “safety” devices will save them (and other road users) where the opposite is usually true.

    Phil, Kent
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    Lots to consider here and it will need careful thought and testing on a variety of drivers and circumstances. The “safety” item referred to is to call for help after an accident has occurred – not to prevent the collision happening!

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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