Hello and welcome to another ChargeSmart blog. Today we will be taking a look at a new generation of cars. Connected cars are the way of the future but just how much tech is available today and what are companies working on for tomorrow? Let's find out!
What are connected cars?
Connected cars are part of a system called the 'internet of things' through which regular items are connected to the internet. The whole idea behind this is to make life easier. For example, you could have a smart fridge that sends you reminder to get milk when the milk is low! In a similar way, a connected car can connect to your smart devices and give you access to real time information like traffic updates and the news. The connected car will be connected to the internet by itself and not through your phone, that's the main difference. So you could start your car remotely to warm it up or flash your headlights or even scare pedestrians by tooting the horn.
The current state of connected cars
Connected cars are already among us in some way. Most new cars like those from Mercedes Benz, BMW and Ford already have voice activated assistants that could help you find nearby restaurants, fuel stations and such provided that the system can pick up your accent. The latest Mercedes Benz UX system will even give you Yelp! restaurant reviews if you're the picky type. These systems can also alert and book a service for you when needed. Jaguar-Land Rover cars even have an SOS button that will connect you with emergency services in the event of an accident. The EU has already made it mandatory for cars to notify local police in the event of an accident. The on board GPS allows the police to quickly locate the car, something like this could save countless amount of lives every year.
There's the safety benefits of connected cars but then there's also the fun side of it. If you've ever run out of data before the end of the month then you'll know what a pain it is to get your mates to hotspot you. That's if they still have data as well. Those days are gone because you could now connect to your car's hotspot. How cool is that! Not so cool if you're driving because then you shouldn't really be using the hotspot. BMW also uses a technology where every driver has their own profile on a phone. The phone is then used to unlock the car which recognizes the profile and configures drive modes, suspension, radio and seating to that profile's preferences. Another example of the magic of connected cars.
Connected tech in EVs
All the stuff that we've just talked about refers to fossil fuel cars but EVs are even smarter! EVs already have a system where the car will give your updates on your battery's performance and the time needed to charge. Higher end EVs like the award winning Jaguar I-Pace have preconditioning systems on board where the driver can 'warm up' the battery before a long trip or set a a cabin temperature so when they hop in, the car is ready to go and the temperature is pleasant. All this can be controlled through your phone, wherever you are. Now that's cool!
While the Jag is filled with connected tech, Tesla beats everyone else when it comes to this. Everything in a Tesla is controlled through that massive screen so the system has to be a good one. Musk has also announced plans to allow drivers to link their Youtube, Netflix and Spotify accounts to the infotainment system while the car is stopped of course. Tesla are also working with game studios to create games for their systems along with a 'caraoke' where drivers can sing along to a whole bank of songs. Musk wants the Tesla infotainment system to provide "the most fun one can have in a car", this connected tech has left other automakers miles behind Tesla. The whole point behind this is that smartphones have become irreplaceable in the lives of consumers and so they want other appliances and vehicles to reflect the same eras. Hence the reason why Volvo announced their partnership with Google for infotainment systems in their upcoming recharge line of EV vehicles.