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Connected cars: Ten companies using the Internet of Things to improve driving experience

Connected cars are becoming an ever-more ubiquitous and lucrative market with drivers keen to own a vehicle with an internet connection, allowing for enhanced security and entertainment as well as other features like remote activation

Connected cars have benefited from increasingly sophisticated technology developed over recent years, leading to a boost in production commensurate with the growth in consumer demand.

The global connected car market was valued at $72.9bn (£52.3bn) last year and is projected to reach $219.2 (£169bn) by 2025, according to research company Technavio’s Global Connected Car Market 2018-2022 report.

It’s no surprise, given the advantages the vehicles offer over conventional motors.

Using an internet connection, they can communicate and transmit data between each other as well as various Internet of Things (IoT) devices in their immediate vicinity such as smart phones.

This provides enhanced safety as the vehicle can warn the driver of potential hazards on the road in addition to any issues with the car itself, and allows for more advanced infotainment systems and driver assistance programmes.

To coincide with the release of the report, Technavio has complied a list of the top ten companies working on connected cars right now.

 

Connected cars: General Motors

General Motors pioneered the connected car market 20 years ago when it launched OnStar, its subscription-based subsidiary which provides communications, security, hands-free calling and remote diagnostics systems.

It acted as a necessary foundation for the industry, enabling other automakers such as Chevrolet, Cadillac and Vauxhall to build their own technology features across a wide range of vehicles.

Now, General Motors delivers connected car services in four continents and 18 countries, with more than a billion customer interactions.

 

Connected cars: Jaguar Land Rover

InControl is Jaguar Land Rover’s addition to its in-car entertainment system built in collaboration with US smart tech start-up Tile.

connected cars
Jaguar Land Rover’s existing in-car system can detect potential hazards on the road

It allows drivers to compile a list of “Tile essentials” – specific items likes wallets and house keys that they do not want to leave behind before a drive, with a notification reminder system built into a touch screen on hand should they forget anything.

 

Connected cars: BMW

Introduced in 2008 at the Geneva Motor Show, BMW ConnectedDrive is a web browser built into a car’s infotainment system.

Since its launch, it has been updated with multiple new features including smartphone integration, calendar synchronisation, heads-up displays, traffic information, active cruise control and even night vision.

The system came under scrutiny in 2015 when motoring association General German Automobile Club (ADAC) uncovered security flaws with the web browser, which left the vehicle vulnerable to attack from cyber hackers.

BMW released a security update, automatically installed via the internet, and flaws involving unauthorised access have since been identified.

 

Connected cars: Audi

Audi Connect is designed to maximise security by minimising driver distraction on the road.

To achieve this, its functions automatically adapt to the situation in the vehicle so as to allow the driver to concentrate fully in critical moments.

Music streaming services and regularly updated navigation data are also included in the system, which includes a smartphone app that allows users to personalise its assorted features.

 

Connected cars: Mercedes-Benz

Accessible via mobile, tablet or PC, Mercedes me offers a range of online services geared towards augmenting the existing Mercedes-Benz experience, which focuses on luxury and ease.

Features include remote parking assist, vehicle set-up, concierge service, live traffic information and vehicle monitoring as part of an effort to reduce the strain on the driver.

 

Connected cars: Tesla

Wherever you find a new technological automotive frontier, you’ll likely find Tesla, and the connected car industry is no different.

The electric vehicle manufacturer‘s infotainment system lets users monitor energy consumption, and provides a web browser, navigation media and a voice-controlled phone.

Tesla also partnered with telecom giant AT&T’s North American division in 2013 in order to use its data network for carrying vehicle navigation, diagnostics, weather, traffic reports, web browsing and more.

 

Connected cars: Nissan

Nissan Connect combines navigation, security and entertainment with a dashboard-mounted system aimed at keeping the user perpetually connected to their car.

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Nissan’s dashboard-mounted system allows for simplified driver control

It allows for wireless music streaming, remote start via a smartphone and the ability to lock and unlock the doors using voice activation with Amazon Alexa.

 

Connected cars: Volkswagen

In a bid to digitise the automotive industry, Volkswagen’s Car-Net apps and services provide everything from maps, music and hand-free calls to text message dictation and an SOS call feature that contacts emergency services if the driver can’t.

Other applications include a GoPro camera connected via an app to allow drivers to monitor backseat troublemakers, as well as remote heating and cooling features that allows users to adjust the temperature of their vehicle before entering it.

 

Connected cars: Volvo

Volvo’s infotainment system Sensus Connect provides information, entertainment and functions designed to simplify the driver’s experience.

Cloud-based integration, 3D maps, local search functions and the ability to send destination instructions to the car remotely serve to make navigation easier.

The system comes with built-in USB connectors, wireless connectivity via Bluetooth and broadband technology.

 

Connected cars: Porsche

Porsche Connect seeks to make the driver’s life easier by offering features that enable in-depth journey-planning.

 

The system also includes the Porsche Communication Management application, which provides various in-car entertainment services.

Its Navigation Plus feature also alerts the driver to upcoming appointments and provides real-time traffic information to help them avoid congestion.