Connected cars: what is it and are they safe?

The wireless technology and connectivity is making news out of Detroit because GM just announced that they will offer wireless connectivity in 15 vehicles. In addition GM CEO spoke at Boston College on the plans GM has around wireless and connected car application development.  The trends, features and safety concerns require extensive management by teams at the carriers and manufacturers.

The statistics outlined in the article show how the trends in wireless and car industry are crossing paths. Smartphone usage is up to 2.5 hours a day which exceeds the amount of time people spend in the vehicles. According to JD Power study two-thirds of people who buy a new car have a smartphone. GM sites that 80% say that connectivity “strongly influences” their car purchasing decisions. Smartphone penetration is well above 95% the wireless companies will develop and new ways to connect customers. This is adjacency move by the wireless carriers while the car manufacturers are enabling features to sell more cars.  The carriers are investing billions of dollars in their wireless infrastructure and the connected car is the next generation of products to utilize the technology. It requires strategic partnerships between industries and ongoing management. It is a strategic decision by the carriers and car companies that is of high importance to both industries. According to ABI Research, the percentage of new vehicles with factory-install telematics globally will increase from around 10% in 2011 to 53% in 2016.

Customer’s lives are digital and connected car is more than getting children watching movies in the back seat. The articles reference connected car but do not say what it means to have a connected car so it is worth mentioning some of the connected features.  There will be vehicle to vehicle connection to send an alert if someone is in an accident.  There will be connectivity exchanges about operational and safety data between vehicles and highway infrastructure to avoid accidents. Customers will be able to purchase music on the go from the console. The features and connectivity are extensive and project managers for the connected car test the features before it is released to the customer.

The experience in a connected car is hands free and the carriers and car manufacturers believe makes driving safer.  The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that proliferation of hands free devices in vehicles increase drivers distractions. As connected car reach the market there will be ongoing monitoring by project teams to investigate accidents related to distracted driving.

Questions: Is connectivity in your car influence your purchase decision? Does a connected car make the driver more or less distracted?


6 thoughts on “Connected cars: what is it and are they safe?

  1. This is a very interesting concept to make cars more connected, but in my opinion it raises more questions than it answers. One of the big questions in my head is the privacy question. There are so many concerns of the data that is collected by companies as a result of being connected. Also, the value of the information that would be available to drivers/passengers wouldn’t really give me much more information that I could obtain listening to the radio or pulling up Google Maps on my phone. I personally would not want to buy a connected car because of privacy and the usefulness of the information. In answer to your second question, I don’t think it makes a driver any more distracted than if they were to use their smartphone. It’s just on a slightly bigger screen!

    1. I think connectivity is the wave of the future. Although currently it doesn’t influence my decision making, I believe that it will be a must have for cars in the future. As a manager, I can understand how any new information or market data can be priceless so the data provided by these cars could be a huge benefit for business. In terms of safety, it appears that this will not only help with hands-free, but in the case of an accident will alert rescue professionals. This seems to me to be an easy sell for cars and in many consumers eyes would be priceless.

  2. Toyota launched Entune in on the Prius V in 2011. Entune is defined as a “fully integrated multimedia navigation system using a connected mobile phone to access the internet.” You can do anything from make reservations on OpenTable to tailor stock or weather updates to your preferences. It has proven to be a very popular addition to new Toyota vehicles.

    The question about safety must remain in the forefront. In my opinion, even a normal phone call on a bluetooth device can be incredibly distracting. People want to be connected constantly, and car companies cannot stop this desire. If safety precautions are created by car companies they can at least help to regulate what drivers are able to do and hopefully minimize distractions.

  3. For anyone that watched the most recent Apple launch event, they recently announced that there will be an upcoming integration of the IOS platform with a significant number of auto manufactures multimedia offerings.

    I think in some ways, this trend can be both a blessing and a curse. Let me focus on the curse for a moment. After a long day of dealing with too many emails from work to count, do I really need my car going off with these same messages as I face my long commute ahead? Or perhaps take the next logical step. VIdeo conferencing is becoming a new trend within many industries. At what point do you start joining meetings from your car? At what point does this become a distraction to the point of causing safety concerns for other motorists? Another point to make is do your passengers in the car really need to know every text message and email that comes to your phone?

    Now for the cool side of this. I have an iPhone integration module in my car as well as satellite radio. Honestly, I don’t think I go anywhere without either satellite radio or an album from my phone playing. Also, the idea that navigation will be ported from my phone to the car is an enticing thought due to the fact that there is a significantly more current database of road updates that can be provided on a phone. Adding in traffic is even more beneficial and can be supplied through this phone portal. Finally, the ability for my car to read me a text while I drive does have an advantage of reducing distractions that can come from trying to see what is sent to me.

    Overall, I think that while these features are cool, they do need some consideration as to whether we really want some of these technologies following us around.

  4. I think this is the next logical progression. As smart phones become common place connectivity everywhere will be expected, and the car will be no exception. I personally already use my phone in my car for GPS, traffic and occasionally Pandora. I have even used Netflix in the car for my 2 year old on long car trips. With that being said a connected car means I know where I’m going and not frustrated in traffic. I’m more relaxed due to better song selection and with an occupied 2 year old can better focus on the road. Having connectivity in a car would absolutely be something I look for.

  5. Ford has really been into this the last few years. They have a connectivity system created by Microsoft called ‘SYNC’ which works pretty well. I’ve never really been that interested in Ford, but when I saw their SYNC system I considered buying one. I tend to agree with the post in that buyers are now highly influenced by the technology in their cars. First the Smart Phone, then the Flat TV, then a connected car. Welcome new world.

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