With numerous innovations in the pipeline, connected car has become an idea that is often met with raised eyebrows. Connected car is the new reality of the automobile. The features and on-board services are revolutionizing driving and the lives of passengers, while the data collected will change many business sectors including car maintenance.
Connected car is the car in the digital age
A connected car has a real on-board computer connected to the Internet to provide services from the world of smartphones and touch tablets. New technologies also bring a new dimension to driving, to enhance the comfort and safety of vehicle occupants.
There three major types of connected services:
- Entertainment – music streaming, social networking, video games, communication (SMS, email) … a connected car provides access to digital entertainment, for example through inlaid shelves in the headrests for passengers in the rear.
- Security – the embedded system can alert the driver of a hazard (e.g. detection of pedestrians and cyclists crossing white line), watch over his health condition (e.g. anti-drowsiness system) or automatically call for help in case accident.
- Driving assistance – connected cars can help people find related services (traffic information, nearby restaurants, etc.) or assist our diving (autopilots, brake assist, etc.).
Connected cars and maintenance
By definition, a connected car is able to connect to the Internet or to surrounding objects. This is simply a vehicle that communicates with the outside world, either by using sensors to calculate its position or exchanging data with all that passes nearby such as mobile, tablet, other cars, and even the road.
Connected cars are the product of the latest advances in telematics, a vast area of new technologies which includes telecommunications, embedded technology, road safety and IT. Maintenance already using small-scale telematics with satellite navigation and GPS, technicians can access the location of vehicles and calculate the best route with location-based technologies and real-time traffic information.
In some cases, the maintenance management software already optimize and streamline remote maintenance tasks , using telematics to dispatch technicians to plan missions and scan the minutes and billing, for faster and more efficient workflow.
The revolution of connected cars is on the way
For now, the maintenance management software is only accessible from computers, smartphones and tablets. We will soon see them on other devices such as watches or connected glasses. With recent advances in technology, this type of maintenance software will soon be embedded with connected cars.
While GPS is already the standard for service technicians who travel with their clients, the next generation of cars will propose to connect with the driver’s smartphone. In addition, the most advanced connected car, the prototype of autonomous car that can “drive” on roads without a driver, are already allowed to travel on certain roads in California. Of course, it will take time for them to appear in our inner cities or on our highways, but it is no longer scientific fiction, and the horizon is bright for connected cars.
The players in the automotive sector are active in this direction last year. TomTom has opened its fleet management platform (Webfleet) to developers and encourage them to develop new apps for connected cars. Start-ups such as Navdy or Hudway already provide information display on the windshield to keep your eyes on the road and process driver’s commands with voice or gestures.
While the number of vehicles in the world is exploding, and that 90% of accidents are due to human error, connected cars promise to both reduce CO2 emissions and improve road safety. Encouraged by the European Union, which begins to dictate common standards, they should become commonplace between 2030 and 2035.
What are the consequences for the future maintenance services?
By traffic flow improvement (through real-time information), connected cars will not only help service technicians to move securely and efficiently, they will also help to integrate vehicle maintenance management software, to improve communication between managers and technicians, and between technicians and clients. The maintenance companies will be more effective, with better employee satisfaction, and great improvement in customer relationship.
Unmanned vehicles assume a revolution – in addition to reduce CO2 emissions, they will lower the costs for the maintenance company, avoiding traffic jams, planning reactive routes, and allowing technicians to perform more tasks a day. An unmanned vehicle will even deliver parts while the technician is in operation.
While most of these advances are still in the pipeline, the revolution of the connected car has already begun, and its effects are already being felt in the maintenance services sector.