For a long time, we have been talking about the connected car and how in-car connectivity would enhance the driving experience -- from compelling infotainment to effortless navigation. More than a year ago, Aricent developed a connected car solution that enables automotive components and systems manufacturers to create advanced in-car infotainment systems and media entertainment platforms to enrich the driver's experience.
However, with the further evolution of the connectivity space and the Internet of Things coming closer to reality, the connected car space is set to evolve beyond infotainment. The new possible use cases have much more significance. They relate to fuel efficiency and safety. Yes, a connected car can help save a lot of fuel and time, along with keeping you safe. We think these factors will drive the adoption of connected car solutions more than anything else.
Even though it will take some time for the ecosystem -- from government regulations and devices to service provider platforms -- to get ready, we are very close to the uptake. We see the ability of a connected car ecosystem to save fuel as one of the biggest product differentiators for automakers.
Let's see how a connected car can help save fuel or increase fuel efficiency. There are possible use cases, and we need technology to evolve, along with the ecosystem, before it works as we wish. Many car companies, including Audi, are already experimenting with the ability of a connected car to save fuel.
As all drivers know, the major factors that increase fuel consumption are rapid acceleration, red lights (stops), traffic jams, bad roads, rough braking, and incorrect tire pressure. The basic idea is that, if we can control these factors through connectivity and data analytics, we can reduce fuel consumption significantly.
Stoplight/red light management
A connected car communicates with traffic lights, collects and analyzes data, and lets the driver know how fast he should drive to get the next light when it turns green. This can improve fuel economy by helping the driver optimize speed and avoid unnecessary stops.
Similar benefits can be derived by avoiding long toll queues. The car can communicate with toll systems (if they have been upgraded to support the technology) or can fetch real-time data/maps/images from Google Earth and run quick analytics to predict the jam at the toll booth.
Another case could be that a connected car can communicate with traffic lights via cellular networks (4G for data), note how long a light will stay red, and either alert the driver to start the engine or auto-start the engine 3-4 seconds before the light turns green.