How many cars out there are connected right now? If you count all of the test cars that the different auto-makers have out there at the moment and all of the early adopters of Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, it’s probably a good few hundred, maybe even a couple of thousand. That’s not a lot, but according to a new study from Gartner, the rate of adoption is going to accelerate at unprecedented levels, reaching as many as 250 million connected cars on the road by 2020.
This will come from a mix of those with early driveless features like motorway hands free systems and cloud-powered automated parking, but it’s also been predicted that once cars start offering CarPlay and Android Auto systems in cars at the point of sale, that those sorts of heavily connected infotainment platforms will drive much of the connected car adoption. It’s thought likely that the two camps being made available will create the same sort of tribal affiliations that people currently have with their smartphones.
However there is more to the connected car future than just having a few apps in our vehicles. The fact that updates can be delivered wirelessly to cars around the world will usher in a new age of regular updates which will see new features added on a regular basis, like the recent addition of voice commands for those that own Tesla vehicles. Better security, improved application features and potentially even better performance and fuel economy could be downloaded on a regular basis, even offering customised profiles for ride type – speed vs comfort – for those that have driveless settings to choose from.
Other potential improvements include factoring in more advanced telematics tracking. By 2020, almost everyone may be on usage based policies, only charging them for the miles they actually drive and basing the cost per mile around their driving habits. Feedback and vehicle diagnostics will also be available in more depth than ever before, making it much easier to diagnose problems with a car and therefore making it safer to drive, especially when driver behaviour is also being monitored and recommendations made about how it could be improved.
If all of this turns out to be true though, what does it mean for traditional car makers? Will anyone be that fussed about who makes the hardware when the software is what defines their experience with the car? Is there room in the world of modern motoring for vehicles that are sold more on brand than anything else? Will Ferrari or Lamborghini get much of a look in when they run the same software as Google’s latest high speed creation?
What do you guys think?