The automotive industry is set to undergo seismic changes. With the convergence of the IT and automotive industries, new and disruptive technologies, the rise of autonomous vehicles, customer demand for e-mobility, automotive firms are morphing into all-encompassing technology companies, says Tom Blackie, head of Automotive at RealVNC.

The automotive market is also increasingly saturated and competitive, compelling car manufacturers to find new ways to differentiate themselves through the connected ‘experience’ they can offer.

Meanwhile, disruptive market entrants such as Uber are making traditional taxi firms rethink their propositions and ponder how they can compete by using in-car connectivity to increase uptime, reduce journey times and offer a premium passenger experience.

New legislation will even require cars to have the ability to send remote notifications to the police and could require cyber security experts to be able to remotely access vehicles under cyber-attack.

With this changing landscape in mind, below we have outlined the first three of six ways in which we predict that remote access technology will transform future vehicles over the next decade.

  1. Remote fleet management will become common practice

Freight supply chains are under growing pressure to increase fuel efficiency to meet tough carbon targets while improving the roadworthiness and safety record of their fleets. At the same time, hauliers are required to move more goods across greater distances than ever before and improve delivery times to keep up with the growth in online retail spending.

This will require fleet managers to find ways to remotely regulate everything from driver behaviour to fuel use, road hazards and software failures in real-time. In the near future, remote access features combined with technology that connects the car and the cloud will enable control centres to remotely monitor driving behaviour, car health, speed, fuel use, carbon emissions and route of roving vehicle fleets in real-time in order to improve efficiency and safety. The technology will enable entire teams of experts to remotely view a vehicle’s dashboard and instrument clusters and fix software problems even while on the move.

We are already working with commercial vehicle manufacturers to implement web-based platforms that enable technicians to access their fleets in order to monitor efficiency, fix system faults or calibrate equipment from anywhere in the world.

2. Connected cabs will allow BYOD

As app-based firms such as Taxify and Uber offer cut-price alternatives to the traditional taxi, we will begin to see traditional taxi services compete by offering ‘connected taxis’ that let passengers stream movies and music to backseat screens and allow drivers to get real-time remote support or traffic forecasts to reduce journey times.

The geographical knowledge of the traditional taxi driver has been compromised in recent years with the extensive use of navigation systems. Yet a new generation of ‘connected cabs’ will reduce journey times by enabling drivers to get real-time traffic or weather forecasts through smartphones interlinked with the cab’s dashboard.

Taxis could soon enable drivers to get vehicle faults remotely diagnosed and fixed on the road. Passengers will be able to connect smartphone and cab to stream movies and apps to in-cab screens or even remotely access their office computers or view home CCTV cameras from the backseat.

Ultimately, cabs will allow real-time connectivity between the cab and the cloud and between passenger, driver and vehicle, transforming journeys into feature-rich experiences where call centres can see inside dashboards and in-car cameras and passengers could even get location-based ‘virtual tours’ of cities in augmented reality.

One London taxi firm is already leading the way in using connectivity to build a new generation of ‘connected cabs’ that let passengers beam content from phones to in-car speakers and screens, transforming the taxi into a mobile office or movie theatre and allowing drivers to get real-time traffic or weather forecasts by connecting smartphone to dashboard.

3. We’ll get location-based products, services and car upgrades on the move

The automotive market is increasingly saturated and competitive, and some consumers are opting for car-sharing instead of car ownership, mirroring a similar shift in telecommunications from content-owning to content-streaming. This is driving automotive firms to become service providers as well as product-manufacturers to find new revenue streams. Future car companies may even begin to sell a connected ‘experience’ rather than just the vehicle.

Constant on-the-road interaction between OEMs and consumers will offer endless digital upselling potential.

Tom Blackie

Vehicles will routinely issue software upgrades and new features ‘over-the-air’ and could even beam personalised adverts on to in-car passenger screens and phones based on live location, weather, and driver behaviour data in real-time. For example, if it is sunny, the vehicle could direct the driver to the best nearby beaches, while in the evening it could direct drivers to great deals on hotels or restaurants.

Furthermore, connected cars could generate a mass of valuable driver and vehicle data which can be monetised by insurance companies and other services that could help make journeys safer. Automotive firms are now seeing the potential that future cars – through connectivity – will have on revenue streams.

A report from PwC has previously discussed this, predicting that the worldwide value of the connected vehicles market will increase at an annual rate of 25%, with an overall global turnover of £40 billion (€45.41 billion) by the end of this year, and likely grow threefold to £120 billion (€136.24 billion) by 2022.

Part 2 continues tomorrow…

The author of this blog is Tom Blackie, head of Automotive at RealVNC

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