Agent Bowler takes a look at how the major mobile companies are now setting their sights on your dashboard, and explores what the future of in-car technology could hold.
Today, cars are getting smarter with every new generation. From windscreen wipers turning themselves on with the first drop of rain, to radar-assisted speed control keeping you a safe distance from the car in front, now the world leaders in mobile devices have their sights set on the road, to make the car the next big part of ‘the internet of things’.
WHO’S IN THE RUNNING?
The big names are leading the way. Apple launched ‘CarPlay’ earlier this year (you can find Agent Hall’s brilliant lowdown on it here); Microsoft has teamed up with Ford to create ‘Sync’; QNX, the company behind Research in Motion/Blackberry, has launched QNXCar; and now, along with a very long list of vehicle and technology manufacturers, Google has formed the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA).
Much like the smartphone operating system battle that is still being waged by the mobile giants, there is no clear winner in the battle for your dashboard yet. But the combined efforts of many car and tech makers, along with the backing of the Android OS, means that if I had to pick a winner then I’d put my money on the OAA.
WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON?
So what exactly does the future of on-the-road technology hold? It seems that your smartphone itself will soon be able to provide all the power and computing your car needs.
The OAA’s mission is to standardise the connectivity between your smartphone (the remote to your life) and the car that gets you there! What the smartphone did for your pocket, combining your music player, your address book, your gaming device and your standard mobile phone into one neat, streamlined device, it will now do for your car.
Flawless hands-free connectivity to your device while driving is barely scratching the surface of what your car will be able to offer when enhanced by your mobile. Sat-nav that will rearrange your journey on the fly depending on traffic conditions, provide media for your passengers and virtual assistants that can control it all are just some of the things that could soon become standard in cars when they are no longer ‘added extras’ but simply part of the in-car experience.
Underlying all this exciting technology, the key to a great, high-end user experience will be a common platform – and it’s just that which Apple, Google, Microsoft, QNX and many others are fighting over. But who will control the space on your dashboard? Only time will tell, but as ever, we’ll keep you up to date with all the latest news and developments as we hear of them.
However, one thing’s for sure: we’re already starting to see the benefits of smarter integration between vehicles and information. The obvious example is Google’s self-driving car, which can and does make regular journeys around the world’s major cities and, as with everything, competition drives innovation.
All in all, the possibilities of where in-car technology could take us and our vehicles over the next decade are not only exciting, but seemingly endless.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What are your thoughts on the technology driving our cars? Let us know and get in on the debate with other Geek Squad users by posting a comment.