10 Ways Cars Are More Connected Now

#hashtags: #Things #GPS #BMW 7

The connected car is the next step in the march toward perpetual connectivity in the Internet of Things. With smart thermostats, smart light bulbs, smart refrigerators, and smart phones, it was just a matter of time before the car caught up. Here are 10 ways modern cars are more connected now than ever before. Transmission – GPS The Rolls-Royce Ghost and the newest BMW 7 Series both have a connection to those nifty satellites responsible for the global positioning system, which helps supplement the transmission, among other things. What business does a GPS have in a gearbox? Well, to those passengers in such rarefied air as the Ghost and 7 Series, ride quality is valued highly, so when your car, specifically your transmission, knows what kind of road lies ahead, it can get those potentially rough downshifts out of the way before the turn, hill, or other change in the pavement. This is about smoothness, and on the most luxurious sedans of 2015, it’s what you deserve. Headlights – GPS Linking the headlights with the GPS system isn’t just adding technology for the sake of technology, though it can look like it. Adding the ability to anticipate turns and swivel the lights to illuminate them before the driver begins to turn the wheel significantly enhances driver safety. Suspension – GPS GPS for your suspension? It’s used to raise and lower the suspension of your car based on location. The Tesla Model S with the optional Smart Air Suspension, for example, can raise the car to clear a steep driveway every time you come to it. Sure, it’s easy enough to press a button and raise the vehicle, but when it knows to do it because you’ve arrived home? It’s the little things. Infotainment – Internet Connections Anyone familiar with the modern smartphone knows that they work through the cellular network to bring you all the Internet has to offer. Getting a car with Internet connectivity enables many of the same uses, such as navigation directions (if you didn’t pay for the dedicated system), up to date restaurant recommendations and locations, and even streaming media. But why invest in what is essentially a smartphone for your car? One big reason is automatic emergency notification. You can’t call for help if your smartphone flies out of your hand or cupholder in a crash. Your vehicle can call automatically, helping get first responders to the scene as quickly as possible. Infotainment – OTA Software Ever had to drive to the dealer to get an update for your car’s infotainment system? Maybe you’ve been affected by the issue. Maybe not. But it’s kind of a hassle. Another big plus is the ability to push an update over the air (OTA for mobile devices aficionados) and make small revisions to the software without needing to step foot in the dealership. This could also be used to patch holes in the car’s security, which will be more of a concern as cars become more connected. Hyundai Virtual Guide (The Owner’s Manual) How about an app on your phone that can supplement your owner’s manual? Hyundai has done just that with their Virtual Guide (currently only on the Sonata), which makes finding information much easier than searching through the paper owner’s manual, often more than 300 pages long. Not only is the information easy to find, but if you use the augmented reality feature, you can also literally see the information displayed on an overlay of your actual engine bay or interior. The future is now. Car-to-Car Communication The ability to have communication between cars on the road has been talked about for years, but it appears Mercedes-Benz will be the first to make it a reality. The next E-Class is said to take advantage of the technology with the ability to report hazardous conditions in real time to the cloud, which other nearby vehicles (we’re guessing just Mercedes vehicles at this point) can access to warn their drivers to be on the lookout. With the connected future, it’s only a matter of time before car-to-car is all over the market. Smartphone Apps There’s a good chance that the manufacturer of your vehicle offers a smartphone application and an even better chance that if they do, it can do all sorts of handy things. Particularly noteworthy is the ability to check the charge level of Motor Trend’s long-term Kia Soul EV without going outside to the charger or the option to unlock it should I accidentally lock the keys inside. Infotainment – Apps Did you think apps were just for your smartphone? Thing again. Many automakers—Lexus, for example—build some compatibility with certain apps into their infotainment systems, which allows owners to use supported apps with a friendlier interface. The Lexus Enform app suite includes Pandora, Yelp, and a few others. Aftermarket – OBDII Dongles Instead of keeping your vehicles locked down by manufacturer-handicapped systems, the aftermarket is bringing connectivity to your 1996 and later cars with an OBDII port. This allows companies to develop interfaces that can collect data with various aims, such as aiding in vehicle maintenance or helping drivers save money via a driving-style analysis. Most systems have a 3G data connection, but some are starting to come out with 4G LTE support, which points the way to a more modern experience. If you’ve got an older car, you don’t have to miss out on the connected experience.