Self-parking is one of the top features consumers want in connected cars, according to a survey of 1,000 people conducted by Carnegie Mellon University. Today, several automakers offer the technology to guide drivers or automatically maneuver vehicles into parking spots using sensors and cameras. But self-parking technology is still in its infancy -- the first commercial system, Toyota’s Intelligent Parking Assist, only hit the market in 2003 -- and there are many more exciting developments on the horizon.
Automobiles have had built-in computer networks for a long time connecting everything from the ignition to the heads-up display. The challenge facing OEMs these days is extending that internal automotive network to the Internet. The connected car promises to deliver a wide range of web-enabled functions such traffic monitoring, streaming music, local shopping information, and even driver-assistance services like self-parking. You would think that with today’s cellular technology and wireless developments creating an Internet-connected car would be relatively simple. However, as with any evolving technology, there are still a number of in-car internet challenges to overcome.
Believe it or not, it’s been 10 years since Google Maps revolutionized the mapping landscape by enabling everyday users to easily find their way from point A to B. Since then, mapping advances have come fast and furious, as handheld GPS manufacturers and automakers compete with tech companies to come out with the latest and greatest navigation gadgets.
Over the past decade, the automotive industry has undergone a stunning digital transformation. Cars are no longer simple modes of transportation; they are versatile mobile command centers. With the computing power of 20 advanced PCs, today’s connected cars provide web- and software-enabled services that were once only available via desktop computer.
About 12 percent of all vehicles produced globally come installed with a telematics system, such as navigation, according to a 2014 Industry ARC report. And while many consumers are instead opting to use navigation apps on their smartphones, in-car nav systems aren’t slowing down. Industry ARC projects that by 2020, up to 50 percent of vehicles worldwide will come with telematics systems.
Car manufacturers struggle to meet consumer demands to keep pace, implementing the latest technology in cars rolling off the assembly line. This has been a difficult task, due to the cost and maintenance requirements it takes to keep the car’s head unit up to date with current mobile technology, which is developed and adopted at breakneck speeds. Some manufacturers, like Volkswagen and Audi, for example, are tackling the issue by adding modular hardware that can be upgraded throughout the entire life of the car.