‘Seamless’ is one of the keywords that automakers are using these days. Just as its definition, ‘smooth and continuous, with no apparent gaps or spaces between one part and the next,’ implies, this adjective is usually for the design industry. However, this word could also mean something else. ‘Seamless connection’ is a popular paradigm for mobile, wireless networking that describes an idealized service model for mobility protocols. During recent years, a broad range of wireless access technologies has been developed to provide the basis for Internet connectivity to mobile users.
Many automakers have been using the term as they enhance many features that use such connectivity technologies – and this is also because it will be the key to future mobility. The new Grandeur would be a good example. It gets an all-new 12.3-inch digital MID, along with a similarly sized touchscreen infotainment unit(AVN- Audio Video Navigation). The traditional gear lever makes way for buttons in the center console, which makes the interiors look seamless.
AI Assistant, And What They Can Understand
Some say true connectivity with your car begins with a conversation. Many global automakers want to develop artificial intelligence assistance with voice recognition feature for this reason. The very first version was revealed back in the late 1990s. The main purpose was to make phone calls without using fingers. Then, in the 2000s, the system covered more features – audio system control, navigation setting, cabin temperature setting, and so on.
The latest version, however, can control the whole vehicle by just simply saying it, as if you are talking to your friend. The third-generation K5 is one example. The car would turn the AC on or open the window automatically. It works as your AI private assistant – whenever you want to control seat ventilation or heating. All the features will provide safer, more convenient driving experiences.
You need to press the button on the steering wheel in order to activate the voice recognition service. Then the system starts to receive your voice command, by extracting meaningful sound. It analyzes every phoneme so that it could find the best possible outcome. This is how it changes settings of your car or gives you the search results.
The only reason the voice recognition feature is considered the most powerful interface is because it is the safest way to control your car. Other ways require the driver to look somewhere else or touch something else, making the driver distracted from driving. But the voice recognition can be a game-changer. Besides, each driver’s voice can also work as a key. According to Navigant Research America, about 90% of new vehicles will incorporate a voice recognition system by 2028.
Car-to-Home, Controlling Home IoT Devices
We are using network technologies in every second of our daily lives, thanks to the Internet of Things(IoT). This is not a hard thing to understand at all. Imagine the front porch light going on when you approach. This is because the light has a motion sensor, of course. If these devices could use network services to receive/send data with one another, it becomes the IoT.
Not many automakers have this feature, but Kia Motors loaded the K7 Premiere with car infotainment technology “Car to Home” last June. The new technology can control home internet of things (IoT) devices such as home lighting apparatuses, plugs, air conditioners, boilers and gas circuit breakers from cars. Hyundai Kona Hybrid, Kia K5, and K7 also provide the same feature if registered in the Hyundai and Kia Connected Car service.
Ford and Amazon together launched an infotainment system SYNC 3 back in 2017, for controlling car doors and lights from home. Amazon also collaborated with BMW recently, for their own Car-to-Home service development. The services have not been established fully yet.
Car-to-Home will continue to expand as the ‘Smart Home’ market grows. International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated that 1.39 billion smart home devices will be released in 2023, up 70% from this year. Gartner, Inc. forecasted that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, and will reach 25 billion by 2020.
In-Car Payment System
Just as people these days use their smartphones to pay, the automobile industry is partnering with card networks and retailers in order to equip vehicles with in-car payment systems. Basically, your car will be your wallet and you won’t need to get out of your vehicle to pay for gasoline or parking spaces.
At CES 2019, Honda demonstrated its prototype Honda Dream Drive, the integrated driver-passenger infotainment, commerce, services and rewards dashboards within the vehicle environment. In collaboration with Visa Inc., it enables drivers to pay for goods and services like fuel, movie tickets, and parking, make restaurant reservations, food ordering for pickup or delivery, and even share the driver’s location with friends and family.
Hyundai Motor Group also has developed a new integrated infotainment system featuring an in-car payment system to boost its presence in the rapidly growing global car infotainment market. This feature could be used at burger stands, coffee shops, or charging stations.
The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) is working with BMW, Ford, GM, Groupe Renault, Honda, and other major automakers to develop a blockchain-based Vehicle Identity (VID). MOBI members launched an important joint initiative to test implementation of the first VID standard, taking a critical step towards the new economy of movement with blockchain. The United States was the first to initiate the business recently, only for electric vehicles loaded with connectivity technologies.
In addition to the working group, the standard was thoroughly reviewed by formal verification experts – giving developers confidence their implementations adhere to the best practices in digital security. MOBI hopes that applications enabled by this standard will ultimately help lower carbon emissions, improve road safety, reduce traffic congestion, and support a host of other socially desirable outcomes. MOBI is also trialing a system that uses the blockchain-based VID for payments such as parking charges and highway tolls, without the use of a specialized tag.
Mercedes-Benz, too, is working on developing an in-vehicle payment service called Mercedes-Pay, which uses a blockchain system. A new report from Juniper Research has found that the IoT payments market will grow, and the biggest growth will come from in-vehicle payments, which will reach $265 billion by 2023.
Wireless Update – Just Like Smartphones
An over-the-air update is the wireless delivery of new software or data to vehicles. Wireless carriers and automakers typically use Over-The-Air (OTA) updates to deploy software and navigation system for use on their networks, without stopping by customer centers.
Unlike smartphone-based navigation apps, map data for our system is very large since it needs to work even where the network signal is unreliable. Sending a large package of data containing country-scale maps through a mobile communication network presented a major challenge. Many factors including the engine on and off signal, battery drain, and communication network errors needed to be considered.
Speaking of wireless updates, Tesla has been the pioneer. Their cars regularly receive over-the-air (OTA) software updates that add new features and enhance existing ones over Wi-Fi, without stopping by local customer centers. For Hyundai Motor Group, Genesis G90, the eighth-generation Sonata, the new Ioniq Electric, Kia K9, and K7 Premier feature the OTA updates.
The report finds that over-the-air (OTA) software updates will eventually be a big boon for the automotive industry due to the growing number of connected cars. According to IHS Automotive estimates, total worldwide OEM cost savings from OTA software update events will grow from $2.7 billion in 2015 (primarily from savings related to updating telematics systems) to more than $35 billion in 2022.
IHS Markit has predicted that by 2023, worldwide sales of connected cars will reach 72.5 million units, up from 24 million units in 2015. The market size will reach $245 trillion, showing annual growth of 14.8% from $82 trillion last year. This means that most passenger vehicles sold will be connected, digital technology-powered and exchanging data with external sources in real-time, in the future.