How big data and connected cars could change drivers’ lives

Thanks to improvements in mobile technologies, devices of all kinds are able to share information with one another seamlessly. Cars are one such device and, whilst the majority of cars currently on the road are not connected to the cloud, this is certain to change over the next few years. Manufacturers have adapted finance models to make their products more affordable and, perhaps more importantly, are becoming increasingly more aware of how valuable the data collected by their vehicles could be.

It’s important to state that, whilst connection is vital to the highly-anticipated rollout of fully autonomous cars (and this will certainly revolutionise the way we travel) the focus of this article is not self-driving vehicles as experts have predicted these won’t be mainstream for at least another decade. Instead, this article will focus on the more practicable and eminently achievable changes that could come about as a result of cars sharing information with manufacturers and third parties as well as being connected to the cloud and various devices.

1.       Fuel on-demand

In the grand scheme of things, having to stop at petrol stations isn’t the greatest inconvenience imaginable. Still, if we could save a few minutes here and there they’ll add up to something substantial – and what resource is more valuable than time?

Now, such services can be used if your car isn’t connected to the cloud but you’ll need to leave your filler cap unlocked which is, of course, risky. If you have a connected car, though, it’ll be possible to remotely open the fuel cap when necessary.

2.       Automated performance feedback

In order to protect their products and reputations, automotive manufacturers recommend that owners of their products take them to a mechanic for mandatory checks. Said mechanic can then inspect the car and determine whether parts need to be replaced etc. in order to maintain it and keep it running smoothly. By sharing performance metrics with their manufacturers, though, connected cars could make the inspection process redundant.

Many vehicles already have facilities that report faults directly to drivers (low brake pads and under/overinflated tyres, for example) but these rely on relatively simple sensors. Analysing more complex data such as engine performance is beyond internal CPUs (ones that aren’t prohibitively expensive, at least) but, by feeding information to a team of analysts, problems can be identified and owners advised of changes that need to be made quickly. Most importantly, these recommendations can be made without the owner needing to visit a mechanic.

3.       Communicative infrastructure

Vehicles that can communicate with their surroundings could play a significant role in making infrastructure in our cities, towns and motorways more efficient.

With sufficient data local authorities could determine precisely when to schedule roadworks to minimise disruption. Cars could communicate directly with traffic light systems and the data they provide would allow them to determine precisely when to stop traffic and when to let it go. The potential improvements that could come about as a result of communicative infrastructure are multiple and limited only by imagination.

4.       Accident reporting

Aside from the obvious benefits of instantaneously reporting any accident and enabling the emergency services to respond as quickly as possible, smart vehicles could also communicate vital information that will improve the victims’ chances of survival.

Smart cars could report the point of impact, the force involved and more – all of which will help responders to determine injuries those involved are likely to have suffered and the resources they’ll require to treat them effectively.

Data is now a vital part of day-to-day life and data loss will negatively impact both businesses and consumers alike. If you’ve lost data, you can find out how much data recovery will cost here. 

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