What if your car could communicate with you? (Part 2)
Christian Karasiewicz 270005XS4E Visits (6305)
If you’ve not seen part 1 of this blog, in which I discussed the possible benefits of a connected car for automobile makers, check it out here.
As we saw in part 1, a connected car is great for the manufacturer. But what about you, the consumer? In this post I want to show you how connected cars could help everyday drivers. When you buy your next car it could be a connected car, and you might very well get a smartphone app along with it.
Where is my car?
Imagine you’ve driven to a really busy car park at a supermarket. Maybe it is the Christmas rush, so you’ve not parked in your preferred area. As your mind might well be on other things, you forget to note down your car parking bay.
As you leave the shops you realize you have no idea where you parked your car. If the car is connected and you have the manufacturer’s app, the car would be able to tell your smartphone where it is, allowing the app to draw a walking map of how you can get back to it. No more lost car, and no more walking aimlessly around looking for your car.
Warm it up please
Right now how warm or cold is your car? If you can look out the window you might have an idea. Often you don’t have that luxury, though; if you are shopping or in an office you might not know what the weather is like.
Having a connected car and the associated app could solve this. By using the app you could see what the temperature of the car is, so as you leave you could start the car warming up if it is cold or cooling down if it is too hot. Then when you get into your car it is already at the temperature you like before you drive off. How cool is that? Sorry. I couldn’t resist the pun.
No more dead batteries
We’ve all seen or even done this—left the car’s lights on. If the lights are left on without the engine running, the battery gets drained and the car will not start when you need it to. With connected cars and smartphone apps, the car could tell you if something is wrong, allowing you to remotely turn the lights off, so you have no more dead batteries. Here’s a demo showing how this could work using IBM MessageSight.
Speaking of dead batteries, it is vitally important that any app that is produced for the connected car doesn’t run down the battery of your smartphone. This is why Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol is used by Facebook, among others—because of its extremely efficient battery usage.
I’ve spoken about the benefits to the car manufactures of predictive part failures, and above I outlined some benefits to you, the car owner. But connecting a car has other opportunities and indirect benefits. Cars are packed full of sensors; for example, you know the temperature outside the car as you drive along, and if it starts raining it automatically puts the wipers on. If you could feed that data, combined with your smartphone’s GPS, to a meteorological office, then they would have the ability to do micro weather analysis. If multiples of cars in an area have their wipers on it probably means it is raining. As vehicles enter or leave the raining area their wipers come on or go off, and this would allow the meteorological office to plot the size of the rain-affected area. Data like this is invaluable to them. The more weather stations they have, the better accuracy the can build into their prediction models, giving us better weather forecasting. Currently the meteorological offices might have thousands of static weather stations, but with connected cars and smartphones they could have millions of mobile weather stations. Getting the data from these mobile weather stations is where IBM MessageSight can help. It can connect one million devices or cars concurrently, so there’s plenty of scalability—just what the weather forecasters need.
What other possibilities can you imagine for the connected car? In my next blog post I promise not to be so car-focused, but until then if you have any comments please leave them here or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.