Leading research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has named HERE the recipient of its 2014 North American Automotive Connected Services Technology Innovation Leadership Award.
Doug Gilman, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, specialising in telematics and infotainment, explains:
“This is a very prestigious award that can only go to one company in the space: the one we think is showing the most forward-thinking and the greatest signs of success in the connected car area, and the emerging field of autonomous vehicles.”
HERE exceled in a range of different, quite complex, criteria in order to pick up the award. Doug says that the company showed excellence in its visionary innovation and technology platform. Frost & Sullivan was also impressed by the diversity of the product and service offering from HERE which, as regular readers will know, ranges from mobile apps to the technology backbone that we expect to power autonomous vehicles from leading car brands in the future.
Areas of excellence
Doug notes that the approach of HERE leads in what the analyst calls the dominant ‘Megatrends’ in the area, those pathways of technology that seem most likely become the keystones of success in the field.
“One of these is ‘big data’,” he says. “The collection and, more importantly, the superior use of enormous stores of information. HERE collects around 20 terabytes of data every business day. Annually, that would amount to the equivalent of 1.3 billion music tracks.”
“But then it uses that data to power its cloud-based location intelligence system. Now, right at this moment, that doesn’t have as much value as it might, because having a connected car is still very much an exception. But 4-5 years from now, connected cars will become the majority of vehicles, and the value of that data store will grow continuously into the future.”
The second thing Doug points to as an area of excellence at HERE is its creativity when it comes to creating a connection between car and driver. “HERE makes the connected driving experience as seamless as possible. Whether plugged in via cable or synced wirelessly, drivers expect an uninterrupted connection to their vehicle, a technological convenience HERE provides.”
So the cloud-based Mobile Companion for HERE Auto is an ideal match for the way people would like connected vehicles to work.
No plain sailing
While HERE has attained a strong position in the advancement towards connected and autonomous vehicles, there are, of course, still barriers to the vision of the future that HERE is working towards.
“The main thing is critical mass,” says Doug. “We’re nowhere near this yet, even for connected cars. The average car is just over 11 years old. I’m industry analyst who specialises in auto technology, yet I drive an old car. It has none of this stuff. I still play CDs and listen to the radio.”
“The second big barrier for autonomous vehicles is regulation, which will play a huge role. We’ll need to rewrite the entire insurance industry to deal with the implications of autonomous vehicles.”
“When it comes to the technology, well, we’re nearly there to a certain degree. We’ve all seen demonstrations from various companies to show what is technically possible.”
“But it needs a lot of fine tuning before we can consider that technology to be ‘ready’. The demonstrations are done in more-or-less controlled environments. We need it to go to the next step, so it can deal with the random movements of pedestrians and cars in real cities. So that it knows what to do in an instant if a piece of construction machinery falls off a truck in front of your car.”
So, while we’re delighted with this award, there’s sadly no time for us to take a few weeks off and drink Champagne! There’s always a lot more work, a next step and another challenge to overcome.
But maybe we deserve a small glass, eh?
image credit: Martin Fisch