Car Connections: bridging the gap between Detroit and Silicon Valley

Gwennie Poor
San Francisco 37° 46' 37.56" N, -122° 25' 11.208" E

Technology is increasingly important to the auto industry, yet some automakers claim that Silicon Valley doesn’t “get” Detroit: its understanding that innovation must progress within the strictly regulated parameters of privacy, safety and security. But Silicon Valley players, in turn, perceiving traditional auto manufacturers as slow-moving, are moving ahead with their own projects, including Tesla’s S and X class cars, Google and others’ autonomously driven vehicles.

Nokia Growth Partners and HERE co-sponsored Car Connections to help bridge this gap. Over 250 leaders from OEMs, tier 1 suppliers and start-ups discussed the future of intelligent driving, exploring differing interests and collaboration opportunities between Detroit and Silicon Valley.

What’s happening in the car?

While autonomous driving has garnered much attention, the promise of connected driving is more immediate and further-reaching. Cars are the largest unconnected consumer devices, with over 850 million unconnected vehicles globally. They represent a massive opportunity.

The car is one of the last remaining digital white spaces: the average U.S. driver spends 52 minutes in a car daily, 76 per cent of that time alone, with little more than broadcast radio for entertainment. The other side of the coin is that over 1.2 million lives are lost each year globally and over 90% of accidents are caused by human error.

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Connected cars seek to address this opportunity. Offering a year 2020 view on car connectivity, one panelist estimated that 72 per cent of cars will be connected within the next six years. By the end of 2020, the panelist stated that there will be 150 million connected vehicles, including over 100 million with dynamic two-way communications, as part of a larger network of more than 50 billion connected ‘things’.

Once cars are connected, intelligent driving promises a broad range of new opportunities, including improved safety, personalized infotainment, improved product life management, predictive maintenance, and usage based insurance. Optimized navigation will include parking and personal recommendations for to-do items that could be accomplished en-route.

While still relatively rare, connected cars are already available laying the groundwork for more automated vehicles in the future. Today, people can connect their iPads to fast Internet on the move. Infotainment systems are looking more like touchscreens on our personal devices with easy access to navigation, infotainment and weather. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are already making roads safer with features such as blind spot monitoring, collision avoidance and lane change assistance.

Still, industry observers at the event acknowledged that, while much of the technology needed for self-driving cars is in place, fully autonomous driving is more than a decade away, although partially or highly automated systems could appear within five years.

Fully autonomous driving currently works in ideal conditions. Even if autonomous driving proves safer, perceptual issues and liability for technical error remains a significant challenge. Legislation is also a roadblock: currently only five states in the U.S. have enacted legislation that allows autonomous vehicles.

What’s your prediction for how soon we’ll see autonomous cars available for sale? And what will be their biggest impact?

Join us for the second part of this series, as we look at the role of big data in the evolution of our vehicles.

Car Connections: Intelligent Driving – a 2020 View Conference

Part 1. Bridging the gap between Detroit and Silicon Valley
Part 2. Data sharing in the age of connected cars
Part 3. How ridesharing disrupts the transportation ecosystem

image creditsLiving in MonroviaSarah Larson

Topics: Car Connections, Automotive, Connected cars, Features

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