People love their cars. Literally. Last year AutoTrader.com conducted a survey on 1250 American drivers, measuring their attachment to their automobiles. The results showed that 70 percent were in various states of emotional attachment with their cars and trucks, with male participants turning out to be more needy than female drivers. The fact that AutoTrader was making a big deal about this implies that this attachment was effecting used car sales; the report also came with a number of car breakup strategies. Unfortunately for the salespeople of the future, the attachment is about to get a whole lot closer and a lot more sci-fi.
According to ABI Research, wearable technology is going to allow for driver-car interfacing on a large scale over the next five years, with over 90 percent of connected cars shipping globally in 2019.
The connected car is an M2M innovation: an automobile with integrated technology allowing it to sync with other machines. Major areas of focus in this regard have had to do with telematics (GPS tracking) for insurance and safety purposes, as well as in mCommerce for electric cars, with wireless payment options proposed for charging stations that have enviro drivers constantly managing membership cards.
ABI says smart watches and gadgets like Google Glass are going to accelerate this convergence of connectivity, allowing for a man and his sedan to really get to know each other.
“With in-car infotainment becoming a key customer proposition, the automotive industry is designing user interfaces both offering a rich and convenient experience and guaranteeing safety by preventing driver distraction,” expands Dominique Bonte, ABI Research’s vice president and practice director. “While head unit proximity touch screens, heads up displays and speech recognition are now well established, the quest for next-generation automotive HMI is still on with gesture recognition, eye control and augmented reality edging closer to implementation. At the same time, wearable form-factors are being explored bearing testimony to the automotive industry’s objective to keep up with consumer electronics innovation. But they also contribute to creating a seamless digital user experience inside and outside the vehicle.”
Handsfree voice biometric interface on smartphones, the Nismo Watch from Nissan that can measure vital biometrics and a car’s efficiency, telematic fleet management boxes for businesses that need to keep tabs on company vehicles: all of this and more is promising to dissolve the border between end user and driver.
The increased intensity in automotive love may come up against the law however, as the numerous conveniences of connected driving lead to dangerous distractions and habits. It will be important for policy makers and standard organizations to settle on agreements as to what kind of human-car interfacing will constitute as legal, before the roads become filled with distracted drivers, eventually forcing connected car couples underground, hiding their illegal auto affair from the eyes of the law.