5 characteristics of the connected cars of the future

Published by Telefónica IoT Team Connected Car

Connected cars are going to be everywhere soon. Statista calculates that in the USA alone, they will reach a penetration rate of 93% by 2020. So, what do we mean by ‘connected car’? The Centre of Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT) defines it as “vehicles which use some kind of digital technology to communicate with the driver, with other vehicles on the road (vehicle-to-vehicle, V2V), with infrastructures (V2I) and/or with the cloud (V2C)”.

In this sense, the most common scenario is that today’s cars come with technology that connects to the driver’s or passengers’ mobile devices (primarily to make or receive calls and listen to music) through Bluetooth and, in some models, Wi-Fi. Furthermore, high-end vehicles, and more and more mid-range ones, have an automatic communication functionality with emergency services in the event of breakdowns or accidents.

On the other hand, as Edward Kulperger, the vice-president of Geotab, explained on our blog, fleets of connected vehicles can incorporate platforms that allow the vehicle to be located and its status and driving parameters to be monitored. The information provided by these functionalities is very useful for fleet managers, but it is also handy for insurance companies and their clients: they can improve their efficiency and lower the number of accidents by analysing this data. So, if this is the present state of connected cars, what will they be like in the future?

Connected vehicles of the future

  • Control anywhere, including on your mobile device: Connected vehicles are also integrated into the network of connections created by the Internet of Things, but until now everything was managed via the vehicle itself. In future connected cars, the users will be in control, which directly highlights the importance of smartphones as the management centre of all devices.
  • Communication with all vehicles: The sensors installed in connected cars, in combination with advanced electronic communications technology, are going to allow vehicles to communicate and share information with each other and with other networks (such as external infrastructures), thus increasing the efficiency of operations within the car. The main expected benefit of this feature is a reduction in traffic jams as well as accidents.
  • More united than ever on (smart) roads: As an essential infrastructure for driving, roads will also have to adapt to connected cars in order to maximise their potential. What are called Smart Roads will be an essential part in factors like regulating traffic flows and safety (to prevent collisions). Furthermore, smart roads will become an invaluable source of information.
  • Integrated with Smart Cities: Connected cars only make sense within totally smart cities. Many urban zones are already working their way towards the goal of the Smart City, but in order to make the most of all the advantages of these vehicles, cities must be completely overhauled. Connected cars will only be as smart as their environments.

Keys for the technology of autonomous vehicles: The technological keys of connected cars will be everything that improves vehicle connectivity and guarantees security. The ability to receive over-the-air (OTA) updates, connections via 5G and Wi-Fi platforms on the cloud, advanced electronic communications technology and an increase of the power to 48 volts in vehicles will be essential for the mass development of connected cars.


Telefónica IoT Team