Cloud technology in cars can save your life and make it more enjoyable
Can you imagine you could unlock your car only by using your smartphone? Would you appreciate getting an alert from your car on an icy or slippery road? No matter how vivid your imagination is, it is very likely this situation is not from a very far future. Nowadays, automakers cooperate intensively with software developers to connect cars with cloud technology in order to increase the safety and comfort of driving.
Cloud technology in cars can save your life and make it more enjoyable. Next automobile generation will be safer and more enjoyable thanks to cloud technology.
Cloud technology in cars is not new but is evolving very fast due to the cooperation and partnership between automotive industry and software developers.
Automakers know that they must embrace the cloud technology more than ever to accelerate and improve the driving experience since customers’ exigence points to fully integrated cars with cloud technologies.
If we consider that we spend 7% of our life driving a car, cloud technology is a must in every modern car to offer comfort, security, and entertainment.
According to the research firm Garnet Inc., there will be quarter-billion cars connected to the cloud in 2020.
How does the cloud technology operate in cars?
The way we interact with our car changed entirely in a few decades. Nowadays, cloud technology in cars is present in several ways. For example, most electric cars can exchange information with remote data centers to inform the driver about the road and weather conditions.
The cloud technology in cars has a lot of possibilities. It is uniquely suited to set up, scale, manage and update features and services efficiently with a connected unit.
Automobile companies develop and adapt their connectivity software continuously to allow their customers a better interaction between the cloud, the car, and smartphones using infotainment as the primary interface.
Safer and smarter cars thanks to the cloud
A remarkable example of how the cloud services are applied to a car for important purposes besides entertainment is what Volvo offers to its clients.
For several years, the Swedish company has been performing its technology to provide the safest experience while driving using the highest security standards.
Now Volvo is planning to put in the market what is going to be, probably, the most secure automobile in the world by using the latest cloud technology in cars.
Under the slogan “Your life, your car, connected” Volvo explains in simple words what the customers can expect from their new car. Thanks to the Volvo On Call app and cloud-based services, the user will be able to control the vehicle using a smartphone.
Your smartphone can then be used as a digital key to open and start the car. Also, you will be able to generate and send temporary digital keys to your family and friends when you need to share the car, pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin remotely, send route directions or check the fuel level from any device.
The cloud will also alert the driver in real time to prevent accidents on icy or slippery roads. This information will be shared simultaneously with nearby drivers and road maintenance authorities to warn them.
Units will be equipped with a Hazard Alert function to let you know if there are other vehicles ahead on the road with its hazard lights on so you can reduce the car speed in advance to avoid a potential collision.
Volvo is also pushing the self-driving technology. By using cloud-based 3D digital maps, your car will receive all the necessary information to drive itself, maximizing the fuel consumption according to the road conditions.
With the unsupervised autonomous mode, you can rely on your car performance while you relax reading the newspaper or preparing a report for work. The car will be capable enough to accelerate, brake, and steer without your supervision thanks to the interaction with the cloud technology.
What are the brands leading the cloud technology in cars?
There are many companies involved in the race to improve the connection between cars and the cloud. However, we can see the most significant cases in companies such as Tesla, Volvo, Ford, Nissan, and BMW.
The Battle for the Cloud
- Ford integration with Azure
For example, Ford recently announced the creation of Ford Services Network in cooperation with Microsoft’s Azure. The goal is to provide automated software updates to car models like the Sync 3.
This way, users will have the chance to download all the necessary updates using the cloud instead of taking their car to the dealership for software enhancements.
Plus, a better infotainment system includes functions such as battery level checking, remotely engine start, car localization, lock, and unlock.
Also, Microsoft will help Ford manage the big amount of data created by its electric cars, approximately 25 Gb of data per hour.
- The Tesla case
By doing this, Tesla cloud receives all the necessary information to assist the driver remotely in real time to fix almost any issue related to the car without requiring the driver involvement.
Tesla onboard computer is programmed using a customized version of Google´s Android mobile operating system. This allows car upgrades without the necessity to buy a new car since the manufacturer can completely change the configuration and functionality of the cars electronically.
According to Tesla company, Model S is going to be able to support third-party apps to enhance the car operation.
- BMW together with IBM
On the other hand, companies such as BMW and Nissan are making an effort to connect their cars to the cloud efficiently. The German brand announced IBM as its partner to work together in a cloud computing project to help 8 million drivers through the BMW CarData network.
This network will include the IBM Bluemix environment. BMW drivers using the Connected Drive app will be able to use several services designed to respond in a personalized way since the cloud will be monitoring the driving habits under the user´s consent.
Is there any risk of making the cars so dependent on the cloud-based technologies?
Of course, some risks must be considered by the automakers when designing these type of vehicles. One of them is their vulnerability to a hacker attack.
Because a car cannot afford software failures while driving, it is very important that the elasticity, which is essential for the cloud performance, can respond immediately to any system error in the car to protect the passenger’s life.
Another risk might be present if the smartphone connected to your car is stolen. In this situation, the cloud should be able to block and track the vehicle including the stolen smartphone.
Even though cloud technology in cars is evolving very fast, we must wait a little bit to experience this promising technology in daily life since all new technologies are not affordable for everyone when they are launched into the market.