The Future of the Connected Car

Snow Plows in Alaska connected by WeatherCloud

What is the connected car? Automobile technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, fine-tuning the driving experience. According to McKinsey, the goal of the connected car is to ‘optimize its own operation and maintenance as well as the convenience and comfort of passengers using onboard sensors and Internet connectivity.’ By connecting with the outside world, the in-car experience can be enhanced. Some of these features could include real time location, trip history, maintenance alerts, and engine diagnostics, or mobile applications that make it easy to voice reply to messages or change the music.

Microsoft has predicted that by 2020, 90% of brand new cars will be fully connected, and by 2030, 15% of those cars will be autonomous. There are also growing signs that consumers are increasingly viewing connected car features as the new norm. In McKinsey’s report, more than a quarter of respondents reported that they prioritize Internet connectivity over engine power and engine efficiency, while 13% would not purchase a vehicle without Internet access.

However, obstacles remain in the public’s perception. Mckinsey noted that an average of 37% of potential car buyers they spoke to would not consider a connected car due to fears over digital privacy. Many are also unwilling to fork out extra cash for connectivity features. Only 35% of car buyers would be willing to spend an extra $100 dollars on smartphone integration, while 21% would pay for subscription-based connectivity services.

Nevertheless, it is increasingly evident that connected car technologies are not merely features of convenience that enhance the driving experience. New technologies are already transforming the performance and, most importantly, safety of vehicles and drivers for the better. For example, vehicle data can now be collected and analyzed to predict maintenance needs and eliminate downtime. Voice-controlled in-car productivity services, meanwhile, can reduce distracted driving. Another increasingly important feature is the amalgamation of data from multiple sources to aid navigating from A to B in the most efficient and safest way possible.

While some normal, everyday commuters may still be skeptical of the necessity for connected car technologies, the case is increasingly difficult to ignore for both enterprises and government organizations. Delayed arrivals on account of inclement weather costs the transportation industry 3.5 billion dollars a year, while accidents cost 14 billion. Meanwhile, each year dangerous road conditions result in 7,400 deaths and 700,000 injuries, while municipalities and businesses spend 2.3 billions dollars on snow and ice control operations. It doesn’t have to be this way and the Internet of Things can help change this.

 

Reduce Spending, Manage Resources, Save Lives

This is where Fathym’s IoT-enabled WeatherCloud solution is making an impact. WeatherCloud is a globally-scaled, hyper-local road weather route and point forecast engine, optimized by a network of road weather sensors. WeatherCloud helps drivers avoid accidents and delays by offering the data needed to react to local road weather conditions in real-time. This enables drivers, commercial fleets and Departments of Transportation make judgments regarding road safety and road maintenance in an efficient and timely manner.

Commercial fleets can use WeatherCloud to save tens of thousands of dollars by having access to real-time road condition data, reducing delays caused by inclement weather with accurate, hyper-local weather forecasting and real-time re-routing capabilities. Departments of Transportation are able to employ WeatherCloud’s capabilities to effectively deploy their resources to optimize maintenance, commuting and routing operations. Through deployment of Fathym’s ‘WeatherCloud’ solution, the capacity to reduce spending, manage resources and, most importantly, save lives, is considerable and necessary.

A WeatherCloud Ground Truth Reading

Over the last few years Fathym and the Alaska Department of Transportation have worked together to outsmart Mother Nature and make the roads of Alaska safer. To learn more on how we have achieved this, check out the following articles and video:

 

Microsoft Transform Blog: Outsmarting Winter: How Alaska fights snow and ice to prevent another ‘Icepocalypse’

 

Microsoft Customer Story: How Alaska outsmarts Mother Nature in the Cloud

 

Quartz: Microsoft is enabling Alaska to reduce car deaths on icy roads

Fathym is working closely with Microsoft’s Connected Vehicles Platform. Late last year, Fathym highlighted its WeatherCloud forecasting product suite at AutoMobility LA, a conference focused on the future of transportation. We were featured at Microsoft’s booth, demonstrating how we will utilize the recently announced Azure Location Based Services. Together, we we will continue to help our customers reduce delays and accidents, and hopefully, save lives.