Home > Ask Gary > What is a “connected” vehicle?

What is a “connected” vehicle?

XC90 DisplayAs vehicles become more complex, computerized and sophisticated, “connected” means they can communicate all kinds of data to smartphones, something we’ll hear more about in the future. By the time your young children are able to drive or reach adulthood, most, if not all vehicles will be computer literate and transmitting data. They will provide wireless internet connections on wheels!

More than likely your vehicle will be able to communicate information about itself and its driver to other vehicles, the manufacturer, and other service providers. AAA is raising the question: “Who owns that data?” And they believe that consumers should own their data. They are promoting transparency and promoting a bill of rights called “Consumer Rights for Car Data.”

“Consumers have a right to clearly understand what information is being collected…and how it is being used,” said a AAA spokesperson, who wants both the government and businesses to explain what data they collect and how they will use it. They also want consumers to have the right to decide who has access to their data and what they are doing with it. Things like repairs may be transmitted, as one example.

A government report released in 2013 identified ten companies that currently collect vehicle location and other data. In a survey conducted by AAA, 68% of respondents were “Concerned” or “Very concerned” about privacy and security of their data. Believe it or not, about 3 million vehicles sold this year will have some “connected” features, according to R.L. Polk & Company. They predict all vehicles will be connected by 2025. The U.S. Department of Transportation is investing in the research and technology for connected vehicles.

All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion agree with the premise that consumers should have the right to determine who receives their vehicle information. Data regarding purchases or leases and service should not be released to companies, as a condition of buying or leasing a connected vehicle. There should be security measures in place to protect vehicle information, the same as you would expect for your home or work computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

The benefit of connected vehicles is that vehicles will become one giant computer on wheels! Within the next few years, vehicles may be better able to let you know what is wrong with your vehicle and even let you know what parts are wearing out, before they do. This could potentially help prevent accidents.

I’ve written about Volvo researching how to create a vehicle that will be able to drive itself while you can multi-task and take your eyes off the road. The Volvo of the future will be able to detect and avoid potential accidents, as many vehicles of the future will be able to communicate with each other to avoid accidents. They will also help monitor traffic conditions. There will be more active safety systems in vehicles of the future, with even better brake assist, forward collision warning systems, and better cruise control. You will be able to connect your smart phone to the vehicle, as you may do now with the newer-model Bluetooth available in Toyotas and Volvos.

The 2016 Volvo XC 90 that we’ve been so excited about has integrated most of the dashboard controls into a tablet-like touchscreen display built into the center console (pictured above). The vertical orientation is a unique addition to the XC90, making it easier to see and use the touchscreen.

Who knew? Your vehicle may end up having a higher I.Q. than you in the future! Stay tuned to learn more about this exciting technology in your smarter “connected” vehicle!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

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