The Convergence of Automotive Systems, Embedded Systems, and Cloud Technology
[Guest Post] By Lenin VJ Nair, MSys Tech. Posted on 23 January 2014
In the past few years, cloud technology and embedded systems have managed to change automotive technology in a drastic new way. In the past ten to twenty years alone, cars have developed more than they ever did in the last century. All automotive giants today are taking advantage of embedded computing technologies in order to deliver maximum advantage to customers. In this article, let’s look at how the cloud technology, embedded systems, and smart grid technology will influence automotive systems in the near future.
Smart grid has been in existence since 2003, and it provides vast new ways of using our electrical grid for smarter communication. This is the unprecedented new way in which analog system in the electrical grid is making use of digital technology for more effective communication. In essence, imagine how smart grid can pave way to better connected electric vehicles. The car communicates better, is capable of plugging in at any time, and runs longer than your gas car ever could.
One noticeable development in electric car industry came with the advent of Tesla Model S. With soon-to-be-released Model X, Tesla Motors is going further in the area of electric automotive systems. The car is capable of either battery replacement or rapid charging in thirty minutes and can go more miles than your petrol car in one full charge. Also, it is a connected computer with all embedded technologies built in and accessible through a huge LCD touch panel.
In the last few years, technology changes have been the driving factor of innovation in all industries, let alone automotive. A study indicates that until 2015, technology changes in general are going to spell growth or doom for any automotive company in the world. How does cloud computing technology fit in in this scene?
One of the ways in which Tesla innovates its embedded system is by providing over the air (OTA) updates to its firmware. The car simply can act as a modern smartphone getting its updates automatically. This is possible with the help of seamless connectivity now available on modern cars, thanks to cloud technology.
In North America, General Motors has pioneered in overall vehicle connectivity with its subsidiary company, OnStar. With the OnStar technology onboard, your vehicle can provide in-vehicle security, hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, and remote diagnostics. The services of this company, with over six million customers, is available throughout the US, Canada, and China.
In Europe, connected car market is moving very actively forward. The GSM Association, GSMA, has involved in getting the connected cars forward. It expects that more than 20 percent of the cars sold by 2015 will include embedded solutions; by 2025, every car will be connected in more ways than ever. Also, regulations are coming up in the European Union and Russia about making it mandatory to include embedded connectivity on all new cars. Also, by 2018, over 21 million cars are expected to have smartphone connectivity.
Statistics aside, imagine how the car connectivity features will enhance your vehicles and your on-road safety features. OnStar already provides safety features. For instance, if your car gets into an accident, it immediately communicates with the nearest car safety center in order to quickly get help for you. Another advantage that these systems are likely to bring is pay-as-you-drive insurance. This ensures that you don’t have to renew your insurance every year, pay only when you need it. It effectively makes your driving more convenient and pleasurable.
The way the cloud interfaces with your vehicle is mind-blowing. Cars will be able to connect seamlessly through mobile devices such as the iPhone or an Android phone to access all kinds of services from the cloud—music, navigation, infotainment, etc. Telematics on vehicles has gone far beyond recognition.
Companies are involving more and more in cloud and embedded technology for the automotive industry. Already the forecast is that the connected car industry will be worth over five hundred billion dollars by 2022. Google, Apple, IBM, etc., are some of the technology giants either already in or extensively researching in connected car technologies. Auto makers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, GM, Porsche, etc., have advanced car technologies available today. In this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, you probably could see some innovations from BMW and Audi such as self-driving cars and automatic parking. The coming days will show us much more advanced features on our automobiles.
About the Author: Lenin VJ Nair works for MSys Tech as senior content writer. The company focuses on various technology areas such as storage, cloud computing, test automation, embedded systems, telecommunication, virtualization, etc. During free time, he can be seen blogging in mobile technology through Blue Bugle blog.
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