The technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and the internet has changed the way people communicate or do their day-to-day tasks. In other words, the world is ‘connected’, and you can find almost everything on the internet. When everything is connected via the internet, why won’t cars do the same? Yes, this new technology is called Connected Car Technology. Connected cars have become the new norm in the automobile industry, and we can only expect it to get better and better. Read on to know more about connected vehicles, connected car features and the future of connected car technology.

Connected Cars: What is it? Features and Benefits - Acko

What is a Connected Car?

In layman’s language, any vehicle/car which can connect to the internet is called a Connected Car. Usually, such vehicles connect to the internet via WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network). A connected vehicle can also share the internet with devices inside and outside the car, and at the same time can also share data with any external device/services. Connected vehicles can always access the internet to perform functions/download data when requested by the user.

How Does Connected Car Technology Work?

Any vehicle which is equipped with internet connectivity can be called a connected car. Currently, automobile companies use two kinds of systems in connected cars: Embedded and Tethered systems. An Embedded vehicle will be equipped with a chipset and built-in antenna, and a Tethered system will be equipped with hardware that connects to the driver’s smartphone. A connected vehicle can access/send data, download software updates/patches, connect with other devices (Internet Of Things or IoT) and also provide WiFi internet connection to the passengers. The connected car telematics can also be accessed through connected technology, and it is extremely useful for electric vehicles.

Features of Connected Vehicles:

A connected vehicle comes equipped with a host of smart and convenient features. The features of connected car technology improve the overall driving and ownership experience, and also adds a safety net with its advanced security features. Below are the smart features of a connected vehicle:

Internet Connectivity in Cars

A connected car is always connected to the internet via an embedded chipset or SIM card, and it can access the internet, provided there is stable wireless network coverage. Connected vehicles can also provide onboard WiFi connectivity, download over-the-air updates released by the manufacturer and access other online apps and services.

App to Car Connectivity

Nowadays, car manufacturers provide a dedicated smartphone app that connects with the vehicle through the wireless network. The app allows users to remotely operate the functions of a car such as locking/unlocking the door, opening sunroof, engine start/stop, climate control, headlight on/off and honk the horn. The app will also help to locate the car via the onboard GPS.

Protecting Young Drivers with “Curfews” 

The connected vehicles come with an important security feature known as Geo-Fencing. In simple words, it creates a geographical boundary on the map and alerts the owner, if the vehicle is driven beyond the set boundary. The geo-fencing can be set via the smartphone app, and this feature will be extremely useful if you are worried about the young/inexperienced drivers taking the car out.

Vehicle to Vehicle Communication

Vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity technology allows connected vehicles to communicate with each other. The V-2-V enables the sharing of vital information such as traffic movement, road conditions, speed limits and much more. V-2-V technology will be a critical part of autonomous vehicles, which are deemed as the future of mobility.

Entertainment

A connected vehicle will allow you to connect to a host of pre-loaded entertainment services/apps. You can listen to music, internet radio or even watch videos (when the vehicle is parked). Apart from that, you can also connect your smartphone to the infotainment system of the car via apps and remotely control the audio/video.

Remote Parking

As the name of the feature suggests, some high-end connected cars even allow you to remotely park the vehicle. Yes, using the smartphone app or the smart key fob, you can get out of your vehicle and manoeuvre the car to park it in the desired spot. This feature will come in handy in tight parking spaces and when you are not confident about parking the car in a very congested area.

Security

Connected vehicles come equipped with several critical security features such as real-time location sharing/tracking, emergency SOS calls in case of an accident, roadside assistance in case of vehicle breakdown and much more. Apart from the onboard safety equipment, these smart safety features come in handy during tricky situations.

5G and Connected Cars:

Self-driving cars or autonomous cars might be the future of mobility, but for now, it’s the connected vehicles which are breaking the barrier of conventional systems. Below are the main highlights of 5G connectivity: 

  • Currently, in India, all connected cars make use of the 4G (4th-Gen) LTE connectivity which offers faster internet speeds and makes for smooth user experience. But the future of IoT is 5G, which is the 5th-Gen of LTE. 
  • Even though the 5G networks are still in the development phase, they will have a huge impact on the automotive industry. 
  • 5G connected cars will be the new norm in the coming years. With more and more connected vehicles hitting the road, the amount of data to be processed will also increase. That’s when 5G connectivity will shine with even faster internet speeds and better coverage.

The 5G connectivity will improve car-to-car communication, and it will help in the better relay of information such as traffic/road conditions, any accidents on the road, speed limits and much more. The upcoming electric vehicles will also utilise the advantages of 5G, and if not self-driving cars, you will be driving a 5G connected vehicle in the future.

Types of Connectivity:

A connected vehicle uses different types of communication technologies, and this is where automotive and information technology works hand in hand. Below are the different types of connectivity technologies:

  • Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I): This type of connectivity is used mainly for the safety of the vehicle. The vehicle communicates with the road infrastructure, and shares/receives information such as traffic/road/weather condition, speed limits, accidents, etc.
  • Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V): The vehicle-to-vehicle communication system allows the real-time exchange of information between vehicles. V2V is also used for the safety of vehicles.
  • Vehicle to Cloud (V2C): The V2C connection is established via the wireless LTE network, and it relays data with the cloud. Vehicle to cloud connectivity is mainly used for downloading over-the-air (OTA) vehicle updates, remote vehicle diagnostics or to connect with any IoT devices.
  • Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P): One of the newest systems used in connected vehicles is the V2P system, and it is also for safety purposes. Vehicles use sensors to detect pedestrians, which gives collision warnings.
  • Vehicle to Everything (V2X): The combination of all the above-mentioned types of connectivity is known as V2X connectivity.

Connected Cars available in India:

The connected vehicle technology is still in its infant stage in the Indian market. Currently, only a few connected cars are on sale in the country. Below are the connected cars available in India:

  • MG Hector: MG Hector is an SUV launched in India in 2019, The SUV is equipped with i-Smart technology, andt it is available in petrol, diesel and petrol-hybrid variants.
  • Kia Seltos: Kia launched the Seltos SUV in India in 2019. The SUV comes with UVO connected technology. The SUV is available with petrol and diesel engine options.
  • Nissan Kicks: Kicks is also an SUV which comes with NissanConnect smart features. The Nissan Kicks is available only with a petrol engine.
  • Hyundai Venue:- The Hyundai Venue is India’s first connected SUV which was launched in 2019. The SUV is equipped with Hyundai’s BlueLink connected technology, and it is offered with both petrol and diesel engine options.
Do you own a car or SUV and looking to renew your car insurance? Do check out the Car Insurance available online.

Consumer Benefits from Connected Cars:

  • Access to a wide range of infotainment/entertainment services on the go.
  • Advanced navigation system through third-party apps.
  • Advanced safety features to reduce the chances of an accident.
  • With reduced chances of an accident, your insurance premium will decrease due to the No Claim Bonus (NCB) policy.
  • Enhanced security features will help you to keep track of your vehicle, even when you’re not driving the vehicle.
  • Remote access to various functions of the vehicle.
Planning to buy a new car? View the different types of cars in India.

Future of Connected Car Technology:

The connected car technology will not be limited to conventional cars. The self-driving vehicles will also make use of this technology to communicate with the road infrastructure and cloud system. But at present, the connected cars are disrupting the automobile industry. With more and more smart vehicles being launched, buyers are leaning towards the connected cars. In the coming years, connected technology will be the new norm, and it will also enhance safety and reduce accidents. The next-gen 5G connectivity will improve the technology, and connected vehicles will be even smarter and smoother to use.

Frequently Asked Questions:

This article has covered all the aspects of connected vehicle technology and by now you should be well-versed with the terminologies involved in the technology. But if you are still confused and have some questions, you can refer to the below common queries related to connected car technology:

What is a connected car, and how different it is from a normal car?

A connected car is a vehicle which can access the internet through an inbuilt connectivity system. It offers smart features such as internet connectivity, remote operation of vehicle functions and advanced security features.

How will a connected car help in an emergency?

A connected vehicle can send SOS notifications and also connect to the emergency services in case of an accident. If the vehicle breaks down, the car will automatically connect to the Roadside Assistance service.

Can connected cars communicate with each other?

Yes, connected cars can communicate through Vehicle To Vehicle (V2V) connectivity system. The vehicles can share information such as traffic, road condition, weather and speed traps.

What is IoT in connected car technology?

Internet of Things (IoT) is a network over which a device can connect with any other smart systems. A connected car is also an IoT device which can interact with other smart devices on the same network.

What is the difference between a connected vehicle and automated vehicle?

An Automated vehicle is equipped with an autonomous technology which can drive the vehicle without any human intervention. A connected car can only connect to the internet and communicate with smart devices.

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