Connected Cars Will Change the Way We Drive

Connected cars can update mapping data, improve safety systems performance and implement updates to improve performance. Now, the automotive world is pushing into using connectivity to actively and preemptively prevent crashes.

Chris Teague

April 20, 2021

2 Min Read
ZF_sensor Wrong-way_
ZF sensors designed to prevent wrong-way traffic crashes.ZF

Cars have been able to update software and implement new features remotely for years now. But with advancements in technology and improvements in internet speeds, the age of the connected car may soon be here.

As part of the internet of things (IoT), connected cars can update mapping data, improve safety systems performance and implement updates to improve performance.

But as impressive as those things are, the automotive world has moved past them and has pushed into using connectivity to actively and preemptively prevent crashes and other dangers on the road.

SAE International’s recent virtual WCX Digital Summit dedicated an entire series of presentations and talks on how IoT and connected vehicles will change the way we drive. Here are three examples from the conference.

Curbing Wrong-Way Crashes

The number of wrong-way driving accidents remains quite high, despite transportation agencies’ efforts with signage and pavement markings.

As the presentation notes, those measure may deter wrong-way driving in some cases. But in-vehicle communications would be much more effective at reaching drivers and alerting them to the dangers ahead.

As part of the IoT, a vehicle’s onboard connectivity features could enable it to detect wrong-way maneuvers and allow the driver to avoid the situation.

Safety and Efficiency for Commercial Vehicles

Connectivity can provide added layers of safety for commercial vehicles and may help improve efficiency along the way.

One example given here was the use of in-vehicle connectivity to communicate with sensors located along the road, which deliver data on road temperature, wind, slope and other factors to the vehicle.

This information is combined with onboard data on braking performance, speed and fuel consumption to guide the driver on the best way to navigate road conditions such as curves, downhill grades and inclement weather.

Simulations have shown that the speed planning systems can improve fuel consumption by over 9% when compared to cruise control and over 4% when compared against an experienced driver on the same route.

Automated and Improved Vehicle Diagnostics

The days of the check engine light may be numbered, but you won’t get away from vehicle maintenance anytime soon.

Connected vehicles can use their communications tools to improve maintenance and upkeep experiences for their owners by not only constantly monitoring themselves, but by also gathering new data from the cloud to improve the accuracy and timeliness of maintenance alerts.

Connected diagnostic systems (pictured below) learn through the data they receive from the cloud and also run diagnostic algorithms based on the vehicle’s speed, engine, drivetrain and electronics. If an issue is detected, the diagnostics alert the driver via emails and text messages.

ZF service bay diagnostic.jpg

ZF service bay diagnostic

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