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Home Life on the Connected Open Road

The Internet of Things means that far more everyday objects are now connected to the internet. Many of these being home objects and appliances, like thermostats, voice-controlled smart speakers and even smart refrigerators that monitor your food supply. These smart sensors play a big role, monitor household comings and goings.

The problem is that all these devices work but are detached from your life outside of the home. This is where the connected car comes in. In the future, the car will connect with ‘home’ acting as a central control hub and be your ‘home away from home’.

With most modern cars being equipped with telematics and other systems to connect to SatNavs and eCall or bCall systems, the infrastructure is there to get more value for money. But how would it work?

If someone is going on a business trip then there’s a host of different arrangements that need to be coordinated. These can all be handled by the connected car. If the person has a flight that leaves at 10am, they should be at the airport by 8am to check-in. They may actually have to wake up at 6am to get on the road in plenty of time.

However, if there’s an accident on the road, then plans need to change. This is the connected car’s job. It will constantly monitor the route to confirm journey times. However, the driver still needs to reach the airport at the same time. But, in order to achieve this, they may need to be up at 5am instead of 6am. Understanding that more time is needed, the car will send an alert to set the alarm clock for earlier. The car will then regulate other devices, switching on the heating and radio to help get the day started, and waking up other appliances around the home. When you transition from home to car, you can also expect to have the same temperate and radio station in your car.

En route to the airport, the car may find out that the airport carpark is full. Fortunately, it can provide alternative parking options and locate a secure carpark with plenty of spaces. The car will then automatically pre-book a parking bay, and redirect there. Simply by using the car as a hub to control everything, the business trip has had a stress-free start, despite the potential for delays.

But the problems may not end there. On the way home, the flight could be delayed. The car would be able to monitor flights and expected arrival times and automatically extend its parking slot to meet the plane’s arrival, setting a domino chain into motion. The heating in the house would be set to come on later, a food order could be postponed or cancelled – a favourite TV programme could even be recorded. If the trip is delayed overnight, the car could set the lights of the house to come on in a pre-set pattern, deterring burglars.

Gone would be the days of sitting in traffic and getting frustrated. There would be plenty of time for journeys, reducing the need to try and switch in and out of lanes and drive dangerously to make up time. Planning and booking a safe, secure parking bay will also reduce the danger of car theft, especially if cars are left overnight at stations or airports.

There may still be some way to go before our cars are playing this central role in our home life as well as driving life. However, with increasing advances in connectivity through the Internet of Things, the day in the life described above may not be as science fiction as it sounds. Using our phones to control things around us is already a reality – we’re not far from letting our cars do it automatically.

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