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The connected vehicle

How in the near future all vehicles will be internet connected

The Internet has become an integral part of our daily lives. We are constantly connected to the Internet, either from our PC, tablet or PDA. And soon, our vehicles will be included in this list. In fact, we have been talking about connected carsfor a long time: these are a kind of vehicle that allows us to connect to the Net and to share information with mobile devices, including our smartphone.

Today, connected cars are not yet a reality, but are expected to become a standard in the upcoming years: according to a new report pubblished in March by Juniper Reasearch, (premier providers of Mobile Research) 92 million vehicles will feature technology which will integrate the smartphone into the head-unit by 2016.

Connected car: what will it be?

It is several years that technology and electronics such as on board computers, electronic control units and GPS, are strongly present in our vehicles. Yet, the automotive industry is getting ready to take a further step, by connecting cars to the Internet and by enabling them to share information with other electronic devices for drivers, especially with smartphones and tablets. The spread of Nfc and Cloud Computing facilitates interconnection. Near Field Communication(Nfc) is a form of short range (up tp 10 cm) wireless communication that enables either data transfer between PCs and mobile devices, or file transfer between wireless systems. On the other hand, Cloud Computing provides the opportunity to remotely store and archive data thanks to special software platforms. In this way, information can be retrieved at any time by simply remaining connected to the Internet. Therefore, in the future we will be able to download applications and maps and be updated on real-time traffic, fuel prices, accidents or route changes, direclty from our car. The spread of this new technology will inevitably bring some advantages, especially in terms of car localization (which should not be underestimated in case of accident or theft) and real-time updates on all the things that may be useful while travelling. On the other hand, the production of cars that are connected to the Internet and to other devices will increasingly accentuate electronics’ predominance on mechanics, a fact that is in part already evident. These are not the only devices that will exchange data and information. Market side, the Automakers will get to work and try to seek partnerships with big computer companies, so that to implement, but not only,  innovative technologies and new software on cars.

The projects

Today, it is already possible to put into words “work in progress” for interconnected cars: infact, some projects, that will have a key role in the production of future vehicles, have been launched. Among these Webinos, who has been financed by the European Commission, aims to create standards for the implementation of applications accessible from any device, from PCs to tablets, from smartphones to the car unit control. The project, which will be completed by August 2013, has brought in more than 20 partners, including institutions, software companies and automakers. Many leading automotive industries have launched a model that “puts into practice” the car connected concept. Some, for example, allow to view, receive real-time updates on the vehicle data (consumption, mileage, fuel level), calculate distances and speed. Information exchange with other devices is yet another prominent element: there should be implemented systems that send and receive data with other peripheral devices in every car.

In our future, therefore, not only will the boundary man-machine become more brief, but also the one between many devices that are now part of our everyday life.

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