The age of the analogue car is over. The future of driving is digital - and connected

The age of the analogue car is over. The future of driving is digital - and connected

22 May

By Tom Boote

Anyone that drives knows that cars play an important role in both our personal and work lives. We spend a good portion of our time with them every day. They’re not just machines; they enable the way many of us live our lives. And as the way we live away from cars have become more and more digitally connected, so too now are both drivers and passengers increasingly expecting in-car connectivity.

From a consumer perspective, it’s all about access to our personal interests. We want to stream our music at the time that suits us – rather than be a prisoner of radio. We want to share our location and experiences on social networks in real-time – rather than do so after the fact. We want to be able to contact our friends – through audio, video and written media. We want to access and use apps that enhance our driving experience.

Thanks to the broad uptake of Bluetooth wireless technology, many of us can now do all this and more if we’re driving in any number of new cars on the market.

Beyond entertainment, connectivity also keeps us safer. Some vehicles feature built-in SIM cards, allowing for ‘SOS' buttons for use in emergencies. A few motor manufacturers even provide concierge services, enabling people to speak to someone for help or advice. Satelite navigation systems guide us to far flung lands.

Did you know that Continental are at the heart of connectivity?

Like many other technologies in our lives, the car has evolved to become what we need it to be. At Continental, designers and engineers are developing innovative solutions to take connectivity to the next level. Better known for their leading premium tyres, in fact the highly regarded automotive technology company have been at the forefront of car connectivity. As Dr Elmar Degenhart, Chairman of the Board at Continental, says, “We are the architects of an ecosystem of safe, clean and intelligent mobility. We are, after all, already supplying what others are still testing.”

The message is clear: Continental’s future technology isn't just innovative; it's also responsible. And as we go forward, we can almost certainly expect to see virtually all new cars equipped with ultra-fast communication technology, as the need to remain connected to our personal and work lives becomes ever more relevant. Continental technology will feature prominently.

So what are Continental up to? They’ve already been working with Vodafone on 5G, the next generation mobile communication technology which is due to be rolled out very soon, with the intention of giving the vehicles of the future up to 10 gigabits of bandwidth. This will make it feasible to transmit data up to 30 times faster than is possible in the current generation of road cars.

But this bandwidth won’t be used just for driver and passenger entertainment. The new technology will also be purposed for broader, automotive-related applictions. Future connectivity in cars isn’t just about our interaction with them; it is about cars’ communication with other vehicles – and this will be particularly important in the development of autonomous vehicles.

The Swedish automaker, Volvo, recently announced that its vehicles will soon be able to communicate to each other about potentially hazardous levels of grip on the road. It should come as no surprise to learn that Continental are already developing technologies for the next generation of tyres that can detect and communicate grip-related data directing from the rubber to the car – called ContiSense – in real-time. This will help to keep tyres at their optimum best, and improve driver safety.

And it’s just the tip of the iceburg. Connectivity promises to change the way we driver forever.

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