What are connected cars?

We have connected devices, connected homes and now connected car technology is becoming more common place. But what exactly is a connected car and what are the benefits of driving one?

A connected car is part of the ‘internet of things’ – a way of connecting everyday objects to the internet, allowing them to make our daily lives easier.

Think ‘connected car’ and you might instantly conjure up images of a futuristic world but connected cars are already on the roads. And with advances in technology, manufacturers are looking at how they can make our cars even smarter.

Usually connected cars have an internal SIM, which allows them to remain connected to the internet at all times. They can also connect to your phone via Bluetooth and to GPS through their on- board sat nav systems.

So, what’s so great about a car that’s connected? Well in short, like other connected technologies, it means you can ‘talk’ to your car when you’re not actually with it.

Why would you need to keep in touch with your car?

In the simplest form, connected cars allow you to link your phone, via Bluetooth, to the cars infotainment system. Allowing you to make hands-free calls and access your music collection. If your car has these features, then you’re already driving a connected car! And some new cars are being developed with Apple Car Play and Android auto, which mirror your phone screen to the car infotainment system. 

Location, location. Have you ever wasted time wandering through a multi-storey wondering where on earth you parked your car? With a connected car, that becomes a thing of the past. It will send a signal to your phone with a location reminder and in some cases whether you’ve locked your car.

Help in an emergency. Get help at the touch of a button if you break down, or automatically alert the emergency services if you’re in a serious crash. Connected cars will also give the emergency services your exact GPS location.

Warm up. On a cold winter’s morning, you can start the car to defrost the windscreen before you need to leave. Similarly, on a hot summer’s day, pop on the air-con to pre-cool your car. Both of which can be done remotely from your smart phone, while you car remains locked.

On board WIFI. In a connected car, passengers can use the 4G internet connection as a WIFI hotspot. Giving a stronger, reliable signal even when stopped in the quietest of country lanes.

Predictive navigation. Whether it’s re-routing you around a traffic jam or learning your most frequent destinations and suggesting the best available route, your  sat nav becomes even more helpful with connected car technology.

What’s next?

As technology advances,  connected cars may be able to work out how you’re feeling when you get into the car, playing music to suit your mood or detect you’re on your way home and turn your heating on or order food from your favourite takeaway.

There will also be synchronisation with autonomous driving technology. Perhaps you’ll be able to command your car when you want to head off and then leave your car to park itself once you arrive.

We’d love to hear how you’re using connected technology and if you have any predictions on what the future will look like. Let us know over on our Facebook page