The latest connected-car technology integrates drivers into their environment and embeds the car into their daily lives. Mobility and connectedness are now irrevocably intertwined in a way that caters to everyday human needs writes Tarryn Knight, Head of Product and Marketing at Audi South Africa.
The capacity for connected-car technology to revolutionise society, as well as the driving experience, is one of the most exciting developments in the automotive sector in recent years. However, connected cars are most effective when they directly meet people’s practical needs. It’s about technology that enables human progress.
So significant are the changes that this technology can cause, that connected vehicles are now also an interesting topic of government policymakers, urban planners, environmentalists and cybersecurity experts.
The broader social impacts will need to be addressed as connected vehicles enter the mainstream – and this process will be ongoing, as technology evolves. However, the fundamental, life-changing effect of the technology will be experienced personally, on the human level. Connected cars are changing the driving experience forever.
Part of the environment
As connected cars redefine driving, they transform our relationship with our digital and real-time environment. No longer are we travelling through it as interested observers. Today, and in other first world markets, the connected car is integrated into its surroundings, generating and receiving data through V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure) technology in a continuous stream of communication, all geared to enhancing the driver’s safety and their enjoyment of the drive.
At the same time, the vehicle itself is generating data, which can be shared with the driver, with other vehicles on the road and with surrounding infrastructure – to improve everyone’s mobility experience.
Today, vehicle manufacturers no longer sell mobility only – we sell connectivity and integrated digitalisation. It is connectivity that’s dynamic, translating data into action – to get the driver to their destination as safely, enjoyably and efficiently as possible.
At Audi, we look to remove boundaries and use technology to simplify the interaction of driver, vehicle and environment for a more customised, personal experience. The car becomes at once an intelligent companion and an extension of the driver, reaching out into the world via technology.
On a practical level, the technical innovations of the connected car are about that most precious commodity in the modern world – time itself.
The connected vehicle gives the driver more time – through better route planning, parking navigation, real-time traffic information and booking capabilities, as well as more efficient integration with their digital life, via smartphone apps.
Read-aloud functions can even keep the driver up to speed with work emails, online news and social media, allowing for multi-tasking when it’s necessary. Natural language and 3D optics further improve the driver’s understanding of the environment and control his or her position in it.
The main principle is that human needs must guide the technological advances. We’ve expressed this idea in our “Future is an attitude” brand campaign coinciding with the launch of a very important model in the local Audi model range, the updated Audi A4 with Audi connect technology.
The Audi A4, long a flagship in Audi’s South African range, now includes Audi connect technology, making it more progressive and forward-thinking than ever before, while staying true to the human needs that drive progress.
With connected vehicles such as the new Audi A4, saving time and delivering the driver with the right information at the right moment relieves the driver of mental strain, making for a relaxed – and therefore safer – driving experience.
It’s in emergencies where the connected vehicle really comes into its own. A call for roadside assistance can be made from the vehicle in the event of a breakdown or minor accident. The car can make automated emergency calls on behalf of the occupants if the accident renders them unable to call for help. Maintenance is also handled proactively, with appointments being scheduled and the driver alerted accordingly.
This is all alongside a full suite of car controls and multimedia content delivered through the Audi MMI system via Apply CarPlay or Android Auto. Operation is intuitive, and voice operated – again, to ensure optimal safety, efficiency and comfort.
Even when the driver is away from the car, he or she can communicate with it via the MyAudi app on their smartphone. In this sense, the car becomes part of their daily lives, and its capabilities extend well beyond the mobility and premium driving experience the care provides.
At Audi, we see the connected car as the ideal expression of customer centricity as a brand and business. We are now able to use technology to customise the mobility experience precisely to the driver’s needs.
Mobility and connectedness are no longer separate concepts. They blend and coalesce. Today, not to be connected while on the move is unimaginable. It’s vastly empowering to be connected, to be able to travel virtually, as well as physically.
There is a symbiotic relationship between our ability to understand the world, and to navigate it physically, through innovation. Truly, technology is now our ally, enabling our journey through the world, via the connected car.