picture of a close up of a pink cadillac

Connected Automotive Technology

No one knew when Bruce Springsteen was driving around in his pink Cadillac that a decade later the technology was around to create GM Motors' first connected car. Onstar was introduced to all the premium models in 1996 via Motorolla technology to help drivers and passengers involved in a collision to get in touch with emergency services.

At first, the systems were exclusive to voice only but as technology and cellular reach expanded the GPS location was also sent to the call centres.

After the turn of the century, remote diagnostics became part of the data the car could pass on including everything from health reports of the engine to turn-by-turn directions creating the birth of true telematics.

picture of a woman in a car on her phone whilst parked

5 Types of connectivity

  • V2I - vehicle to infrastructure – Essentially the car informs the driver about safety or conditions such as the temperature outside to a fault with the car itself.
  • V2C - Vehicle to cloud – exchanging data to industries that collect huge amounts of data about vehicles and driver behaviour to create statistics used for the government like ULEZ or CAZ.
  • V2V - Vehicle to vehicle - We’ve all been beeped at when you are too close to the vehicle in front, our vehicles are keeping tabs on other vehicles in close proximity.
  • V2P - Vehicle to pedestrian – My vehicle is reversing, and you will know about it!
  • V2X – vehicle to everything – interconnecting all types of vehicles and systems with each other from cars to highways with smart technology to ships, trains and even airplanes

A guy stuck on the roadside as his car has broken down.

Connected vehicle applications

Connected car technology can be broken down into further sub-categories

  • Breakdown prevention: offering insights into wear and tear or issues arising to connection to a service should the car suffer a failure
  • Safety: Driver warnings over potential hazards to adaptive cruise control and emergency braking
  • Driver assistance: partial or fully auto-piloted driving for parking or on the motorway
  • Well-being: Vehicles sense drivers' state like fatigue detection or even medical assistance
  • Vehicle management: From MOT and service reminders to tyre tread levels, the system will notify to the vehicle needs.
  • Entertainment: Usually integrated with a smartphone to enable the driver to make calls, connect with music or social media.
  • Commerce: having the ability to purchase fuel, food on-the-go or pay for tolls
  • Mobility management: Using maps to evaluate the best routes for fuel consumption or for parking spots

blurred image of a traffic jam

So how do connected vehicles work?

Vehicles connect to a network to create a two-way communication between other cars, mobile devices and the highway infrastructure. By the system understanding where vehicles are (anonymously), they can understand how to adjust traffic lights to ease the flow of traffic or minimise accidents and incidents through driver awareness, even stepping in to auto brake the vehicle.

With data stored highway management can improve the general flow of traffic and make journey times quicker, use less fuel and keep roads safer all round. As the vehicles are anonymous the system is designed to be tamper-proof.

Apple v Android car connectivity

Naturally, the race for dominance in this field comes from the allegiance to vehicle manufacturers.

2014 was a significant year with Google creating the OAA (Open Automotive Alliance). Google, Honda, GM, Audi and Hyundai siding with the Android system which also had Android Auto, which allows phones to connect to cars. Later on in the year, Apple‘s CarPlay came in with the iPhone 5.

image showing our connected vehicle tracking system on a computer screen

Limitations of connected car technology

All things considered, our privacy is precious and for that reason whilst the system holds vast amounts of data and statistics, these are all anonymised to avoid data breaches. For that very same reason, connected cars within a fleet won’t be able to share data with each other making managing a group of vehicles impossible without having to log into each individual vehicle's data and no way of seeing the fleet in relation to one another on a map or system to evaluate and compare driver performance.

RAM Tracking solution

Using the same connected technology our vehicle tracking and fleet management software allows you see to everything in one place. From the simple view of seeing where the fleet is in real-time on a map to being able to advise drivers where to go quickly in relation to work and jobs to explaining to drivers why their erratic behaviour on the roads affects fuel consumption and the potential to be involved in more collisions.

  • Seeing driving times can also mean the system can work out private vs business mileage
  • Understanding our easy-to-use reports can automatically work out the cost of a job
  • Our points-scoring system can create a league table of who is the best/worst on the road
  • Idling reports can highlight drivers with poor fuel management so you can address this
  • Daily checks of the vehicle can also pinpoint any parts of the vehicle in need of attention

By having all the data at your fingertips and all data tied to drivers and specific vehicles, hours of admin can be cut and significant transportation costs streamlined making the system a huge money saver for any kind of business.


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