Six ways remote access technology will revolutionise the automotive industry

From self-driving cars to remote technicians, car manufacturers are morphing into all-encompassing technology companies where experience is the new currency

Car manufacturers are morphing into all-encompassing technology companies that will differentiate themselves through the connected ‘experience’ they can offer. Disruptive market entrants such as Uber are also making traditional taxi firms compete by using in-car connectivity to reduce journey times and offer a premium passenger experience.

Meanwhile, safety requirements are evolving to keep pace with connected cars with calls for vehicles to remotely send crime notifications to police or allow dealerships to ‘remote in’ and respond to electronic infiltrations by hackers in real-time.

Here are six ways in which we predict that remote access technology will create a new kind of vehicle over the next decade.

Auto technicians will fix vehicle defects remotely

Hauliers are required to move more goods across greater distances than ever before and improve delivery times to keep up with rising online retail spending.

This will require fleet managers to find ways to remotely regulate everything from fuel use to software failures in real-time. In the near future, remote access features will enable control centres to remotely monitor vehicle health, speed, CO2 emissions and whereabouts of roving vehicle fleets in real-time to improve efficiency. The technology will enable entire teams of experts on iPads or PCs, to remotely view instrument clusters and fix software problems even on the move.

Commercial vehicle manufacturers are already implementing web-based platforms that enable technicians to access their fleets in order to monitor efficiency, fix system faults or calibrate equipment from anywhere in the world.

‘Connected taxis’ will allow BYOD

We will begin to see established taxi firms offer ‘connected taxis’ that let passengers stream movies, apps and music from smartphones to in-cab screens, or even view their office PC or home CCTV cameras from the car.

Future cabs will allow live connectivity between cab and cloud and between passenger, driver and car, creating journeys where call centres can see inside dashboards and instrument clusters and passengers could get location-based ‘virtual tours’ in augmented reality.

Connected cabs will reduce journey times through location-based, real-time traffic or hazard forecasts and allowing vehicle faults to be remotely diagnosed and fixed on the road.

Future cabs will allow live connectivity between cab and cloud and between passenger, driver and car, creating journeys where call centres can see inside dashboards and instrument clusters and passengers could get location-based ‘virtual tours’ in augmented reality.

One London taxi firm, Metrocab, is building futuristic taxis that allow passengers to stream emails, films or music to the cab, transforming the taxi into a mobile office or movie theatre.

We’ll get location-based products, services and car upgrades on the road

The automotive market is increasingly saturated and competitive, driving automotive firms to find new revenue streams through on-the-road interaction between OEMs and consumers.

Connected cars will generate a mass of valuable driver and vehicle data which can be monetised by insurance companies and other services that could help make journeys safer. Dealerships will issue new features ‘over-the-air’ and could even beam personalised adverts on to in-car passenger screens and phones based on live location, weather, and driver behaviour data in real-time.

Google self-driving car

For example, if it is sunny, a vehicle dashboard will direct the driver to the best nearby beaches or ice-cream vendors while in the evening it could direct drivers to great deals on hotels or clubs.

Automotive firms are already seeing the potential of future car connectivity to expand revenue streams. The value of the global connected vehicles market is predicted to be a £25bn by 2024.

Vehicles will ‘talk’ to smart cities

Seventy per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, driving some cities towards gridlock.

This is spurring a shift towards cars that use cloud computing and remote access technology to communicate with ‘smart city’ infrastructure to move people and goods more smoothly and efficiently.

Cars will exchange data with ‘smart’ traffic lights that change sequences in response to the amount of traffic or type of vehicle, letting bikes or ambulances through ahead of HGVs.  Location-based hazard forecasts from nearby vehicles, traffic lights, police forces and weather agencies will be superimposed onto drivers’ windscreen through Augmented Reality Head Up Displays.

Remote access technology could enable the sharing of real-time audio, video and images between cars and dealerships, highways agencies or control centres, with drivers receiving audio instructions to change direction or live images of approaching hazards.

Truck fleets will be run by all-purpose control centres that draw on real-time data feeds on everything from acceleration to fuel load, constantly rearranging routes to avoid hazards, pick up unexpected loads or compensate for nearby breakdowns.

Future remote access technology could enable the sharing of real-time audio, video and images between cars and dealerships, highways agencies or control centres, with drivers receiving audio instructions to change direction or live images of approaching hazards.

This would create ‘intelligent’, responsive vehicles that communicate with external agencies and infrastructure to predict and prevent gridlock or accidents and dramatically improve delivery times.

Cars will be remote-controlled from call centres

Britain is already testing driverless shuttle buses and cars, yet it is unlikely that cars will be fully driverless for some time. Instead, the absence of a human at the wheel will necessitate a new way for cars to be ‘driven’ through remote access technology, known as ‘teleoperation.

Future advances in technology will give driverless vehicle operators unprecedented real-time control and oversight over vehicles and could see buses and cars remotely guided around cities from call centres.

If they encounter obstacles, driverless vehicles will ‘ping’ a control centre where an operator will remotely view the car cameras or radar and issue real-time guidance. High-speed, low-latency screen-sharing technology could even enable driverless cars to be remotely steered around cities.

‘Cyber security ‘help-desks’ for cars

Cyber security vulnerabilities in cars have recently led to cars being successfully hacked, leading to increased consumer fear of connected vehicles.  A US Senate cyber security survey of 16 automotive manufacturers recommended that manufacturers do more to monitor electronic systems and respond to intrusions in real-time.

Soon, we will see cyber experts log in to car dashboards to monitor and fight cyber-attacks or patch critical vulnerabilities in real-time, on the road, similar to how IT helpdesks ‘remote in’ to an offsite worker’s laptop to remove a virus. Teams of IT experts at dealerships could remotely diagnose vulnerabilities or issue real-time ‘fixes’ from iPads anywhere in the world.

Author | Tom Blackie, Head of Automotive at RealVNC

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