We want the same anywhere/anytime access to apps in our car that we enjoy on our phones and mobile devices, from Google Maps to Twitter. What are some of the other sorts of apps drivers are most eager to see?
Most anticipated car apps
- Apps will initially focus on assisting the driver. We want voice-activation features to attempt avoiding distraction. But after years of teasing us with compromised, half-baked options, we want voice functions that actually work. True, reliable voice integration is what drivers are waiting for.
- Apps that quickly locate ride-sharing opportunities will be big for urban drivers and millennials, who are buying cars in fewer numbers than previous generations. Helping you coordinate these options will save you time and money, and help reduce congested traffic.
- Among the most sought-after are the more practical apps, like those dealing with weather, and those identifying the most affordable local gas prices and hotel options. Quickly locating open parking spots will be another popular app feature.
- There’s big demand for integrated vehicle infrastructure apps. These apps allow drivers to have real-time updates on the performance of their vehicles, and insight on where efficiency can be improved. We are seeing this already in apps that provide route guidance suggestions based on fuel economy and current traffic conditions. The cloud will connect us to subscription services that will make this easy and automatic.
Apps Are Just The Beginning
The truth is, apps of this kind are mostly just eye candy. Increasingly, such capabilities are expected by consumers and provide little in the way of differentiation for the automaker.
Consumers are willing to pay for functionality and features touching on two key desires: safety and convenience. These capabilities will outsell those consumer electronics or mobile phone apps in the car. But unlike today’s IVI-related features, delivering on the promise of safety and convenience poses new challenges for automakers. These include:
- Cars need sufficient system processing power as they begin to incorporate assisted-driving capabilities and eventually move into the realm of autonomous driving; A handful of automakers have committed to offering autonomous cars by as early as 2020
- Safety must remain paramount, including guarding against distracted driving
- Relevancy and safety should take precedence when it comes to determining which apps to integrate and how
- The car will require an intelligent combination of hardware and software; This will enable it to anticipate what information the driver needs and when, offering up that information unobtrusively based on the specific situation
The Road Ahead
It’s not going to be easy, but consumers are willing to pay for advancements that better deliver on promises of safety and convenience. We’re at the very tip of the iceberg in terms of what the car will be able to offer. And automakers are listening, working hard to provide a technology experience that is intuitive, unique, and, eventually, invisible to the user.
I’ll be speaking more about advancements like these at Open Automotive ’14 in Gothenburg, Sweden, May 20, 2014, on the panel “Automotive Suppliers: Collaborate or Die.” See you there? Or follow me on Twitter: @Intel_Joel