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Connected Cars – The Disruptive Revolution

Posted on: February 3, 2016 by Platinum Direct

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A world full of self-driving cars is one thing – but what about a giant web of cars that could constantly communicate?

The way we’ve interacted with our cars has stayed pretty much the same since their inception. We push one button to go, another to stop, and whether the car is pointing in the right direction or not depends entirely on how good your decision making is on that particular day.

If the car needs fuel, you get out and refuel it. If the car needs something – an oil change, more fuel or a servicing, it lets you know with a little dashboard light, but its up to you to make sure your car gets what it needs.

But with new in advancements in GPS, motion tracking and cruise control technology, we now have cars that can park themselves, speed up and down adaptively on the motorway and even brake when a kangaroo jumps out in front of you.

All these developments are set to culminate in the next stage of motor travel over the next five years. That is, fully autonomous cars that will take you anywhere in the world without anyone ever having to get behind the driver’s seat.

If the car needs fuel, you will send it out to refuel itself. If it needs an MOT, it can take itself to the nearest garage automatically. Need a lift home from the bar? No problem, call your car to pick you up.

The advantages of driverless cars are huge.

  • Traffic deaths are set to plummet. As while some mechanical issues will be expected, the majority of accidents are caused by human error. Without having to worry about drunk or tired drivers, how much safer will our roads be?
  • It will be incredibly convenient. Imagine being able to catch a precious extra half hour of sleep on your way to work, or never having to call a late night cab again.
  • It will save time. Driving occupies your full attention for long periods of time. If you could sit back and enjoy the ride you could catch up on those reports, or read that novel you’ve been putting off.

There will probably be countless more advantages we can’t even predict until they are upon us. Having our own autonomous cars would take us one step closer to living in some kind of sci-fi utopia.

But wait, there’s more…

The Internet of Things

The ‘Internet of Things’ is a movement that aims to connect all your household utilities to each other via the internet. For example, your fridge might notice you are out of eggs, so a notice pops up on your phone offering to order some in. Your heating could be controlled by the weather forecast and your lights could be synced to sunrise and sunset.

Currently, the autonomous cars in development are exactly that – autonomous. They will be able to get around without any direct control, but at the same time, they are operating in complete isolation from all other cars around them.

They will be able to detect the car’s movements using motion sensors, but won’t necessarily be able to predict them. For example, if the first driverless car in a queue has to make an emergency stop, the sensors of the car behind would detect the car was breaking and then hit its own breaks. The car behind that would break as soon as the second car began stopping, and so on. This delay in breaking could cause large pileups as it does in our people-powered cars.

However, if the driverless cars were all networked with one another and communicating via the internet, as soon as the first car breaks it could send an instant signal to the cars behind it. This way, all the cars could break almost simultaneously, reducing the chance of a pileup.

A world in which all cars on the road could communicate to every other car would create a hugely efficient transport system. Instead of having thousands of robots trying work its way around all the other robots, we’d have a stream of perfectly in sync traffic flowing like water.

Cars could travel bumper to bumper, saving space on the roads. Cars would be able to move in and out of each other without ever crashing. If a car wanted to pull out, it could send a message to all nearby cars which would be able to accommodate it immediately. This would lead to fewer traffic jams and much better fuel efficiency.

If every car can be ‘networked’ to every other car, theoretically they could connect to the internet as a whole. This could mean they could use Google maps data to find out where high levels of traffic are and plan routes around it, or listen out for accidents or severe weather warnings and plan accordingly.

The downsides…

As with every disruptive technology, this connected web of driverless cars could have a hugely negative impact on many people’s lives.

Many people who work in transport – taxi drivers, lorry drivers, white van men, delivery drivers, would all be automated out of their jobs.

We’d also need less car crash investigators, less auto insurance, lollypop ladies, road sign manufacturers, crash testers, stunt drivers and traffic cops and more. The knock-on effect of automating cars would affect jobs in all industries.

Another issue would be with privacy. The trade off of having your car constantly connected to the web would be that not only would your car be constantly tracked, but your car would carry your travel history, similar to your internet browsing history – and we all know how dangerous that could be if that fell into the wrong hands.

If we were constantly streaming our identity, location and destination then the police, our government and private companies would be fighting constantly over this data so they could track potential criminal activity or even just sell us stuff on our dashboard computers.

If you are looking to buy a new car just in time for the autonomous revolution, make sure you use Platinum Direct Finance to get the best rates, best service and best products.

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