There’s no question that the number of electric vehicles (EVs) has exponentially grown over the past couple of years. But there’s a new type of vehicle that’s also seen rapid growth and is just as revolutionary as EVs: connected cars. According to Insider Intelligence and eMarketer data, 53.7% of licensed drivers in 2023 have a connected car and accessed its internet-enabled features at least once in the past year. The data also suggests that the percentage of drivers will increase from 53.7% to 60.2% in 2027.
So, what’s the big deal with connected cars? We’ll dive into what a connected car is, how it works, and the benefits and concerns around this automotive innovation.
What Is a Connected Car?
A connected car is a vehicle that can connect to the internet and communicate with other devices, networks, and services. It comes equipped with advanced technologies and features that use hardware and software to improve safety, convenience, and entertainment for drivers and passengers.
How Do Connected Cars Work?
Currently, automobile companies use two types of connected car technology inside these vehicles: embedded and tethered-only systems.
- Embedded system: Connected cars with an embedded system contain proprietary built-in interfaces (e.g., myAudi, AcuraLink, Mercedes-Benz MBUX, etc.) that connect to 3G, 4G LTE, or 5G VoLTE wirelessly via proprietary internet connectivity.
- Tethered-only system: Connected cars with a tethered-only system feature proprietary embedded systems (e.g., myAudi, AcuraLink, Mercedes-Benz MBUX, etc.) or aftermarket head units (e.g., Alpine, Sony, Pioneer, etc.) that connect to 3G, 4G LTE, or 5G VoLTE through mobile devices via Bluetooth, USB connections, or dongle adaptors. Connected cars with these systems include vehicles equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Both systems provide services such as infotainment (music, news, social media, etc.), navigation and routing, emergency and driver assistance, and health and wellness. It can also send and receive data and download software updates. Additionally, connected cars often incorporate telematics systems that collect and transmit data about the vehicle's performance, location, and status. This data can be used for diagnostics, maintenance, and real-time monitoring.
Benefits of Connected Cars
Connected cars offer several benefits that enhance the driving experience, including:
- Real-time maps and traffic alerts: Connected cars offer access to real-time maps and navigation, which can help you find the quickest routes and avoid traffic jams. Additionally, these vehicles can receive and transmit information about traffic congestion, accidents, and road conditions, helping you avoid hazardous situations.
- Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS): Many connected cars have ADAS features to help increase driver safety, including lane-keeping assistance, blind-spot monitoring, collision avoidance systems, and adaptive cruise control.
- Emergency assistance: If you’re involved in a car accident, these vehicles can automatically contact emergency services, helping save response time and potentially saving lives.
- Entertainment: Passengers can enjoy plenty of entertainment options, including streaming music, video, and social media, from the vehicle’s infotainment system.
- Maintenance alerts: Connected cars can monitor their own system and alert you about potential issues, helping you prevent breakdowns and extend your vehicle’s lifespan.
- EV integration: In terms of electric vehicles, connected car systems can help locate charging stations, monitor battery health, and optimize charging times to reduce energy costs and environmental impact.
- Data insights: The data collected from connected cars can be analyzed to gain insights into your driving patterns, preferences, and vehicle performance, which can be used for product development and personalized services.
Concerns of Connected Cars
While connected cars offer numerous benefits, they also raise a few concerns, especially when it comes to privacy and security.
- Data privacy — Connected cars collect considerable data regarding driving habits, contacts, locations, and vehicle performance. As a driver or passenger, this feature may raise concerns about who’s accessing this information and how it’s being used and shared.
Cybersecurity risks — Like any other device that connects to the internet, connected cars can be vulnerable to cyber threats and hacking. If an unauthorized person gains access to a vehicle system, it can risk safety, privacy, and security. Cyberattacks may involve unauthorized control of vehicle functions, personal data theft, or even the possibility of remote hijacking.
The rapid growth of connected cars is a testament to the power of technology and its ability to transform industries. As time passes, you can anticipate even more breakthroughs that can enhance the safety of our roads and bring greater convenience to our lives.
However, accidents can still happen, and you’ll need auto insurance to ensure you’re financially protected. Consider Mercury, where we offer best-in-class coverage at an affordable rate. Talk with us today for an auto insurance quote, and ask us about our car insurance discounts to help reduce your monthly premium.