Get a life – and share it with your car
Just a generation ago the humble motor vehicle doubled as a ‘fortress of solitude’, a place the long arm of everyday responsibility couldn’t reach and a haven for those seeking a few moments’ headspace at the start or the end of a busy day. But unreachability is an increasingly scarce commodity these days. The introduction of hands-free systems has transformed the fortress into an office on four wheels for many, and now technology lurking just around the corner will bring our home-life cares to us on the road as well.
“Imagine a parcel courier rings your doorbell. As you are on the road, an image of the delivery person appears on your car’s screen. Now, you can directly communicate with him using the vehicle display.” This is a scenario Continental invites us to imagine; the company is presenting a “holistic app framework” at the IAA show in Frankfurt, and says it will “make this experience a reality.”
“In-car apps will soon connect drivers with their homes as well as with other personal devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wearables,” comments Seval Oz, CEO at Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems, the business unit Continental created last year. “Continental ITS is excited to present its first in-vehicle developer app framework that will make the connected car a powerful extension of the driver’s smart home and connected lifestyle.”
The platform, which is being showcased for the first time at this year’s Frankfurt motor show, allows for the delivery of rich media content, home to connected car services and social media services that deliver the in-vehicle app framework through Continental cloud based services. Development of the platform has seen Continental cooperate with Vinli Inc., creator of the gadget that plugs into a car’s under-dash data port and turns it into a connected vehicle that, in Continental’s words, “enables drivers to interact using real time vehicle data with IoE (Internet of Everything) devices and other drivers, creating a seamless connection to digital life outside the car.”
Continental reports that its ITS business unit has “more predictive CleverHome applications” in the pipeline, and these will “transform the vehicle into a smart personal device or another room in the house.” These applications include controlling smart home features such as room temperature based on the car’s navigation information and driver’s daily driving habits.
We know Continental best as a tyre maker, and its latest ultra-high performance tyre, the SportContact 6, shares IAA stand space with this vehicle as smart device technology. And it is hard to reconcile this fabulous new tyre with Continental’s intelligent, connected car activities. The company is committed to seeing fully automated driving become a reality from 2025, and while the safety benefits attached to this should be applauded the idea isn’t a natural bedfellow for tyres that embrace the partnership between driver and car. We can only hope that Continental doesn’t forget the fun factor in driving during its ongoing quest to tech-up your car. Or that it’s sometimes nice to be unreachable.