The Autonomous Vehicle: A Look Through History

The autonomous vehicle, or self-driving car, has become the focus of the automotive world. More and more, you hear that the connected car is the answer to a variety of transportation ills. From Google to Volvo to Ford to Uber and Lyft, the industry of moving you from one place to another is working feverishly to make the once science fiction dream of a driverless vehicle a reality. However, this seemingly 21st century innovation has not only been in people’s minds for centuries, but attempts and working prototypes have been pursued across the ages. What exactly is an autonomous vehicle?

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In-Car Infotainment: Changing the Driving Experience

The automobile of today is digitally enhanced, navigation system ready and virtually self-driving. These advances lead the majority of drivers to expect the same engagement from their cars as they do from their smartphones. That’s why automakers from Fiat-Chrysler (UConnect) to Hyundai (BlueLink) are focused on and offer in-car infotainment systems that keep drivers and passengers engaged and connected on the road. Being entertained and communicating with whomever and whatever you want with a swipe of a finger or simply speaking a phrase is considered the standard by which all in-car infotainment (also called in-vehicle infotainment) is based, but the experience has been around a long, innovative time. What is in-car infotainment?

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Car Hacking: Safeguarding Your Connected Car

Computer viruses are nothing new. The brutal lessons learned from those who’ve survived them make us more cautious when surfing the digital wave on our devices. But how often do we think of our vehicles as motorized computers? Today’s automobiles include operating systems that provide climate control, fuel efficiency, satellite-based entertainment, automated safety features and more. Basically, we’re driving smartphones on wheels, something we tend to forget.

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Why the Heads-Up Display is the Best Interface for the Connected Car

Today’s drivers are connected to a constant stream of digital information. In principle, this is a good thing, allowing people to access information like turn-by-turn navigation, speed limit and real-time traffic updates quickly and efficiently. However, these same helpful tools can be a significant source of distraction to a driver—especially those without a heads-up display. Accessing digital information while driving is now the norm. In fact, Distraction.gov reports that, at any moment during the hours of daylight, as many as 660,000 drivers across America are actively using cell phones or other electronics.

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The Safety Implications of a Connected Car

In the age of the connected car, it’s hard to believe that just two centuries ago, Francois Isaac de Rivaz invented the first internal combustion engine that would later fit into an automobile. From Charles Kettering to Ralph Teetor, innovators across the decades have improved upon the original model—adding seat belts, power steering, cruise control, power locks and keyless ignition, for example. And more modern innovations are proving to be especially impactful, offering a host of positive safety implications. Today’s cars are more powerful, efficient, automated and connected. The contemporary car is enhanced with automated vehicle technology features that have the computing power of 20 PCs, according to McKinsey & Company.

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Electronic Toll Collection (ETC): A Look at the Past, Present and Future

Winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Economics, William S. Vickery introduced the U.S. to the concept of electronic toll collection (ETC) in the early 1960s. When birthing his brainchild, Vickery had to fight hard to convince Americans that this seemingly complicated method of toll payment would improve the existing system. Today, after seeing the fruits of his labor in play on roadways across the country, few would argue against Vickery’s vision.

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Imagining Our Automotive Future at the Connected Car Expo

Mayor Eric Garcetti pledged to make Los Angeles a center for connected car technology and innovation. If you can’t live without your smartphone, you definitely won’t be able to live without a “smartphone on wheels.” That’s how visionaries at the Connected Car Expo (CCE) in Los Angeles in November described the automated, connected cars they predict will be hitting American roads in the coming years. Mayor Eric Garcetti opened the expo by pledging to make Los Angeles a hub for connected cars and new vehicle technology, indicating that the city’s doors are open to entrepreneurs. According to the entrepreneurs who presented, including representatives of Lyft, Volkswagen, Google, the Los Angeles Taxi Commission and startups like HopSkipDrive, the future of personal automobiles and transportation lies in autonomous vehicles, ensuring safety, neutralizing cybersecurity concerns and ride sharing. Autonomous Vehicles The future will be about rethinking how we view driving and vehicles, and the amount of time we spend on activities related to them.

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Ending Gridlock Paves the Road for Connected Vehicles

We’re on the brink of a connected-vehicle revolution. With the proper investments today, we could be right around the corner from a tomorrow in which connected vehicles (CVs) and a network of smart roads and highways bring us a safer, smarter, greener and more economically-productive surface transportation system. CVs are wirelessly connected to the Internet and to other smart devices — such as your phone or tablet — inside and near the vehicle. Together the vehicle works with those devices and networks to connect the driver and passengers to services and devices outside the car such as other cars, homes, offices or infrastructure. For CVs to reach their potential we need to start upgrading our traditional public roads and highways to intelligent transportation systems (ITS).

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