After 20 years, you are finally donating your Ford Taurus to your favorite charity and are ready to buy a new connected car that will transport you into the 21st century. Years after buying it at the auto dealership, and wondering if the optional cruise control was worth it, you’re finally stepping up to a truly intelligent car. But what a ride it’s been, with the countless memories, vehicle-related transactions – and hassles.
Like a living creature, an automobile has a long and complicated life-cycle that makes automobile ownership or leasing a big responsibility. Over the years, you’ve had countless oil changes, continuously paid insurance premiums, and had to renew your registration regularly.
You took your vehicle into the shop for periodic maintenance. As it got older, you got smog and emissions tests to ensure it was running cleanly. Perhaps you had to pay traffic and parking tickets, or you had to take it into the repair shop following an accident. Like a family member, your car has needs, and if you don’t take care of it, you won’t be able to drive it.
With new advances in technology by the automotive industry and tech companies, your driving experience in your new vehicle may be unrecognizable. Yet even with the introduction of intelligent, connected cars, increased internet access through smartphone apps, and the advent of Vehicle-to-Government (V2Gov), your automobile will still need attention, but the transactions and concerns you have become accustomed to will be increasingly automated and seamless so you don’t have to think about them.
What is V2Gov?
In a nutshell, V2Gov is the enabling and automating of vehicle-related transactions with government that’s being made possible by scientific advances, particularly in auto technology, and Internet and digital connections. The result is an increasingly-seamless driver experience. Certain dealings drivers typically engage with, such as car-based payments, will be automatically executed. Already, you are likely benefiting from V2Gov without even realizing it.
Applications of V2Gov
Consider electronic toll collection (ETC), which began in the late 1990s. Using E-ZPass transponders, boxes that sit on a car’s dashboard and relay toll information to government agencies, drivers can pay fees automatically without stopping at a booth. With today’s V2Gov technology, automobile owners can and will be able to do more things digitally and automatically beyond paying road tolls. Streamlined electronic vehicle registrations, renewals and titling are already available through companies like Motor Vehicle Software Corporation (MVSC).
Government agencies are constantly considering new ways to use technology and the Internet to streamline vehicle-related transactions. For example, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles simplified the process of certifying driver records to be admitted in county court proceedings. Indiana became the first state to allow government records to be digitally signed, legally certified and delivered electronically by using electronic postmark technology. In 2006, Pennsylvania became the first state to make electronic vehicle titles mandatory. If you paid your car registration fees online, as California drivers can, you’re benefiting from V2Gov. As of today, 23 states offer this service, and that number is growing every year.
What is eGovernment?
V2Gov is a form of digital interaction that falls under and is enabled by eGovernment, which is the foundation for a more seamless driver experience. Perhaps you’ve heard of alternative terms for eGovernment, including Internet, digital, online and connected government. All of these describe the use of information technology to support judicial operations, engage citizens and provide services.
The Internet offers electronic delivery of government information, programs and amenities. It also gives access to improved management of that material through streamlining business processes, maintaining electronic records, and the increased flow and integration of data.
eGovernment’s ultimate goal is to provide a greater range of public services to citizens in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Simple tasks may be easier to execute through electronic government access. For example, updates to your public records, such as marital status, address changes or the registration of your car, can be long processes that take a lot of paperwork. eGovernment allows these tasks to be performed efficiently with more convenience to individuals. It’s also expedient and cost-effective for businesses, and the public benefits by getting easy access to the most current information available without having to spend excess time, energy and money to get it.
The different faces of eGovernment
eGovernment can be further divided into other forms of digital interactions with government. These manifest as follows:
- Government-to-government (G2G): The sharing of information between government agencies.
- Government-to-Citizen (G2C): A means by which citizens can obtain or purchase government services through an electronic medium like the internet.
- Government-to-Employee (G2E): The online tools and information that employees use to maintain communication with their company and government.
- Government-to-Business (G2B): The exchange of information and services between government and the private business sector.
Like V2Gov, each of these concepts are premised around the streamlining and automating of transactions and interactions between government and a specific constituent.
A Connected and Autonomous Car Future
Advances in auto technology are the second critical component in the expansion of vehicle-related transactions. If you’ve been reading and watching the news lately, you know that traditional automakers, from BMW to Hyundai, to Silicon Valley innovators like Google and Apple are developing connected and increasingly self-driving cars. Ride sharing company Lyft is even working with GM to rollout a fleet of self-driving vehicles.
While these partners prepare for the future, another ride-hailing conglomerate is bringing this possibility into the present. Uber began testing their own fleet of driver-monitored autonomous cars in Pittsburgh in May of 2016, a program initiated through their Advanced Technologies Center (ATC) located in the city.
Delphi is giving us a glimpse of what future commutes in an autonomous, or self-driving, car might be like. At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the auto technology company touted its successful nine-day San Francisco to New York City autonomous drive in an Audi SQ5 SUV last year.
Using a range of sensors, a group of engineers navigated tunnels, construction zones, traffic circles and bridges to make a virtually driverless 3,400 mile cross-country journey. Per the team the travel was 99 percent automated and gathered research critical to making driverless cars mainstream.
South Korean automaker Hyundai, who has partnered with IT and networking giant, Cisco, to develop their own self-driving vehicle, also shared its vision for the future of driving (or non-driving) at CES. They invited attendees to sit in a simulator that consisted of two plush leather-upholstered front seats; a sleek, fully-automated and buttonless dashboard with multiple screens; a steering wheel; a windshield; and a large TV mounted where the hood would be. As highway footage from South Korea played on the screen, the seats reclined, an automated female voice informed the passengers of an incoming phone call and the car’s computer shared other information on the dashboard screens. Cool car innovation seemed to be everywhere at the show where tech companies like Yazaki demonstrated “wide field of view heads-up display” technology that projects vehicle information on the windshield, warning you of safety and security issues, among other things.
Bridging the vehicle-to-government communication gap
Going hand-in-hand with redefining the driver experience in the 21st century is the reimagining of how vehicles and government interact – V2Gov – and tech companies like MVSC are leading the way. If automakers are steadily realizing the day when you can doze off in your reclining seat as your autonomous car shuttles you to your destination during rush hour traffic on the freeway, then vehicle-related transactions must advance with them. If you still have to personally pay tolls before crossing a bridge, or dig through your pockets for change or your wallet for a credit card to insert into the parking meter, among other inconveniences, your driving experience isn’t truly seamless.
Auto Legislation and Technology Are Enabling V2Gov
Increased V2Gov transactions are happening behind the scenes at car dealerships. Currently, more companies like MVSC are focusing on electronic registration and titling (ERT).
ERT allows dealerships to automate previously paper-based state department of motor vehicles transactions. This provides customers with seamless registration and titling as well as the ability to receive license plates, registration cards and stickers from the dealers, quickly and efficiently.
New auto legislation facilitates more streamlined V2Gov transactions. For example, in December 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the first long-term transportation spending bill in nearly a decade. FAST allocates $305 billion through 2020 for highway and transit spending to repair and maintain the nation’s crumbling transportation infrastructure. It also allows for exceptions to the federal requirement that the transfer of vehicles 10 years old or newer include a hand-printed and signed paper odometer disclosure.
A measure added to the bill by Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) allows individual states to authorize the use of and to establish guidelines for electronic odometer disclosure. In California, for example, the requirement for paper odometer disclosures is one of the last obstacles to achieving paperless registrations. While the Golden State has yet to create or propose guidelines for virtual odometer disclosures, the new federal highway package puts paperless registration within its grasp – and perhaps beyond.
Driving unencumbered by process
New V2Gov capabilities are being developed so you can focus on the road once in your vehicle–or in the case of autonomous cars, on enjoying the ride. In addition to addressing ERT needs, MVSC’s new Vitu platform expands V2Gov to encompass more vehicle-related transactions. This means that reporting smog/emissions verifications, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), payment of parking fines and other issues automatically resolve themselves for truly seamless driving.
The expansion of V2Gov does pose some challenges, however. For example, the concern over Internet privacy has many wondering what government agencies and the private sector are doing to safeguard sensitive client information and confidentiality, especially in light of greater cybersecurity threats. These safety measures are still being investigated, but in conjunction with auto technology advances and vehicle-related transactions, V2Gov has the potential to completely alter how we drive and ride.
Share the Journey
As you take delivery of your new connected car, now’s the time to understand the full potential of your vehicle. V2Gov.com brings together automotive and tech industry authorities, thought leaders, innovators and everyday drivers to examine and discuss the changing landscape of automotive technology and vehicle-related transactions as we prepare for a vehicle-to-government future. Join us as we pose questions and find answers to the most pressing V2Gov issues.