Posted by: iExperience on Apr 13, 2011
WiFi technology, the use of smartphone applications and in-car camera’s are changing the way we use, drive and even decorate our cars. Innovation in the automobile industry has never been greater, according to Larry Howell, author and consultant in automobile technology, and vehicle structures and materials.
Customer expectations in quality, relaibility, safety and utility are at an all-time high. As a result, a range of applications and information and communication technologies(ICTs) are being developed, transforming our diriving culture.
Since the invention of the first modern petrol-fuelled internal combustion engine by Karl Benz in 1885, cars have infiltrated the majority of our lives and have influenced our behaviours and lived experiences. It is these experiences which culture and, more specifically, car culture will be transformed by ICT’s now and in the years to come.
Here are a few of the innovations which got me and my clapped out VW Golf 3 excited:
These are fully programmable colour LED rims from Customwheels. The software allows you to create and send images, through wireless communication, to your wheels (from your laptop) for image synchronisation.
This DUB Pimpstar LED message wheel promo clip from You Tube shows how it works:
The culture of fur dashboard covers, bobble heads and furry dice as a means of personalisation just doesn’t compare!
However even personalised rims are measured up against what your car can actually do. So, it was only time before Wi-Fi accessibility was offered.
2. Wi-Fi accessibility:
There is no need for the infamous “Are we there yet?” as certain cars are now able to access the information superhighway because of recent developments in automotive Wi-Fi technology. Internet connectivity is gained through the user’s USB mobile broadband modem, transforming vehicles into rolling “hot spots”.
iSuppli has estimated a growth in worldwide shipments of car Wi-Fi systems from 174,000 in 2010 to 7.2 million units by 2017, possibly making CD’s, DVD players or iTrips things of the past. Currently, Ford, General Motors, BMW, Audi, Saab and Chrysler offer Wi-Fi connectivity to the few who can afford it. This technology allows us to access social networking site, videos and gaming and stay connected.
All these distractions could make your driving worse, wouldn’t you say? No need to fear, in-car cameras could be a solution.
3. In-car cameras:
DriveCam, an in car camera photographed by William Hartz, courtesy of Flickr
Research on teenage driving in the United States has found this technology is an effective way to influence good driving habits and curb distracted driving.
Small video cameras attached to the rear-view mirror of a car are activated if the driver swerves, stops, accelerates or has an accident. The video clip is sent wirelessly to a Web site where the footage is saved and can be watched. This has the ability to transform car insurance policies and overall driving behaviours and habits, according to Daniel McGehee, Director of the Human Factors and Vehicle Safety Research Division of the University of Iowa.
But not all technology is used to improve driving behaviours…
4. Devices and apps used to avoid traffic offenses:
In America, Cobra's iRadar, Trapster and Fuzz Alert are applications for the iPhone or iPad. This informs drivers when they need to stop or slow down before a traffic officer has the chance to isssue a fine or catch them on camera.
Trapster screen by Louis Abate, courtesy of Flickr
Another popular online database which can be downloaded to GPS devices or smartphones is PhantomAlert. Audible alerts warn drivers about everything from speed and red-light cameras to, school zones and DUI checkpoints. This could result in a better, more alert driving culture or even more reckless behaviours on already dangerous roads. If you are interested in this app check out this You Tube clip below:
Although my golf is corroding into a scrap of nothing, I will not be able to afford LED rims or Wi-Fi connectivity on a journalism students budget. I also understand that, for now at least, many of the applications only work in the USA and Europe but the technology is there and the possibilities are real... that is exciting. Change always starts small and takes time and if you don’t believe me Google Karl Benz.