While self-driving automobiles offer wild promise for the future, digitally connected cars are already a reality. General Motors now offers wireless connectivity that turns cars into on-the-move Wi-Fi hotspots, providing traffic information, route maps and more. Ford’s OpenXC platform allows mobile devices to read and translate data from a car’s internal network, allowing developers to customize smartphone apps for individual autos.
And this is only the start. Connected cars could help drivers find parking spots and nearby restaurants and retailers. Automakers could send software updates wirelessly, and alert car owners when parts need to be fixed or replaced. And the competitive auto landscape will certainly shift, with software firms and telecom providers motoring into the mix. Could Apple’s long-rumored car be part of that? The latest projections call for it to be released in 2019.
Illustration by Greg Mably