Automotive innovations stepped on the gas pedal in the last decade. From safety sensors to back up cameras, the way we drive has come a long way from the first vehicles on the road. So what does the development of connectivity mean for the industry? And how applicable is it to a company’s business vehicle program? Let’s explore the possibilities of in-vehicle connectivity.
What is In-Vehicle Connectivity?
Vehicles used to have gauges to display your speed, your vehicle mileage and how close to empty your tank is. Now a-days, that dash is looking more and more like the cockpit of an airplane. The basics are still there, but on many new vehicles a screen the size of a tablet sits right in the middle of the dash. Using this display, drivers—or passengers—can select music, display directions and potentially answer calls. In-vehicle connectivity is the connection between the driver’s devices and the vehicle’s information center. But what system enables all of this functionality? Well, that depends on the car.
Some vehicles are exclusively Apple CarPlay. Those include select models of Audi, BMW, Mini Cooper, Mazda, Porshe and Toyota. Some are exclusively Android Auto. Most automakers offer both. But in-vehicle connectivity isn’t just about the user’s experience.
How is In-Vehicle Connectivity Changing
Take Ford’s recent partnership with Google. For at least the next six years, vehicles manufactured by Ford will use Android systems. Beginning in 2023, Ford and Lincoln vehicles will offer a suite of Google offerings, including their music, navigation and virtual assistant. Ford also intends to use the in-vehicle connectivity to send messages to the driver notifying them of required maintenance among other things. While this deal is not exclusive and Ford is behind the curve when it comes to partnering with another company for in-vehicle connectivity, their notification system is intended to leapfrog the competition. The system also enables the sharing of vehicle data. In a similar recent partnership, Ford and Arity will provide drivers with usage-based insurance programs specific to their driving data.
What does this level of in-vehicle connectivity mean for business vehicle programs?
Many of these updates will take years to become practical, but it raises interesting questions. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, these systems function like and with cell phones. Companies pushing for greater safety may offer an incentive to drivers who upload additional safety software in their personal vehicles. Organizations interested in better insights into driving habits may require fleet vehicles to have software that optimized routes to reduce unnecessary trips. There’s also an opportunity to help employees track mileage for their reimbursements.
Waiting for the Future
While 2023 is only two years off, many of the offerings companies may be able to take advantage of through in-vehicle connectivity already exist via cell phone. With the right app, business mileage can be easily recorded and reported. Safety doesn’t have to be app driven if a company already has a comprehensive safety program focused on building up safe driving skills and habits. Additionally, you don’t have to wait on Google for key insights into driver behavior. The Motus platform can make this future a reality. Learn more about our offering and find out how we can help you.