By Dan Ricci
Remember when car dealers pushed tinted windows, rust proofing, and keyless entry to sell cars? That’s ancient history for automakers. Today’s new competitive edge is centered around the Connected Car – and using real-time insights from big data inside and outside of vehicles to improve safety, enhance vehicle quality and enrich the driving and service experience.
Cars are rolling gold mines of information, gathering data about the driver, the driving environment and the car itself, as well as any connected devices. In fact, up to 25 gigabytes of data is generated from a single plug-in hybrid vehicle in just an hour.
And although auto manufacturers have been capturing telematics information for years, something different, more sophisticated is going on now and it has everything to do with big data and analytics.
Automakers now have the ability to analyze huge volumes of vehicle data at speeds that allow them to connect with drivers in real time through the car’s infotainment system. Such technology makes it possible to alert drivers about hazardous road conditions by detecting the activation of anti-lock brakes or traction control systems in nearby vehicles.
Cars have changed, and so have their owners. In a connected world, people now expect their vehicles to deliver the same capabilities and conveniences as other smart devices. This means drivers are not only looking for quality, safe, reliable performance, but they see the car as a highly personalized extension of their daily and digitally connected lives. It’s no surprise then that 60 percent of all global new vehicle sales will have connected car services by 2017.
IBM’s big data and analytics solutions are helping to address these challenges and are at the core of recent Connected Car breakthroughs.
Just this week, PSA Peugeot and IBM announced an engineering collaboration to launch a new era of connected vehicles and services. The companies are working together to integrate and analyze the massive amounts of data from cars, phones, traffic signals, lights and other sources to deliver new customized mobility solutions.
But this isn’t the first time IBM has helped make the Connected Car a reality.
Continental Automotive and IBM are already working together on a next generation electronic horizon platform that will ultimately make highly automated driving a reality. Vehicles with embedded sensors will transmit information such as position, speed or deceleration to the Cloud where data will be processed, analyzed and acted on. The result will be a real-time map that will enable a vehicle to literally ‘look around the corner.’
And at BMW Group, the quality assurance team is using IBM Big Data and Analytics to combine and analyze data from numerous test drives of prototypes, approximately 15,000 “error memories” recorded by the vehicles, and recent reports from customer workshops to quickly identify and eliminate weaknesses in new models before they go into production. The results of the analyses are immediately channeled back into BMW’s working processes, helping to reduce error rates and save costs. Previously, the evaluation of this data took months to complete.
It’s clear that dramatic shifts in the way customers view the driving experience are changing the way automakers interact with customers and require new approaches to maximize profitability and revenue. Big data presents a huge, new opportunity for automotive companies to meet the demands of their more demanding, educated customers.