The Challenges of Mobile Technology Behind the Wheel
Our reliance on staying “connected” through our mobile devices has increased year after year, but that connectivity has somewhat stopped while inside our automobiles. As more states adopt laws against texting while driving or talking without a hands-free device, our phones are generally cast aside to the passenger seat.
This is changing rapidly as our original “mobile devices”—our cars themselves—are being more and more connected to the world. Manufacturers are not only racing to equip their cars with the most advanced mobile technology on the market, but they’re fighting the constant battle of implementing those features before they’re already out of date.
Meshing the “that’s-so-six-months-ago” mobile software mentality with the years-long-process needed to design a new car has recently been made easier by incorporating mobile app technology rather than physically installed hardware. With new technologies and advancements being introduced at a pace never before seen, automakers are now focused more on keeping their cars connected to the web as a whole rather than trying to develop proprietary technologies of their own.
This level of connectivity presents its own challenges, especially where more “important” features, like safety, are concerned. We as mobile users complain enough when games or social media providers have outages. It’s another story when we’re relying on mobile technology for our own safety. When we're behind the wheel of a speeding car, interruptions and lack of service are certainly not options.
Detroit auto manufacturers aren’t just building cars these days; they’re at the forefront of building reliable networks for connected cars. SmartPlanet recently noted that:
The idea of creating a future of connected highways raises a series of complex issues. Connected cars have to be able to switch seamlessly and consistently between mobile broadband networks and maintain a level of performance that ensures ongoing vehicle safety. Yet, while performance is critical, increasing volumes of data from in-car entertainment systems and embedded sensor networks create added strain on the communications infrastructure.
As some companies inch their way toward enhanced vehicle safety through individual apps, another company is incorporating the entire automobile as a whole. Google’s self-driving car is getting closer to a consumer reality, as seen in this undeniably impressive promotional video.
Creating the latest and greatest in-car mobile technologies may have once seemed like an immense challenge. However, the struggle to keep those apps running, across such a diverse landscape as the US, or any country for that matter, is arguably a far greater and much more important task.