Driverless cars have hit the headlines recently, with city trials set to continue throughout 2015. But could your car control more than just itself?
Driving is an integral part of our everyday lives, whether it’s the morning sprint to work or a marathon road trip. Because of this, the car has now become an extension of the home and should therefore be considered in the automation process.
The race to design a connected dashboard, one that can wirelessly link the automobile to the household, has stepped up a gear recently, with more companies jumping into the hot seat. So with this in mind, we consider what’s around the corner for the ‘internet of things’?
One perk of the connected dashboard could be a slicker and more secure way to enter the home. Household security is already a big component of automation systems, with smart locks providing wireless access to doors and garages. Allowing the homeowner to access this system as they pull up in the driveway, could result in a smoother arrival home, as well as making chores such as unloading shopping a more fluid process.
Garages have been equipped with this ability for a while, with radio transmitters allowing you to open them from up to 100ft away. By using a similar system, a driver could theoretically control all the locks in their household, with their smartphone acting as a dash mounted controller. Therefore, if you forgot to turn off a light as you left in the morning, you could do it without leaving your vehicle. Working in the same manner as current systems, the dashboard would require either voice or password recognition, so in the event of theft your home wouldn’t be compromised.
Infotainment isn’t a particularly new concept, but it is one that is rapidly expanding to incorporate more and more apps and devices. Infotainment systems are designed to provide an informative service such as text alerts of the latest sports scores, but remain light and user friendly. In-car systems, such as Ford SYNC are beginning to make their way into the market. This particular package allows you to sync your smartphone with the dashboard so that its features can be made more accessible to drivers. For example, if you want to read a text message, but can’t find an appropriate place to pull over, then Ford SYNC will support this and instruct your phone to the read the message out loud to you.
Your home fits into the equation when you want to receive alerts from your household automation system. Currently, home automation companies such as ours are able to offer you appliances that can be switched off from anywhere in the world via an app. This includes light switches, television sets and even blinds. But there is not yet a definitive system for linking your car in the same way. A few vehicles have already been fitted with wi-fi hotspots, which allow them to connect to the internet without the need for a smartphone and the prediction is that more of these integrated cars will be available in the next few years.
By the end of the decade, we could see touchscreens installed in our motors, which tell us when we’ve left a light on at home and allow us to switch it off with a simple voice command. If you’ve ever cursed your luck that you won’t be home in time to watch your favourite TV programme, then connecting with your DVR on the drive home could be the perfect way to ensure that it’s there waiting for you when you get back.