Just a few short years ago, maybe five or ten, if someone would have told you that cars would soon have the computing power and technology baked in to interface with smartphones and control certain apps and functions, or better yet, that the company behind the world's most popular search engine along with other companies would be well into development on autonomous, self-driving cars, you'd probably look at them funny and say they were crazy, or at the very least be a little skeptical of their statement. That's exactly where we are today though, with the nature of cars and the automobile landscape being shaped by the infusion of mobile technology.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Mercedes-Benz Head of Research in society and technology Eric Larsen talks about the shifting landscape of cars, and it isn't surprising to hear him referencing smartphones and technology, stating that "smartphones and lots of wireless connectivity changed everything." It isn't an untrue statement, as Larsen points out that lots of newer technologies today are possible because of connectivity. This includes everything ranging from the Internet of Things devices to self-driving cars, and anything else in between. Larsen pulls attention to one particular example of how smartphones and tech have changed the car industry, with a business he calls Boost, which is essentially a door to door carpool system with minivans that drive children home after school. Parents are able to track where their kids are using a smartphone app in real time to stay connected, a system which is all made possible by internet connected smartphones.
Those were just a few points, but there are other ways technology and mobile connectivity are changing the auto industry as well. Android Auto for instance is starting to make its way into more vehicles, and by the end of next year there will be a decent selection of options from various top brand car manufacturers with Android Auto built right into the car at the factory. For cars that don't have it built in, external systems which can be installed will be available with some already on the market. With Android Auto people will be able to have a connectivity to their cars like never before which seeks not only to enhance the in-car experience, but also make it safer by taking away the need for someone to look at or even handle their smartphone and transition that interaction to an in-dash console display. Where 10 years ago cars with heated seats, and all power/electric windows were a desired trait, now, those things are still something people will likely look forward to in a vehicle, but with how connected are lives are the most sought after features will begin to shift towards cars which carry connected systems, especially once the technological generation reaches the driving age.