Apple is apparently working on an electric car, but does it really need to make the complex set of investments required to manufacture and distribute these things, or does it just need to build a connected car ecosystem?
Things changed tremendously since Apple began developing CarPlay. Excitement at the potential of using Siri to get driving instructions and play your music has been replaced with excitement at the potential of asking Siri to drive your car.
Here are some of the ways in which connected technology will transform the way you drive. To empower these consequences, Apple doesn’t need to make the vehicle; it just needs to provide the intelligence inside that vehicle. This also means you can upgrade the intelligence without upgrading the car.
In Europe, the U.S., Russia and beyond, it will soon be impossible to buy a new car without a pre-installed SIM. Europe’s eCall legislation demands this, and these SIM cards will connect to an operator to emergency warnings if a vehicle is in an accident, lost or stolen (or send a ticket if you violate traffic laws). Though will you need to pay a carrier to drive your car?
Checking the fuel
Your vehicle will need daily recharging. You’ll be able to check energy levels using an app on your iPhone that will interrogate your vehicle.
Your fingerprint will unlock your car, but you may also need your voice and a retina scan or numerical code to start the engine.
Intelligence will be inside the vehicle, so why rely on an iOS processor when you can put a more powerful chip inside the car? These vehicles will be more like Macs on wheels than iPhones you can drive; they’ll also let you know if a component is failing or maintenance is required. Vehicles will book themselves in for servicing, even drive themselves to get serviced while you sleep or work.
The sensor array
Gyroscopes, accelerometers, voice and motion detection will all be involved, as will Touch ID, speed, acceleration and more. But proximity will be the biggest deal. Proximity sensors will enable your vehicle to tell if people, obstacles or other vehicles are too close, enabling it to take intelligent remedial action.
Let’s face it, no driver really wants to give up the chance to drive their car, and that’s why it makes sense to predict these vehicles will be semi-autonomous – you’ll drive when you want to.