“We’re living in very exciting times right now. There’s a lot going on,” said David Holecek, Director of Connected Products and Services for Volvo as he spoke to ITU on the sidelines of last week’s Future Networked Car event at the world-famous Geneva International Motor Show.
Indeed, as the automotive and information communication technology (ICT) industries rapidly converge, intelligent transport systems and automated driving are fast moving towards widespread commercialization and market acceptance. High levels of automation – the penultimate step to fully automated driving – are expected on the road by 2020 and hold great promise to improve road safety, reduce congestion and emissions, and increase the accessibility of personal mobility to the elderly and persons with disabilities.
“Connected car is really not a ‘smartphone on wheels’, as some would like to say. … It’s also a lot about bringing the car to the Internet, rather than just bringing the Internet into the car,” said Holecek, who mentioned a pilot in Gothenburg, Sweden where some 100 families are already driving around in vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities.
As for how connectivity can help make driving safer, Holecek mentioned Volvo’s ‘slippery road alert’ function launched last year, in which sensors can send data to the cloud that warns other vehicles that specific sections of road are slippery.
Holecek also spoke about how connected-car standards should go ‘hand-in-hand’ with new technological developments.
“Right now, since this is developing so quickly … it would not be perhaps wise to wait until a standard is set – or try first to set a standard and then do all this development,” said Holecek. “I think those things need to go hand-in-hand, in parallel. So, we need to continue pushing the limits, testing out new things within the current limits of the legislation while also being in active discussion with the bodies setting those standards and those laws.”
For more information on ITU’s standardization work on connected cars, please visit: http://itu.int/go/ITScomms