Hit the Road, Jack: Autos Motor to the Cloud
Cloud computing has always sought to empower consumers with a bit more vroom. The auto industry now looks to capitalize on the cloud’s abundant horsepower for tech-savvy motorists.
As with most pioneering pushes into the car world, auto shows look to be the inaugural playing field for cloud computing in the cars of the future.
Ford Motors was astute in publicizing its newfound appreciation for the cloud at the Detroit Auto Show. Though beleaguered by decades of economic dilapidation, Detroit remains America’s auto manufacturing Mecca. The city offered a backdrop of classic tradition as the ideal setting for Ford’s MyTouch telematics system — a fanboy-styled integration of the cloud into a car.
MyTouch is advertised as a way for a car driver to link up his vehicular activities to the goings-on of his house and office. Ford’s cloud system will also allow for communication between other nearby cars on the road, as well as the ability to discern upcoming traffic jams or accidents and to advise appropriate driving alternatives.
Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show saw the emergence of yet another cloud-car combo, this one bankrolled by Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes’ “mbrace2” seeks to marry the best of cloud computing with Web surfing and app access, all within a sleek luxury vehicle. mbrace2 will also grant car owners the ability to locate and lock / unlock their vehicle with the touch of their phone.
How cloud computing for cars will trend with consumers has yet to be seen. So far, the technology arguably appears to be super-fancy, almost elitist material. It has only been successfully integrated into concept cars and luxury autos that only Golden Globe winners can likely afford.
What’s more, auto shows and consumer electronics events target obsessives – not average people – who’ve already researched their passions as well as, or better than, the journalists covering these gatherings. The general auto-buying public will require a simpler pop touch for the cloud’s technology to register as palpable.
Savvy auto advertising teams will reinforce the idea of the cloud as useful for car maintenance and safety for consumers. Cloud computing can definitely be harnessed to keep track of cars’ fuel and fluid levels, and to keep watch over a vehicle when its owner is away, potentially even with cameras that catch a burglar mid-theft.
Auto engineers’ first step is to simplify how well a car can access the Web. Once consumers have been sold on the idea of searching Google while they steer at the wheel, the cloud will become an easier notion to sell as quirky yet convenient.
By Jeff Norman