This year, automakers took huge strides with press events, demonstrations, and pilot programs to show just how far we have come with connected car technology. At the same time, regulators have also made significant progress when it comes policy guidelines.

Key predictions for the new year include automatic maintenance and parking. Further, infotainment system will also become significantly sophisticated in 2017. There will also be more investment in the connected car industry (including electric car development), so there will be a lot of pressure to deliver.

According to research by The Economist, total car sales in 60 of the largest markets will grow by 2.4% in 2017, but the global car industry is expected to have a slow year. Further, although this figure is lower than 2016, contract commercial vehicles are expected to rise by 3.2%.

Major markets in China, EU, and the USA are expected to have a subdued year because of the following reasons:

  • China is expected to end a tax break that’s been driving the connected car market
  • Brexit will end Europe’s recovery
  • US president-elect, Donald Trump, is expected to put up trade barriers with Mexico where most of the production takes place

While the industry still has a lot of questions to answer over the next few years, there are some interesting connected car predictions for 2017.

1. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) Will Strive to Integrate the Car into the Life of the Owner

In the new year, automobile manufacturers will strive to place the driver at the center of the connected automobile experience. Getting this right will be the tipping point to help dominate the connected car market.

If OEMs and technology vendors fail to understand what the driver desires, feels, or behaves, they will miss a huge opportunity to make a significant impact on the industry. Although the connected car industry will see more technological advancement in the new year, they will need to not only consider how the consumer uses the car, but also the third-party apps associated with it.

We already saw a shift to customer-focused development this year where OEMs started to focus on the end-user experience rather than the product. So car manufacturers are expected to make significant progress to bridge the gap between the car, the driver, the apps, and the devices in 2017.

2. We Might See the Emergence of 5G Connectivity in Automobiles in 2017

This year we saw automobile manufacturers partnering with telecommunications companies to enable 5G connectivity in cars. Since it’s 10 times faster than 4G, it opens the door to immense progress when it comes to the connected apps within the vehicle.

This year, Samsung bought Harman International to enable its 5G rollout. Further, the 5G Automotive Association formed this year will be made up of Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ericsson, Intel, Huawei, Qualcomm, and Nokia.

As a result, we should see fruits of these partnerships in the new year.

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3. Infotainment Systems Will Significantly Improve in the New Year

The end goal of connected cars is to enable drivers to ride without watching the road. As a result, the infotainment space is becoming an increasingly valuable industry.

According to Intel, in-vehicle entertainment could grow to be a $5 billion dollar industry within the next few years. So it’s no surprise that Apple and Google have already made significant progress inside the car with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

So expect OEMs and third-party technology companies to continue to focus on infotainment to enhance the end-user experience. Further, it’s also predicted that we will see many changes to the automobile cockpit in 2017.

4. Growth of Biometric Technologies in Connected Cars

Biometric technologies have the potential to save lives. For example, imagine the car sensing that the driver’s having a heart attack and takes over the vehicle to negate accidents that can also be fatal.

The Ford motor company already has patents on systems that can identify if the driver’s agitated (which can put incoming calls on hold). This idea has started to open many interesting technology opportunities and we should see more of it in 2017.

As automation of cars continues to grow, vehicles are being equipped with a wide range of sensing technologies like radar, lidar systems, and cameras. Further, image detection is also expected to make an impact as the primary method for identifying and classifying objects in the vicinity. This has the potential for sophisticated responses and autonomous control.

What other changes in the connected car industry do you expect to see in 2017?

Andrew is our IT storyteller and copywriter. His current undertaking is big data analytics and CSS as well as digital design and branding. He is a contributor to various publications with a focus on new technology and marketing.

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