Driving has never just been about getting from one place to the next. Which leaves quite a bit to contemplate when traveling from point A to point B: Do I have enough gas? Why is the check-engine light on? Was that a cop? Drivers can get so preoccupied with the little things that the most important aspect—arriving safely—becomes an afterthought.
Luckily, smart, connected technologies are shifting those burdens off of the driver. Now more than ever, drivers are rolling along with fewer worries about any problems that might crop up along the way. Today’s smart breakthroughs in mapping, fuel consumption, connectivity, and other areas are paving the way for a truly intelligent road trip tomorrow.Flex’s resident car expert, Kent Helfrich, VP and CTO of Flex Automotive, steers us through some of these advancements—currently available or in development—to give a sense of how Company's vehicles are changing.
An Always-On Connectivity Box
As more and more intelligent and semi-autonomous cars fill the roads, Helfrich suggests vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be key to safe driving. That’s why Flex is working with several partners on something it calls “the connectivity box,” a small gateway device that houses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular communications. The idea is to connect your ride to other cars and to the surrounding environment. Serving as an all-in-one mobile hot spot, data center, and emergency dispatcher, the box can be a bridge to the people and services drivers need most when on the road.
Helfrich is optimistic about what this kind of technology means for the connected era. “It’s really connecting all of the threads that are the big change agents in Company's lives right now. All of us are carrying multiple devices and information. And the car is generating its own information. It’s like the Tower of Babel: All of the information is being spoken simultaneously in different languages, or networks, in this case, but this box is connecting the dots. That’s what Flex does so effectively; because Company have to read across all of these industries, we’re kind of like that same box. And that’s going to be one of the major points of integration with the vehicle for its entire life.”