The Connected Car Industry Is Growing Up

Imagine tooling down the Autobahn in Germany when your on-board diagnostic system notices that your oil is running low or your tail light is out, and without skipping a beat, it automatically books a service appointment with your preferred shop to get it fixed.

That might seem fictional, but it is at the core of a new pilot program being conducted by BMW and Bosch, which are testing an automated system within connected cars that will seamlessly do just that. 

While drivers already receive notifications when service is due or a repair is needed, this new program takes that info to the next level by transmitting it to a shop and turning an alert into an action item.   

Tailored Third-Party Services 

The data transmitted will include mileage, the service interval, the time or mileage remaining before the next service, and information from the vehicle’s fault log. This will allow the repair shop to prepare for the service or repair and to send a suggested appointment date, a quote and details of the work directly to the customer in the form of a text message that appears in the vehicle’s infotainment system. 

This data has been collected by the BMW CarData service in Germany since 2017. Now, they are working to make it available to third parties as well. Bosch reports that it is also working with other automakers on ways to transmit their vehicle data. 

In addition to service and repairs by independent repair shops, BMW CarData could enable other tailored third-party services, such as usage-based insurance and charging management of electric cars in the customer’s home garage. In the future, CarData will allow BMW owners to choose to link to third-party services. 

Autonomous Freight Transport 

In another recently announced pilot program, an autonomous truck technology company and a professional services firm are partnering to learn about the safety and insurance effects of convoys of autonomous commercial trucks led by one truck with a human driver. 

Locomation and Aon will collaborate on a risk management plan, as Locomation develops its autonomous freight transport technology and backend platform for commercial deployment to trucking companies and shippers. Aon, a global professional services firm providing risk, retirement and health solutions, will work with Locomation and insurance carriers to assess the autonomous technology risks and align them with insurance industry best practices. 

The collaboration will also aim to reduce customers’ operating costs through lower insurance rates for carriers, shippers, truck manufacturers and others using Locomation’s autonomous truck technology. 

Using Locomation, one driver pilots a lead truck with technology augmentation while a follower truck operates in tandem through a fully autonomous system. 

The Bring-It-to-Me Economy 

“Autonomy is going to be part of the future of the trucking industry, and human-guided convoys have the potential to reduce risk and open new opportunities for the entire industry,” Michael Stankard, managing director for Aon’s automotive practice, said in a statement announcing the collaboration. 

Whether it is final-mile deliveries, intrastate shipping or global freight liners plying the seas, a race is on to meet the changing needs of consumers, whose lifestyle and work habits have irreversibly changed during the pandemic, at a time when a shortage of truck drivers is exacerbating the need for non-human alternatives. 

See also: FedEx Goods to be Hauled by Autonomous Big Rigs in Pilot Program

The demand for such deliveries is increasing with the growth of the bring-it-to-me economy. As PYMNTS reports in its study, The Bring-It-to-Me Economy, 94% of consumers have purchased from online marketplaces in the past year. 

Read more: The Bring-It-to-Me Economy

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