Driver just got easier. HERE, a Germany-based digital map maker, is pioneering a way to tell drivers about road conditions in real-time.
These crowd-sourced data, the information collected feeds vehicle dashboards outfitted with HERE’s alert system. By analyzing the data, the company touts the ability to give drivers real-time traffic data, including areas of congestion. It could potentially alleviate slow spots of traffic through it’s positional accuracy data.
Automakers have also tried to collect similar data in a proprietary manner. But those collections have been in limited settings that don’t translate into broader insights.
HERE’s program is expected to launch in the first half of 2017, drawing data from several hundred thousand vehicles. By the end of 2018, HERE officials estimate millions of cars will generate data for real-time updates. That advancement is underscored with the recent an company–collaborating with BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler–uses sensors in cars produced by the partner companies to draw information from brakes, windshield wipers, headlights, cameras and a host of other sensors.
The technology has drawn one of tech’s most powerful companies: Microsoft. Microsoft already uses the data for its Bing mapping services and extended the agreement to a multi-year deal in December 2016.
It also puts it in direct contention against the likes of Tesla, Google and Apple, all of whom are working on self-driving car technology. While it’s difficult to predict when self-driving cars will arrive, the sensors to advance the technology measure similar data points. But a disadvantage the tech companies have is their limited access the various data points from the vehicles.
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Among other interested companies are ride-sharing services: Uber and Lyft. Both are exploring partnerships with automakers, hoping to get a jump on each other when the autonomous driving industry takes off.
All of that plays into the idea of a connected car and the Internet of Things, a catch-all phrase typically used to describe things connected to the internet. Think about a coffee machine that brews you up a cup as soon as you wake up or self-adjusting thermostats. The more connected everyday items are, the more data is collected and easier it is for companies to adjust their products for consumer needs.
Interests in companies like HERE and the technology they’re pioneering will likely play a part in the future of vehicles. By collecting and analyzing data, their information could lead to more insights for automakers, businesses, municipalities and a host of other sectors.
- Services: City crews could receive alerts about road hazards and weather conditions, deploying to clean up and clear out dangerous roads.
- Planning: Transportation authorities could reference the data for more insight into traffic flow for urban, rural and suburban settings.
- Tech: Self-driving cars aside, app makers and smartphone companies could potentially tap into the data from HERE.
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