Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Main Differences, Promising Benefits and Concerns

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Main Differences, Promising Benefits, and Concerns
Connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles are expected to be the future of the automotive industry. Let’s take a deeper look at these two concepts and explore the benefits they promise for drivers, passengers, and businesses.

What are Connected and Autonomous Vehicles?

Connected and autonomous vehicles are sometimes thought of as interchangeable concepts, but there is a big difference between them.

Connected Vehicle Definition

A connected car is a vehicle equipped with specific data transmission technologies like an Internet of Things (IoT) device. For example, you can program a smart home to turn on the heating one hour before you come home, and in the same way, you can command a connected car to turn on windshield heating five minutes before your planned departure.

More advanced connected cars also have sensors, computer vision, wireless communication, and data analysis features embedded. A connected car is a data-powered vehicle with a huge set of customized features aimed at better safety, less energy consumption, and more comfort for the driver and passengers.

Automated Vehicle Definition

An automated transportation vehicle is a car equipped with the same data transfer and programming possibilities as connected car systems, plus it is capable of making independent decisions and behaving accordingly. For example, if the driver of an automotive connection-powered car exceeds the speed, that car independently decides to put on the brakes to achieve maximum safety for the driver.

Automated vs Connected Cars - The Main Difference

The main difference between connected and autonomous vehicles is the ability of the latter to behave independently guided by ultimate safety suggestions. Autonomous vehicles are also a synonym for self-driving cars.

Connected Vehicle (CV) Technologies

Connected and autonomous vehicles are powered by the same idea, but while the latter is still in development, connected car solutions are already here. Below are the technologies that currently power connected vehicles.

  • Central computer. A central data processing system with a user interface embedded in a driver panel.
  • GPS. It is a standard technology for the automotive industry. Connected cars come with an embedded GPS system, so the driver doesn’t need a mobile app or an additional device to follow a route.
  • Driver assistance sensors. The simplest example of this is a rearview camera, which allows you to back up safely, while it estimates the distance from the bumper to an obstacle and gives the driver a signal when to stop. This technology is a standard for connected cars, but when it comes to autonomous vehicles, they are powered by an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) which can gather, process, and analyze the real-time environment using sensors and machine learning, and take safety-first decisions on its basic
  • Wireless communication. This technology is at the core of connected autonomous vehicles since it allows instant data transfer, which provides the driver with driving behavior optimization suggestions and better responses to emergencies.

Connected Vehicles Communication Types

Connected car services communicate with each other using several approaches to transfer data.

  • Vehicle-to-vehicle. It means that data from one vehicle transfers to another one. For example, in case of a crash, other drivers can be made aware of this emergency.
  • Vehicle-to-infrastructure. In the case of a vehicle to infrastructure technology, a connected car can transfer data to another infrastructure like an emergency response center.
  • Vehicle-to-device. A vehicle can send a notification to a driver’s phone.
  • Vehicle-to-cloud. V2C data transfer implies delivering data to the cloud for further storage and analysis.
  • Vehicle-to-pedestrian. In this case, a car sends a signal to pedestrians if the pedestrian's behavior seems dangerous for their health.
  • Vehicle-to-everything. V2E opportunities imply a stable and all-encompassing data management infrastructure.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Benefits

As for the benefits of IoT car connection in connected cars, it delivers the following advantages:

Benefits of Connected Cars

  1. Better safety.Improving safety is the ultimate goal of connected and autonomous vehicles. Connected cars help to achieve this goal by letting drivers stay fully informed of the current driving situation. As for self-driving cars, people expect they will be programmed and taught to make smart decisions supporting a safe environment on the road.
  2. Optimized driving experience. Planning the best route, forecasting traffic jams, and predicting the best time to schedule a trip allow drivers to get an energy-optimized driving experience.
  3. New business models. Connected and autonomous vehicles are the future of car sharing since it is much easier to find the car that users need and stick to an optimized route.

Benefits of Autonomous Cars

The benefits of automotive software for cars are hard to predict since self-driving technology is still in development. The only exception is drones which are prohibited in some countries.

Moreover, some experts note that self-driving car development will take longer than expected since there is a need to develop explicit legal regulation and autonomous vehicle infrastructure. Still, they also agree that self-driving cars may deliver the following benefits.

  1. Ultimate safety. As for self-driving cars, people expect they will be programmed and taught to make smart decisions supporting a safe environment on the road. That is, we may expect fewer cases of crushed because of distractions, speeding, and drugged driving.
  2. Cost savings. The fewer incidents are expected to decrease the cost of medical care and insurance. Plus, the preventive maintenance system embedded in autonomous vehicles may cut costs because of the timely servicing and spare parts replacement.
  3. Time savings and better productivity. The owners of self-driving cars will be able to solve their personal and business tasks right on the go, without the need to be distracted from driving. The autonomous vehicles with a self-parking feature will also allow the owners to save a lot of time since, after the arrival, the car will part itself independently; and the owner will be able to proceed with tasks.
  4. More independence. Self-driving cars are expected to become an option for people with impairment and disabilities. Managed with voice commands, they achieve better mobility with the car making all the necessary decisions.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Challenges and Concerns

Despite their potential, connected and automated vehicles are surrounded by concerns. There are also a lot of technical challenges to overcome to make sure that both of the technologies can be safely adopted.

Connected Cars Concerns

  • Users’ safety. A driver fatality in a Tesla car sparked a wave of criticism about this issue, although the company states, the autopilot was not enabled. What’s more, Tesla directly states that their autopilot feature is not a self-driving technology and can only be used under the attentive control of a driver.
  • Data safety. In addition to driver and passenger safety, data safety matters as well. To make automated and connected cars entirely safe, you need to protect the data they generate and close the possible security holes.

Automated Cars Concerns

All the concerns and challenges of connected cars are also relevant for self-driving technologies. Plus, the latter has some more potential bottlenecks.

  • Predictability. Self-driving cars are being developed with the ultimate safety in mind - but they can’t be absolutely predictable. Their behavior patterns need to be tested in different environments for a long time to make their behavior predictable and safe.
  • Unemployment. To date, there are 2,9 million driving jobs in America. The development and adoption of self-driving cars will make those earning their living from driving unemployed. 
  • Trust. According to a recent study, there is also an issue of trust. The study revealed that younger drivers are more likely to adopt self-driving cars, but this is the case with any innovative technology.
  • Vehicle manipulation. Even a tiny security loophole can allow hijackers to manipulate a self-driving car, forcing it to behave the way intruders want. In this case, an autonomous vehicle can become quite a dangerous toy in the hands of hackers. 

Conclusion - Building Apps for Automotive Industry

Connected cars are trendy and in demand. That’s why creating software to improve the driving experience may be a promising business idea. However, there are a lot of things to consider before getting started, since in this case, the issue of safety is much more important than market demand. To create a safe and in-demand solution for a connected car, you need to leverage the expertise of a tech-savvy vendor with experience in producing innovations for the automotive industry.

Cprime Studios is ready to contribute to safer driving in partnership with your business. Get in touch with us to discuss your idea today!