Connected cars are hot. According to Nielsen, connected car drivers said that the features they found most important included internet-enabled navigation (79%), safety alerts (76%), vehicle diagnostics (74%), and entertainment connectivity such as voice controls for communications and streaming audio (80%).
Given these findings, it’s no coincidence that the winners of SAP’s Connected Car Contest 2013 submitted ideas for mobile apps that encompass all of these capabilities and more. I caught up with some of the leaders of the winning teams who shared why they’re so excited about the possibilities they offer to consumers and companies.
Convenience and Safety: The Hermes Road Warrior System app aims to make every road trip worry-free by syncing data about fuel with local conveniences such as hotels, restaurants, and gas stations, plus alerts about car malfunctions. When asked about lessons learned from this contest, team lead Dwight Fraencis Dy from the University of Texas at Dallas, says that, “It’s important to understand the accounting and business side of development as well as the technology innovation itself. We didn’t get into this competition only to win but also to grow and improve, and to feed our passion.”
On-the-go Food Shopping: Pablo Sauras and Andrea Gil see their Ready2Pick app as the ultimate connected experience, allowing drivers to locate, order, and pay for take-out food or groceries, and even receive discount coupons while driving. “Consumers can save time while the service industry can increase loyalty with personalized offers,” says Sauras, a student at Clemson University.
Share v. Own: Teammates Pawel Kwiecien and Simina Pasat, both students at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, were inspired to develop their concept for an app called GroupCar after living in a house with a roommate whose car was often sitting in the driveway. “We needed a car sometimes but didn’t have to own one. Our app allows a group of people to track and split the cost and usage of the same car.”
Easy Parking: The ParkinGain app is designed to match drivers with parking spots based on price, location, travel time, and distance to their final destination. Included are discounts to local businesses, as well as navigation directions and payment options. Team co-lead Andrea Gil from Clemson University, describes the app as “a clear example of personalization technology that integrates digital and physical infrastructure to improve the driving experience and expand the reach of behavioral advertising.”
Save Fuel, Have Fun: What if your car told you how to save on fuel consumption for lower costs and a cleaner environment? That’s the idea behind the Cost per Ride app that calculates the real-time costs of every trip based on fuel prices and consumption, while also suggesting fuel-saving behavior. Team lead Julia Kindelsberger, who is a student at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, says that, “People can learn how to drive more efficiently for the environment and their own fuel costs savings, and also have fun.”
Smooth driving ahead: Adarsh Belludi, who led a team from the University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering in Bangalore, India, hopes to solve vexing traffic and safety problems. His team’s Artificial Intelligent Traffic Collision Avoidance, Clearance and Management System app will tell drivers when to leave to avoid traffic problems and arrive on time, the best speed to minimize traffic congestion, when it’s safe to change lanes and reduce bottlenecks, and the safest most convenient parking spots.
Perhaps the biggest prize lies in store for drivers as these winners begin to work with SAP experts on developing their ideas for consumption in connected cars very soon.
Follow me @smgaler