As the market continues to grow for smart-phone and tablet computer apps, car companies are beginning to want a piece of the action so they can offer you a variety of cloud computing apps in your vehicle. Whether it is apps for finding parking at the local mall or GPS apps for directions, car companies like Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and Toyota are upgrading their cars to accommodate their clients’ digital lifestyles. For example, Mercedes-Benz is developing a series of apps that use voice recognition software for interaction with Facebook and Twitter while you are driving.
Many of these new apps are not yet on the wider marketplace in the United States, but have debuted in overseas markets. One popular app that just recently debuted in the US is one for drivers of electric cars that allows the user of an iPhone or Android to check the battery level of their car and remotely initiate the charging procedure. Other apps being looked at by these companies include ones that would allow you to activate the heater and air conditioning of your car from inside your home, just minutes before you begin your day’s travels.
One of the interesting apps that Toyota has been developing is one that allows access to a FourSquare-style social network for its cars. This app can send alerts to an owner on a variety of items. On Toyota’s electric cars, there is even a feature that reminds owners to charge the vehicle. The purpose of this app is to connect car owners, dealers, and Toyota to one another to exchange information on the performance of Toyota’s vehicles.
Not to be outdone by Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, Ford is getting in on the cloud computing game with the development of its Evos Concept Car. This vehicle is designed to offer its driver a host of apps that assist with your driving habits and are also able to open the garage door by communicating with gadgets in your home. Also this car is being designed with apps that will allow the car’s entertainment system to tune into a radio program that the driver was listening to at home. Finally, it is also offering features that will set the car’s climate to match what the climate of the home was prior to departure. Overall, Ford is trying to build a car that will fully incorporate its customers’ digital lifestyles into their transportation.
Besides Ford’s cutting edge approach to incorporating cloud computing options into its cars, Toyota has developed a close partnership with Microsoft to make Toyota’s cars into moving information terminals. Toyota is looking to utilize the Windows Azure program and Microsoft’s immense information technology structure to increase the total value of its automobiles. Plans are being laid to move far beyond today’s basic safety communications apps to new apps that will improve overall driver and traffic safety.
The way that Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and Toyota are entering the world of cloud computing in their vehicles is certainly exciting. These cutting edge developments are certainly going to change the future of the way cars are made and used. Who knows, it might not be long until we see cloud computing apps that are used to have computers control our cars’ driving on a smart-grid network for street traffic.
Chris DeHarty is currently doing his Bachelors degree in Arts at the University of Guelph and loves to write blog posts on cars and technology. Recently he has written a few articles about the services that Kanetix offers and how it can save you hundreds of dollars every year.