The Romance between Auto and High Tech

The deepening relationship between high tech and the auto industry is evident this month as key players attend each other’s industry shows.  More automakers than ever, including Ford, Audi, Toyota, Chevrolet and Hyundai are at International CES this week, the well-known mega consumer electronics show.  This kind of presence at a show like CES demonstrates the value of high tech in the auto industry, which is enabling new breakthroughs such as connected vehicles, increased safety, better infotainment and even autonomous driving. 

And as an example on the auto show side, Dell is, for the first time, attending the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to share how electric scooter manufacturer, Current Motor, has leveraged Dell technology to develop an all-electric scooter that talks to the cloud. 

In each Current Motor Super Scooter, there is an onboard computer collecting data from sensors throughout the bike.  This data, from the temperature of battery cells, to the amperage, to the average trip speed and length, is routinely sent to the cloud through the scooter’s onboard 3G connection.  In short, this enables:

  • Better customer service – Current Motor is able to see exactly how the scooter has been driven, and use this information to send alerts to the bike and quickly and accurately resolve issues.
  • On demand vehicle info – Customers use the Current Motor smart phone app to remotely communicate with their bike.  Customers can see key performance indicators at all times and schedule their charging to take advantage of times with lower electrical rates.
  • Geo-social applications – These scooters are a wifi-on-wheels, which gives drivers the ability to access online maps and social networks, as long as the scooter is safely parked.

I believe that Current Motor is a leading example of what is possible, today, by linking products to the cloud.  The potential for the rest of the automotive industry is pretty remarkable.  Dealers could provide better maintenance service when vehicles can ‘phone home’ with key data.  The OEMs can customize tuning by understanding individual driver habits or preferences.  Parents can monitor their kids’ driving habits…and know exactly where the have been.  All of which opens new questions about privacy and legal issues…. an almost inevitable outcome of new breakthroughs in technology. 

My prediction for the New Year is that the auto industry will fairly dramatically increase its use of IT to not only improve their products, but to improve the efficiency of their organizations.  Streamlined, connected IT can help employees have access to the right data at the right time to make the right decisions much lower in the organization than typically seen with many automakers.  

There’s an exciting romance between auto and high tech these days.  I think this will grow into a long-term, stable relationship producing vehicles that we all look forward to driving.  What do you think?

About the Author: Kirsten Billhardt