Will connected cars define the future?

The internet has done its best to connect as many things as possible over the years, and it appears that cars could be next in line. 

And no, this isn't to make it easier to send Snapchats while driving. Instead, manufacturers are looking at allowing cars to communicate in an effort to promote safety. Cars already have automated emergency braking, so if they can all talk to each other we should be able to avoid accidents altogether, right?

What will the future hold?

Connected vehicles aren't the only way cars are getting smarter, with manufacturers keen to add a range of data-reliant services, according to Frost & Sullivan. Many of the trends currently being managed by the IT world are making their way over to vehicles as software becomes integral to their operation. 

The firm also expects manufacturers to continue their focus on smartphone connectivity, especially as free GPS apps begin to rival those already installed in vehicles. This is prompting them to step up their game with regards to these services. 

"While embedded connectivity is on the rise due to specific regulations related to telematics, shared data plans and smartphone-based connectivity will also gain prominence in the global mass market," Frost & Sullivan Automotive & Transportation Research Analyst Ramnath Eswaravadivoo said. 

"OEMs wanting to compete with free smartphone-based navigation solutions are offering connected capabilities with dynamic re-routing, real-time traffic and point of interface services."

Another way cars are being treated like software is in the way they can now be updated 'over-the-air', the same way a smartphone or tablet can be. There are barriers to this however, with security efforts needing to evolve at the same rapid pace as the rest of this technology to keep drivers safe. 

How will connected cars promote safety?

The University of Michigan has been conducting experiments in conjunction with General Motors to fine tune what could be the world's first connected car. The pioneering technology allows cars to send data reflecting their speed, steering and braking inputs and other necessary data to vehicles within a few hundred metres. 

This is intended to help with accident avoidance, as, in theory, vehicles will be able to detect impending collisions from the data they receive. GM is predicting this technology will debut in 2017, which could mark a major change for fleet services

Japanese manufacturers are also developing an equivalent, and are hoping common guidelines can be set between all major manufacturers so the technology can be released to the public by 2017.