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The Intelligent Vehicle

Note: The following is taken from a keynote I gave at CTS/CES this week on the connected car.

A lot of people talk about the connected car, but at INRIX we have a fairly unique perspective since we collect real-time information from more than 185 million vehicles and devices every day.  With this perspective, we believe we’re approaching a new world, looking at all the sensors that exist in a car and asking what we can do for societal benefit. We started INRIX with a singular question, “Can we reduce traffic congestion?” The answer was ‘Yes’. But through that process, we see a myriad of other opportunities to transform data from vehicles into useful insight for both drivers and cities.  Can we improve safety through road weather condition reports? Yes. Can we help people find parking? Yes. Are there dozens of other applications we can develop to benefit society?  Yes.  But we approach this new world with 5 key tenants which I think are important for all OEMs and people in this industry to adhere to.

The first tenant is the services in the car have to be intelligent. Today vehicles and the HMI of vehicles are over burdened by the user having to click a dozen times or more to get the information they’re looking for. The information has to be relevant, personalized and intelligent meaning don’t make me click multiple times to figure out where the cheapest gas stations are. Instead, detect where my fuel status is and alert me and give me the information because you’ve learned where my home and where my work is so you can alert me along the road that I need gas and where’s the cheapest location for me to stop along the away. Learn from the vehicle itself about the users’ behavior and be intelligent. Rather than the user pulling the information, anticipate drivers’ needs and automatically push it to them.

The second tenant is vehicle integration. This is key and what is missed a lot in terms of the whole Google and Apple discussion. People are worried about Google and Apple and what’s going to happen in the car, but the key for OEMs is vehicle integration. Most of these scenarios about road weather, parking and fuel information all require vehicle-based data. OEMs can use that data to increase the value in their cars. Google and Apple are out demanding the information for different purposes. They’re demanding it because they want to improve their own autonomous vehicles and who knows whether Google will compete or not in terms of building their own cars. They’re also using the data to advertise and target the user.  Their goal is to own the user data regardless of the safety risks or consumer desire to receive targeted advertising while they’re driving.

The third tenant is around community. They key of community are the network effects.  When you have millions of millions of people and in a given city that can provide this data, the quality and value of the data gets better. The more vehicles you have that can give you specific information, the more valuable the service can be. This is why multiple OEM’s participating in a driver network is so important – the data continually gets better with each vehicle shipped.

The fourth tenant is integration with the mobile phone. People already have calendars and contacts on their mobile phone and the OEM won’t be able to replicate that. But by integrating with the information consumers already have on their mobile phones, you can now do very interesting things. I want my car to be able to say “Bryan you’re going to be 15 minutes late to work today, I can see Jon and Scott are in your first meeting.  Do you want me to alert them that you’re going to be late?” People have talked about this scenario for years, but I think these type of highly personalized experiences are something you will see roll out in the next year.  In the future, this type of experience will go even further and notify your alarm clock that it needs to wake you up 30 minutes earlier that day in an effort to help you arrive on time regardless of the delay.

The fifth and final tenant is simplicity.  Everything has to be simple – people don’t like complexity. This industry has been bad in terms of designing easy HMIs. These HMIs have to be very easy, personal and relevant to the drivers themselves. Most importantly, these services have to be OEM centric and be centered around the driver and the in-vehicle experience as opposed to centered around the needs of a vendor such as Google or Apple who have other objectives in mind.

Overall, we are at a real inflection point in the industry and we at INRIX are excited to be a part of helping make vehicles truly intelligent moving forward.

INRIX Partners with Samsung

INRIX on Gear Watch

Proud to say INRIX has entered a strategic partnership with Samsung focused on levering mobile technology to connect cars for smarter cities.   Debuting on Samsung’s new lineup of mobile devices just in time for the holidays, INRIX real-time traffic and travel time insight powers several new apps and services designed to help drivers save time, fuel and avoid frustration every day including:

  •  “Car Mode.”  Consumers can set their device to automatically switch to a driver friendly user interface that uses voice controls and larger, crisper fonts and button sizes to make it easier to get traffic information, make calls, listen to messages and play music on the road.  Car mode provides real-time traffic maps showing the best routes, travel times and ETAs to home and work in traffic.  Continuously monitoring conditions on the driver’s route throughout their journey, car mode also provides voice alerts to drivers about accidents and other incidents in enough time to avoid delays as well as access to real-time insight into the closest available off-street parking and least expensive place to refuel.
  •  “My Places” Widget.  Samsung’s new My Places widget provides Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge owners with ‘glance and go’ insight into the best route, travel time and ETA from their current location to home and to work.
  • Samsung Gear S Smartwatch and INRIX XD Traffic app integration.  INRIX XD Traffic app users now can receive departure alerts for saved places in the app that tells them the best time to leave and expected travel time in traffic to their destination.
  •  “Morning!” Smart Alarm Clock App.  Morning! Smart Alarm Clock is a smart alarm app that gets you up and going with weather, traffic conditions to work, your appointments of the day, and unread emails – all to help you get your day started right. INRIX helps this app jump start commuters’ day each morning with insight into recommended departure times and travel times in traffic to work and alerts to accidents and other incidents causing delays on their route.

INRIX Projects Annual Cost of Gridlock

Today INRIX completed a study with the Center for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) projecting the combined annual cost of traffic gridlock in Europe and the US will soar to $293 billion by 2030 if nothing significant is done to address it.  This is almost a 50% increase from 2013, driven mainly by urban population growth and higher living standards as a result of increased GPD per capital.

What can be done?  The key is to make data-driven decisions.  Drivers make better decisions about when to drive and where to drive if they have real-time information available to them.  Too often governments make decisions based on politics and not data about what will have the biggest impact on reducing congestion.

Better data = better decisions = reduced congestion.  At INRIX, we’re trying to do our part to provide this.

Why I’m Now Blogging

Yes, I know everyone else has been blogging forever, but given my day job (running a company), I just haven’t found the time or the need.  However, in my position at CEO of INRIX I’m watching first-hand how the automotive and transportation industries are changing.

I used to live in Detroit and work at the Ford Motor Company.  I loved cars, but for about 100 years, the car fundamentally hasn’t changed – body styles changed and new features were added (e.g., power steering, power seats) but nothing truly revolutionary.

Until now…

Between the electric vehicle, autonomous driving, connected car services, vehicle-t0-vehicle communication, ride-sharing services and many more innovations, the automotive industry and transportation in general is *fundamentally* changing – it will look completely different in 10-20 years than it does today.  100 years and no big changes…the next 10 will change everything.

That’s exciting!  And also why I’m now blogging…to share my thoughts to whomever is interested.