Mobility and the connected car

How could connected cars change our future - in fact, could we rethink urban transport completely? Four speakers explore this topic at NEXT14

Four talks rethinking the way we use cars to improve our lives.

WARNING: Liveblogging – prone to error and inaccuracy. Will be updated/improved over the next 48 hours.

Tony Douglas, BMW


BMWi is all about getting from A to B fast in a city. That’s not an issue of horsepower, as it is on the Autobahn.

All BMWs on the market today are connected – that’s what allows them to deliver online services already. That’s easy.

What’s harder is things like car parking and car sharing. They have non-BMW brand products like ParkNow and DriveNow to explore these issues. They’re gaining 15k new customers a month for the car-sharing service.

ChargeNow is about solving the hard bit of charging electric cars – when you’re out and not when you’re at home. ParkNow – finding, paying for and yield managing parking space. DriveNow’s success has opened the way for them to experiment with electric car usage in sharing. Alphacity brings car sharing to fleets. Much of your fleet is inactive at any time – that’s a huge waste of resources.

BMW i Ventures backs smart startups in the car space.

Sven Krüger, Deutsche Telekom, T-Systems


Most people think of the Google project when you talk about connected cars. There are several similar projects in Europe now. The Swedish Government plans to have connected autonomous cars on the road by 2017. This opens up the issue of what we can do when we’re driving. Many of us do this already – safely or not. But the car could be a second home or office of the future.

Service providers will need ways of connecting to different car types. On the other side we have OEMs trying to build their own ecosystems – we just heard about BMW’s. They’re trying to develop brand loyalty – and services could be part of that. This is complexity! Each service provider having to build connections to every ecosystem is a lot of work. What you really need is a service in the middle.

T-Systems wants to build a Business-2-Car platform. Open, standardised and inclusive, so everyone can use it. You always need to feel secure in your car – so security and privacy are really important in this.

For example, every car built after 2002 has a small connector built-in: OBDii. You can add a small device to that, that talks to your smartphone, and communicates diagnostic information. How about real-time tracking of logistics drivers? Better organisation, better driver training, reduction of maintenance costs could all come from that.

Carlo De Micheli, OSVehicle


The Open Source Vehicle project started nine years ago, with the idea of disrupting the automotive industry. It hasn’t changed much in 40 years, and its major players are like dinosaurs: big, but slow moving. It’s a monolithic approach, with the manufacturers taking the majority of the margin. Using the open source hardware model, we can distribute the margins. We can create new companies building cars around open source components – and we can save 20% of the cost.

What are the key elements? A common platform – TABBY:

OSVehicle: TABBY Timelapse from OSVehicle on Vimeo.

It takes less than an hour to build a vehicle.

You also need an engine. They’ve developed a model that can be hybridised. Urban Tabby allows you to work with the legal specifications – and then you just design on top.

There are now 100 startups building vehicles on top of this platform. They can innovate faster than the dinosaurs of the industry.

Peter Skillman, HERE


Connectivity is transforming the car experience right now. The internet in the car is at a pretty early stage right now. It’s pretty messy. There are about 23m connected cars globally right now – in 2020 that will be 152 million. There’s layers and layers of different tech to make it work. Every single operating system is different – manufacturers are experimenting with all sorts of systems, and interacting with all sorts of phones. What happens? You have people going to ridiculous lengths to bring their equipment into the car. There’s a taxi driver in Helsinki who glued a tablet into his car to get simple navigation.

However, this leads to really dangerous behaviour. Cars are optimised for driving – not managing playlists or texting. If you text message on a cellphone your crash risk is 22 times higher than normal.

So, what will make a difference? Love.

People love their smartphones. We have deep relationships with our personal technology. There are 518 millions smartphones in use. 80% of teenagers sleep with their mobile phones in the US. People do not have the same relationship with the car system. HERE wants to make you fall in love with the in-dash system.

It needs to be:

  • Personal – your data, your accounts
  • Pure – what you remove is more important than what you put in
  • Beautiful essentials – 1000 little details become really differentiating
  • More emotion is better than less
  • Location – let’s talk more about that:

You need seamless connection between your mobile device experience and your car. You need immersion – a better way of putting you in the map. You need predictive analytics, which know roads are opening up, or can share pothole information. It can predict how fast you should be going into a curve, and warn you if you’re too hot. The view on your nag system should switch to give you better information.

The connected car + you + enabling tech + a connected car = better experience – and autonomous driving.

88% of people aren’t comfortable with this yet. But if we find ways of making cars act more human, we’ll get a lot closer. The more they drive like us, corner like us, the more natural they’ll feel – and the more we’ll adopt them at scale.

Ultimately – we could eliminate accidents, and what’s not to love about that?