Revolutionizing the in-car experience

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How the new in-car experiences are being driven by what consumers should be able to do in their cars.

Today’s car manufacturers have recognized that drivers and passengers want more than to be transported from one place to another. They also want unique, personalized, and tailored in-car experiences that allow them to interact with the many parts of their connected lives while they travel.

The demand for these new in-car experiences is being driven by a growing diversity of expectations about what consumers should be able to do in their cars – expectations that include everything from shopping to searching for information to catching up on email, sending and receiving texts, and having access to the broadest possible range of audio and video entertainment.

Much of the work of the current generation of digital services being offered in cars is designed to replicate the functionality of services already available on smartphones – allowing users to control on-screen navigation systems, select music and news sources, get traffic information, and handle messages largely through voice commands.

Meanwhile, in-car integration of popular voice command technologies – such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Voice Assistant (as part of Android Auto) and Apple’s Siri (as part of Apple CarPlay) – is providing access to many common streaming services, for which some consumers are already paying.

But imagine what may be possible when consumers are able to harness even more powerful technologies that bring together data about the environment around the car with sensor data from within the car and input from internal and external cameras – and with artificial intelligence to make sense of it all. Car manufacturers could improve safety by alerting drivers when data from the internal cameras show the driver may be falling asleep, for example.

Some services, of course, will just be more practical additions to what drivers and passengers can already do, such as in-car shopping as in GM’s Marketplace, which provides special offers to customers based on their location, and exclusive partnerships with a variety of retail partners.

An interesting perspective on this kind of service comes from a 2018 report by Visa and PYMNTS.com, The Digital Drive. The authors of the report surveyed more than 2,000 consumers and their findings suggested that nearly three quarters of all respondents – and notably 82% of millennials with long commutes – said they would shop more if the ability to shop and pay were integrated into their car. Even more telling is the fact that almost 30% said they would shop online in their vehicle if the car drove itself.

The next step beyond shopping from your car will actually be delivery of goods to your car, something Amazon announced in 2018. The online retail giant has partnered with a number of car manufacturers – including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, and Volvo – to allow goods purchased from Amazon.com to be delivered directly to the trunk of any car participating in the initiative. Known as Amazon Key – and available to Amazon Prime members – it was initially rolled out in more than 37 US cities.

Also noteworthy, the use of fully autonomous vehicles will create on average 200 hours per year of new free time for owners. This approaches the average amount of vacation time many people have in a year.

In short, the new arena for innovation by automotive OEMs will be designing experiences centered on integrated, connected in-car experiences, versus the traditional approach of physical design and performance of the vehicle itself.

To learn more about Capgemini’s automotive practice, contact Mike Hessler, North America Automotive and Industrial Equipment Lead, at michael.hessler@capgemini.com.

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