The Best Car Tech Trends of 2015… and Now 2016

The past year was big regarding transportation innovations, and we anticipate 2016 to be even more momentous. As we look forward to a new year of breakthroughs, let’s take a look at the technology that is already paving the way.

car_technology_trends

Consumers take control with the connected car.
The internet-of-things is in full force, and we don’t expect things to slow down anytime soon. One of the key drivers of this trend lies within the automobile industry, and connected car technology is already redefining the way we get around. In 2015, Microsoft, Google and Apple all announced plans for proprietary connected car platforms, bringing mobile phone functionality to your car’s console, signifying that this will likely become the norm very soon.

This technology has still not reached the masses, so if you don’t have one of the brand-new smart cars touting fancy touch screen dashboards or augmented reality, you can still enjoy the connected car experience with recent innovations. Gone are the days when you had to struggle with a clicker to open your garage, now the door can automatically open upon your arrival! In fact, the connected car industry, including apps specifically designed for cars and enhanced navigation, is estimated to grow to nearly $290 billion by 2020. Here at Metromile, we are definitely on top of this trend. All of our customers receive the Pulse, which plugs into a car’s OBD port to measure exact mileage and provide smart services like a car locator and a car health monitor. By using technology to measure exact mileage, we can save our low-mileage customers a lot of money.

The automotive industry capitalizes on big data.
Big data is another trend that continued to gain significant traction in 2015, and just like connected car technology, it is having a huge impact in the automotive industry. Manufacturers, insurers and transportation providers all have access to massive amounts of data, and if analyzed and applied correctly, can revolutionize the way they operate. Service and warranty repair data, user sentiment surrounding specific features and real-world vehicle performance are all things that can be measured to inform future car models. Even supply chain management can benefit from a better usage of big data — workflow software is already helping to uncover potential flaws while a car part is still in the blueprint stage. As Metromile’s CEO Dan Preston points out in a recent Huffington Post piece, the insurance sector is surprisingly antiquated when it comes to big data, but at Metromile, we are capitalizing on it by basing the monthly bill off of exact mileage. (more…)

Predicting the Top Car Tech Trends

The past year was big regarding transportation innovations, and we anticipate 2016 to be even more momentous. As we look forward to a new year of breakthroughs, let’s take a look at the technology that is already paving the way.

car_technology_trends

Consumers take control with the connected car.
The internet-of-things is in full force, and we don’t expect things to slow down anytime soon. One of the key drivers of this trend lies within the automobile industry, and connected car technology is already redefining the way we get around. In 2015, Microsoft, Google and Apple all announced plans for proprietary connected car platforms, bringing mobile phone functionality to your car’s console, signifying that this will likely become the norm very soon.

This technology has still not reached the masses, so if you don’t have one of the brand-new smart cars touting fancy touch screen dashboards or augmented reality, you can still enjoy the connected car experience with recent innovations. Gone are the days when you had to struggle with a clicker to open your garage, now the door can automatically open upon your arrival! In fact, the connected car industry, including apps specifically designed for cars and enhanced navigation, is estimated to grow to nearly $290 billion by 2020. Here at Metromile, we are definitely on top of this trend. All of our customers receive the Pulse, which plugs into a car’s OBD port to measure exact mileage and provide smart services like a car locator and a car health monitor. By using technology to measure exact mileage, we can save our low-mileage customers a lot of money.

The automotive industry capitalizes on big data.
Big data is another trend that continued to gain significant traction in 2015, and just like connected car technology, it is having a huge impact in the automotive industry. Manufacturers, insurers and transportation providers all have access to massive amounts of data, and if analyzed and applied correctly, can revolutionize the way they operate. Service and warranty repair data, user sentiment surrounding specific features and real-world vehicle performance are all things that can be measured to inform future car models. Even supply chain management can benefit from a better usage of big data — workflow software is already helping to uncover potential flaws while a car part is still in the blueprint stage. As Metromile’s CEO Dan Preston points out in a recent Huffington Post piece, the insurance sector is surprisingly antiquated when it comes to big data, but at Metromile, we are capitalizing on it by basing the monthly bill off of exact mileage. (more…)

The OBD-II: What’s it Doing for You?

Ever notice your mechanic plugging into that little port under your car’s dashboard? That port is part of the on-board diagnostic (OBD) system, and it is playing a major role in minimizing pollution caused by cars. Devices plugged into the OBD port are also providing important insights and optimizing the driving experience. If you missed our first blog about the history of the OBD port, here’s a quick rundown of why it exists and all of the innovative ways it is being used today.

The OBD system was first introduced in the 60’s as a way to measure a vehicle’s emissions. Decades later, a more robust version known as the OBD-II was introduced, also able to monitor parts of the chassis and body. In 1996, amendments to the Clean Air Act required the OBD-II to be built into all light-duty vehicles (aka all cars available to consumers) as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempts to reduce toxic emissions. If something in your engine malfunctions, your car might run just fine, but you could ultimately face expensive repair costs or unknowingly release toxins into the air like Benzene and Formaldehyde (potential human carcinogens). Because of this regulation, all cars will display a “check engine light” when something is wrong, and mechanics can plug into the OBD-II port to diagnose the problem. So just how bad could things get if we didn’t regulate emissions and monitor engine health? The photo below is not from a horror movie – it’s of LA in the 90’s before OBD ports were standard in all cars and it was hard to detect if an engine was dangerously inefficient.

OBD_device_benefits

Fast forward 20 years and the OBD system is proving to be an important factor in reducing the damaging effects of car emissions on our environment. Since the introduction of the Clean Air Act and the OBD requirement, toxic emissions have steadily decreased. Companies are also developing devices to use in tandem with the OBD-II port in all sorts of new and inventive ways. For example, our per-mile insurance customers plug the Metromile Pulse device into the OBD-II port to measure exact mileage. This enables us to provide low-mileage drivers with a more fair insurance pricing model, since their monthly bill is based on the miles they drive, not just on a rough estimate (which other insurance companies sometimes offer a small discount for). (more…)