How in-car apps are changing the driving experience

June 11, 2019 | Rob LaPointe

With the exponential growth in technology, mobile phones have become a vital part of our day to day life. Mobile devices started out simply to make calling more convenient. Today, we have grown way past that with the use of mobile apps which not only make it easier to complete tasks but they also have the ability to analyze how people behave, interact with each other, and how they drive & operate their motor vehicles. Mobile driving apps are picking up steam in the app market because of the increase in demand. We are witnessing a huge shift in the car manufacturing industry with Google, Uber, and Tesla because of consumer self-driving cars.

These cars will not only lead to drivers decrease in steering wheel use but also most other manual jobs like turning on the AC, the radio, answering a call. Everything will be done right from the smartphone. The amount of connected cars is expected to reach 380 million by the end of 2021. These cars create a more relaxed convenient atmosphere for drivers, truly changing the entire driving process.

For example, Android Auto, the best in class In-car apps take the features that you love about your Android smartphone and puts them in your car’s dashboard. The most interesting feature of Android Auto is the Google Maps-based navigation system, which provides step-by-step instructions and automatically finds the best alternate route if it detects heavy traffic in between. It automatically ports over saved destinations from your phone, so there is no need to manually type in the address for “Home” or “Work”.

Android Auto also gives motorists on-demand access to millions of songs and podcasts and also letting them stay connected via phone calls and messages. This probably sounds familiar as many car brands have Apple and Android car play, however, everything including car play is becoming even more sophisticated.

In-car apps collect your data

In-car apps have the capability to track phone calls, texts, log queries to the websites you visit, record what radio stations you listen to and even predicts when you are breaking the law by exceeding the speed limit, etc.. The sheer volume of software and sensors in your car, combined with Artificial Intelligence can pump out enormous amounts of data with lightning speed. Car manufacturers, retailers, insurers, local government, and tech companies are ambitious when it comes to making use of this information and transform them into something they can monetize. Although, apps to purchase cars was just the start of technology that helps car manufacturers.

The cars manufactured nowadays are equipped with cameras, wireless sensors & data connections, making it much easier for automakers to collect multiple datasets. There is no limit or control over the data captured by all the other devices like radar sensors, diagnostic systems, in-dash navigation systems and built-in cellular connections in automobiles.

What is being collected, where is the data going, and how is it being used?

Right now the data being collected is all of your driving habits, everything from destinations, speed, radio stations you listen to. Even though the in-car apps might capture your digital moves and data while you drive, the primary collector and ownership of data is the car manufacturer. It offers potentially valuable new opportunities for them. Although it’s wise to be conscious of how much data you collect, there are so many opportunities to provide drivers customized items.

Many drivers view this data collection process as useful. Like an alert when the car needs an oil change or service, map-based navigation, alert on the gas station nearby and lot more. There is a concern that the automaker’s ultimate objective is to collect as much data as possible. However, carmakers put forth a common objective that the data they collect is helping them build a better driving experience.

It’s time to build in-car apps!

With the increase in demand for cars with seamless and stunning driving experiences, there is a gradual increase in the demand for in-car apps. The connected car services are estimated to reach close to $156 billion by 2022. Numerous third-party app developers are embracing this new market of connected cars to capitalize on it. There are several approaches to building in-car apps and each of them has their own peculiarities and challenges. Some of them include:

1. In-Vehicle Information Systems Apps – In-Vehicle Information (IVI) systems are developed exclusively by the original equipment manufacturers along with the help of the app developers. This provides all the entertainment and information car owners need and want. It’s essentially what is in your screen display.

2. API based development – Here the mobile connection between a carmaker and a smartphone is enabled on a single production line and the car manufacturer takes sole responsibility for car data gathering and analysis. This is where Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come in. In this approach, the application communicates with a car through a dedicated API channel and restrict 3rd party developers having access to the core car functions such as braking or electronics systems.

3. SmartDeviceLink – This provides app developers an open-source library to create what they want a put in the vehicle. It essentially connects within the in-vehicle service. This can be the best of both worlds because it not only improves the in-car apps but also the Android and iOS apps.

4. Access to vehicle data through onboard diagnostic systems (OBD-II) – Harnessing data gathering from OBD-II is the most transparent approach of building in-car apps is with this technology. The app can run on a smartphone or right in the Cloud. You can create really great apps on your smartphone which uses this technology to help you learn about your customers and provide them information on items they would want or need.

Why is now the time to develop in-car apps?

Because we are still in the early stages, there are tremendous opportunities within the connected car app field. There are more options than ever before. Many brands are taking advantage of in-car apps to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. The demand for these apps will only rise over the years.

Looking to build a Connected Car application which is fast and cost-effective that offers drivers a fantastic user experience with enhanced safety, security, and entertainment? SDI has rich experience in developing in-car apps with an ability to handle unique challenges for networking and safety. We are well versed with restrictions, policies, and guidelines that should be considered while developing an application for connected cars. Start disrupting this evolving market by pairing with our innovative and tactical solutions team. You can contact Rob LaPointe at or Call us at +1.408.621.8481.

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