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Connected Car Weekly: ‘Eye-Opening’ Telematic Insights and Garage Door Control From Anywhere

Like other tech enthusiasts, drivers are also now looking forward to receiving the latest feature or software update for their other connected device — their vehicle.  

This week, connected vehicles were given the chance to adopt new capabilities via the launch applications that help fleet managers monitor drivers’ safety practices, a service that lets owners control their garage door from anywhere through their vehicle’s in-dash touchscreen, and smartphone-like over-the-air software upgrades that deliver the latest digital products to two million vehicles around the world. 

See also: From Safety Monitoring to Driver Coaching, Fleet Telematics Offer ‘Eye-Opening’ Insights 

A growing number of tools are now available to help fleet managers monitor their drivers’ safety practices. These telematics-based systems enable managers to see in real time how vehicles are being operated and then use data-based reporting to keep track of trends over time. 

Telematics use data from Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and on-board diagnostics (OBD) to track a vehicle’s movements and performance, for routing and other purposes. Because OBD monitors things like speed and braking, these systems can share accurate data about the vehicle’s performance with both fleet managers and drivers. 

“They become aware of exactly how they are behaving on the roads, and the results are sometimes eye-opening,” said Terry Winslow, president of The CEI Group, in a statement announcing the release of a new product. 

With CEI’s smartphone app, DriverCare CoPilot, which was announced on Monday (Oct. 11), drivers are scored on their safety practices and driving data is shared with fleet managers via a web portal. 

Garage Door From Anywhere 

Drivers of select Mitsubishi vehicles can now open, close and check the status of their garage door — from anywhere, at any time — through their vehicle’s in-dash touchscreen using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. 

This connected service is available to owners of select 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander and select 2018 and newer Eclipse Cross vehicles. It requires the My Mitsubishi Connect app and a myQ Connected Garage available from Chamberlain Group, which has offered garage door controls through a smartphone app since 2011. 

“Mitsubishi drivers expect modern, convenient, connected in-car experiences, and in-dash, touchscreen garage control is one way we deliver on that,” Cason Grover, director of product planning at Mitsubishi Motors North America, said in an Oct. 11 press release announcing the addition of Apple CarPlay to this service. 

BMW Goes With Remote Software Upgrade 

Smartphones aren’t the only connected devices to get regular updates over the air. BMW announced on Monday (Oct. 11) that it will offer its third over-the-air remote software upgrade of the year for two million connected BMW vehicles worldwide. This upgrade will bring the latest digital products into the vehicle and ensure that software is up to date.

The new and enhanced functions include improved lane departure warning, enhanced real-time traffic information for BMW Maps, and Spotify podcast playlists available through BMW Connected Music. The automaker is promoting the upgrade with a video posted on YouTube. 

The rollout of BMW Operating System 7 (Ver. 21-07) started on Oct. 11 in Germany and will expand in stages to other markets. The automaker reports that by the end of the year, there will be more than 2.5 million connected BMW vehicles in operation around the world.

Related news: Prospect of Recurring Billing Revenue Drivers Automakers’ Investment in Connected Services 

When General Motors announced on Oct. 6 that connected services will play a large role in its plans to double its revenue by 2030, the forecast marked the latest iteration of the ambitions that Detroit’s “Big 3” automakers — and others — have in this realm. 

Rather than simply building and selling vehicles, all three manufacturers are looking to build longer-lasting relationships with their customers through subscription-based connected services. 

GM projects annual software and services revenue in the $20 billion to $25 billion range from 30 million connected vehicles by the end of the decade. Compare that to 16 million vehicles that currently use GM’s OnStar connectivity platform today, with software and services generating a projected $2 billion in annual revenue, and the upside opportunity becomes clear. 

Similarly, Ford announced in May that connected services are a key part of its Ford+ plan for growth and value creation. Pairing vehicles and connected technology will mean stronger loyalty and greater returns across all of the company’s customers, said Ford CEO Jim Farley. 

Another member of the Big 3, Stellantis, announced in May that it is working with electronics manufacturer Foxconn to develop digital cockpits and personalized connected services. The companies formed a joint venture called Mobile Drive that will competitively bid for global vehicle program contracts with Stellantis and other auto industry companies.  

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