Editorial

Integrating The Cloud Into Our Cars Will Forever Change How We Drive

Finally, technology that makes driving more fun.

The cloud is one of the many pieces of technology in this modern age that is making a rapid change in how we do things. It includes things like Netflix, Instagram, Spotify, and anything else that involves storing or accessing data from the Internet. The cloud makes life easier by letting us borrow media from a shared source instead of trying to store every movie we wanted to watch and every song we wanted to play on our laptops and phones, and it’s only a matter of time before cars get connected too.

Sure, some cars today can use apps like Pandora and connect to the cloud to stream a road trip playlist, but the opportunities don't stop there. Rolls-Royce has already pioneered one of the first technologies that takes advantage of information streaming to make driving better. It does it by linking the transmission to a GPS. A Rolls owner wont be able to tell the difference, but their car rides more smoothly by having the GPS communicate with the transmission to ensure that the perfect gear is selected in whatever situation the car might run into. If a Wraith is climbing a hill, the GPS will know that the incline is ahead and tell the transmission to kick down a gear or two to waft up the climb.

The transmission doesn’t even have to wait to get bogged down by hauling the land yacht up a hill to downshift, it knew the hill was there and downshifted beforehand thanks to the cloud. Most advanced automotive tech today relies on mitigating the aftereffects of whatever the road throws at it instead of predicting and avoiding it. Engines are programmed with engine maps for different load scenarios, anti-lock brakes and traction control systems keep drivers from smashing their rides into trees when things get slippery, and transmissions shift gears to better suit whatever road condition they find themselves in. But wouldn’t it be better for your car to already know these things by talking to the cloud?

Ideally, cars of the future would have the brains and the connectivity to know what road conditions look like to set engine maps, choose a gear, and even lean the car into a turn like the Mercedes S-Class Coupe. These changes would yield improvements in fuel economy, performance, comfort, and most importantly, satisfaction. Another level of connectivity that some automakers have included in their cars is to have sensors that measure wear and tear of components to warn the driver when the car needs maintenance and also help manufacturers design and build parts that last longer. Tesla already uses the cloud to do this and then beams updates to their cars when needed.

It might sound creepy to let car companies know all of this information, but then again, our cellphones do more to invade our privacy than any car ever will. Besides, who wouldn’t want to be able to upload new high-power engine maps over the cloud when sitting at a stoplight next to someone who wants a race?

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