NOVI — Get ready for a new buzzword to describe your car: Chatty.
As in, how chatty do you want your car to be? After all, it’s got tons of information coming in from sensors, like MPG and oil life and tire pressure. Then there’s another ton of information coming in from satellite radio and the Internet through your smartphone — emails, text messages, news alerts, weather alerts.
So how much of that information do you want displayed on your instrument panel while you’re driving? Or how much would you like to have read to you by a computer? And how much will the government allow?
Those are a few of the issues that were up for grabs this week at the Suburban Collection Showplace as Telematics Update magazine brought its Telematics Detroit 2012 conference to the motor capital.
Several Detroit-area companies exhibited, obviously, including Compuware Corp.’s Covisint secure collaboration service.
“We provide a platform of engagement and identity management,” said David Miller, the company’s chief security officer. “We provide the owner experience for the connected vehicle outside the vehicle — where do I go to sign up the vehicle, get access to content, register my phone. And we provide the vehicle API and SDK that’s used to connect to the cloud.”
Ultimately, Miller said, all of the services that are beginning to be available today in the car represent “not the connected vehicle, but the connected owner. It’s the same experience regardless of device, and the vehicle is just another device, a peripheral. It’s like a smart printer that moves really fast, and like a smart printer that tells you when the toner is low, the car tells you the oil needs to be changed.”
Covisint was born in 2000 as a means for automakers to communicate securely online with suppliers. That workaday business mentality and bulletproof security have served Covisint well as it has grown into other industries, Miller said. Covisint now has 25 million users and handles nearly 2.4 messages a day.
Looking ahead, Miller foresees a day when your car will send your medical records to an ambulance or emergency room after a crash. And a future where the Department of Transportation will use cars on the road to find roads that need fixing — by studying wheel travel data. Or where your car will warn you of danger ahead on the road.
I also stopped by the booths of Parrot — the Paris-based telematics hardware and software provider, with its automotive headquarters in Southfield — and Livio Radio, the Ferndale developer of elegantly simple Internet radios. Cool stuff coming soon to your dashboard.