The Internet of Things has taken mobile app development to the next level. The emerging technology has been especially crucial in the field of automotive apps. Developers can create such apps for iOS or Android devices offering users a range of features for their vehicles.
By creating more and more apps for car maintenance or in-vehicle entertainment, mobile app developers are now becoming a part of the auto app trend. As it’s still a comparatively new trend, don’t hesitate to take action if you want to become a part of this growing industry.
Automotive apps could serve many purposes. Here are a few examples: tracking down your vehicle in a large parking lot, navigating roads, or finding the nearest petrol station. Some emerging technologies even allow developers to build products that support vehicle maintenance.
Most of the world’s population have smartphones today. Additionally, most of the modern cars can connect to our mobile devices. It gives us a solid reason to believe that auto app development will continue its growth in the years to come.
Considering the facts pointed out above, we would like to outline six trends in the vehicle app development in 2019.
Smartphones, as it’s mentioned, are now more popular than ever. They’ve become the primary way people communicate with each other, browse the internet, and share data. Users are now comfortable with using them for every purpose.
Here is why automobile manufacturers started developing solution to let smartphones connect cars as well. They’ve explored ways to encourage mobile app developers to take part in the creation of a connected ecosystem.
Smartphone apps seemed to be the best solution for that. What’s more, they also satisfy car manufacturers’ desire to keep their systems isolated from any non-OEM software.
However, such apps need to meet specific guidelines; otherwise, they’ll fail the necessary test. As the connected car ecosystem is at an early stage, developers are often suggested to adapt already existing apps to connected vehicles, instead of trying to create new ones. It shows that manufacturers want to get their connected products off on a solid footing.
Such systems are called Over The Top (OTT). They use the full potential of a smartphone to create infotainment apps right in the vehicle. However, it still has some issues like capability. The vehicle has to be compatible to implement such a platform. That’s why there are already manufacturers who try to create the cross-platform compatible vehicles.
Another concern about OTT systems is safety. They limit the connectivity between the platform and the onboard computer. It means that these apps can cause distraction which could not be disabled. All this led to the creation of hybrid systems, which emerge the main advantages of both.
These systems are now called OBD-II. Such systems are the one-way data ports which can’t control the vehicle in any way, but they provide information that can be used to empower vehicle app development.
The onboard diagnostic systems analyze the overall vehicle condition and performance. It gives developers the ability to create apps that providing driver with extended information on vehicle performance or manage regular maintenance service.
Combined with the smartphone’s functions, apps can connect vehicle performance data with GPS and monitor drivers, which is useful for fleet management or teen drivers. Moreover, some insurance companies offer lower rates for users who have OBD-II apps and good driving habits.
As the name suggests, in-vehicle infotainment systems provide the driver and passengers with information and entertainment. In-vehicle infotainment apps can use voice commands, touchscreens, audio interfaces and all other things that your car can offer.
Such connected car apps must be built in a way that drivers can receive the needed information without distracting them from the actual driving.
A few years ago customers were more than satisfied with the usual in-vehicle features like car-to-phone Bluetooth or navigation system. Today, as technology improves, customers are getting more and more demanding. Now consumers want to be able to enjoy their favorite mobile apps while on the go.
For that reason, automotive manufacturers had to implement the handshaking software. This software is known as an application programming interface or API. It builds a bridge between in-vehicle infotainment systems and the mobile app interface.
The data that manufacturers gather and analyze through the vehicle’s mobile connection, help for simplifying car app development processes. Furthermore, if the brand incorporates APIs secure enough for each mobile operating system, the chance to have a bigger target audience increases.
SmartDeviceLink is the open-source version of Ford’s AppLink API library. Some of the giants in the industry, like Toyota, have recently adopted it for their future vehicles. Microsoft and Apple’s battle over the years has led to the creation of such open-source platforms, as more companies will build their products for them if they’re more open.
Car manufacturers can take advantage of the emergence of mobile apps and provide their extended features in connected cars, with the help of SDL. Developers who choose to innovate using SmartDeviceLink are more likely to survive the rollercoaster ride of connected car technology.
The connected vehicle app development is a new niche in the market. It brings great opportunities for current app developers and startups. The demand for such apps is set to rise in the following years. However, vehicle app development is way more complicated than a mobile one.
To succeed in the newfound niche, you need to be aware of all the approaches and trends it comes with. Your best choice might be to partner up with developers with a thorough knowledge of the technology and automotive software architecture.
We’ve listed some of the basic current trends in-vehicle app development, but the industry is growing rapidly, so you’ll need to keep up if you want to stay in the game.
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