Sleek, savvy, simple: The future of the “Connected Car”

Summary: Someday our vehicles may do the thinking for us, connecting us on and off the road.

Imagine a world in which your car does the thinking for you, simplifying your role as driver and saving you time on the road. Imagine a world in which your car could navigate you to an open parking spot or notify you of a nearby sale on items you love.

Your car would recognize your interests and could easily direct you to destinations tailored to your wants and needs.

Yesterday morning on my way to work, I was running incredibly late and knew that by the time I arrived at the office, parking would be impossible.

But wouldn’t it be cool if my car could point me in the direction of an open parking garage and inform me of any associated fees as I approached my destination? This would cut at least 30 minutes from my morning commute, letting me to stroll into the office with time to spare before my 8AM. Instead, I ran, to find the meeting room just in the nick of time.

After my morning of back-to-back meetings ended, I decided to use my lunch break to run a few errands. Digging through my purse, I realized I left my coupons at home on the kitchen table and didn’t have time to look online for printable vouchers. Wouldn’t it be convenient if my car were able to display deals based on my current location and then navigate to those stores?

In today’s world, who would mind saving some extra time and money?

As the end of the day approached, I was exhausted and ready to hit the road. About half way through my commute home, my gas light blinked and, to my surprise, the tank was on "empty."

Life would be much easier if my car could send automatic alerts when the gas tank was low and guide me to a close-by and cost-efficient gas station. Such forewarning would again save money and the misfortune of potentially getting lost searching for a gas station at an unfamiliar exit on the highway.

Soon, my dreams of an enriched driving experience may become reality.

Microsoft Research Special Projects group tipped to take on Google X

SAP has teamed with BMW Group Research and Technology to create an innovative research prototype based on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. With the extended ConnectedDrive system, we may be able to enjoy the convenience of a connected and social world right from the dashboard of our vehicles.

How would it work? You could create a mobile profile based on customized preferences like where you like to shop, your frequent destinations, foods you enjoy, your favorite restaurants, and so on. Based on your profile, your car could alert you to personalized offerings and direct you to the nearest store so that you’d never forget to buy an anniversary card or birthday gift again.

If a donut shop near your current driving location was giving away free coffee and your profile showed that you run on caffeine, your car could alert you of the deal and navigate you there. What better way to brighten your Monday morning blues than with a cup of fresh steaming hot coffee — for free?

When discussing the innovation that SAP and BMW Group Research and Technology are teaming to create, the term "Connected Car" is an understatement. The SAP HANA Cloud Platform has the advanced technology to create infinite possibilities for the future of the automotive industry that keep the driver at the center of the experience. Maybe now, not only could your car deliver you from point A to point B, but your vehicle could enhance the art and science of living.

And for me, well, you’d better believe that I’d program my car to take me straight to the best "happy hour" deal every Friday around 5PM.

Stay Connected with me on Twitter: @CMDonato or on LinkedIn