Do you have a connected vehicle? You know, a car with an interactive dashboard that can access the internet and communicate with other connected devices — both inside and outside the vehicle.
Not yet? Don't worry – you're not alone. Only about 25% of cars are connected at this point, according to 451 Research. But 82% of new cars will be connected in 2021, per a study by Business Insider.
New automotive technology at your dashboard allows you to review stock quotes, scan sports scores, check the weather, access live video, shop, order food and much more.
Connectivity is what lets you access navigation, real-time traffic updates, local search and more while on the road. That's why automakers are aggressively adding connectivity and in-dash apps to vehicles.
Who knows, your dashboard may soon become as versatile as your laptop or mobile phone. It's all part of the race to capture consumer spending behind the wheel.
So don't be surprised if at some point in the not-too-distant future, internet access will be as important as fuel efficiency and engine power when you purchase your next car.
Here are five important trends about the connected car:
01 Connected cars will more than double in five years.
Connected car commerce will zoom to $265 billion by 2023, according to a report by Juniper Research. And the number of connected vehicles will jump from 330 million in 2018 to more than 775 million by 2023. That means connected car commerce could exceed 8.2 billion transactions annually in the next four years.
02 You can pay for fuel from your dashboard.
Jaguar Land Rover drivers in the United Kingdom can now use their car's touchscreen to pay for fuel with a new cashless payment app at Shell gas stations.
Rather than using a card at the pump, or paying inside, car owners who install the Shell app can simply drive up to any pump at a Shell service station (initially in the U.K. and then globally) and use the vehicle's touchscreen to select how much fuel they require and pay using PayPal or Apple Pay.
Look for more automakers to align with gas outlets and offer this service.
03 Automakers align with tech firms.
Fiat Chrysler recently announced that it will use technology from Google and Samsung to connect all its vehicles by 2022, providing music and video and facilitating future car-sharing and self-driving capabilities.
Fiat Chrysler said the system will aid owners "by predicting maintenance needs, locating fuel and charging stations, receiving traffic prompts and restaurant offers and providing live customer-care assistance at the push of the button."
This is just one of multiple partnerships between automakers and tech firms.
04 More deliveries will be made to your car.
Volvo and GM have teamed up with Amazon for in-car deliveries, with or without the owner being there. It's intended as an alternative for people who don't want to risk having their package stolen from their front porch or receive deliveries at their workplace. Customers can track when their car is unlocked and relocked through the Amazon Key app.
05 Voice technology will prevail.
The hands-free era is here to stay, so voice technology will dominate the connected car industry. Amazon's Echo Auto is an early player in the space. You can use the service to pay for parking in some places through an Alexa voice assistant.
Widespread access to a connected car is not here yet, but it's getting close. It's only a matter of time before all cars are 'connected cars' and the term becomes a given. Read more about the connected car and driving commerce inside vehicles.