Activate the autopilot at the entrance to the motorway and treat yourself to a refreshing nap at 130 km / h? This sweet dream will not come true for many years. However, the Volkswagen Group and Volvo Cars are already thinking about the price at which they will be able to charge this functionality, which opens the door to the sale of video streams via a dedicated platform. The purpose is to capture and distract the motorist who is exempt from the task of driving.
Such an architecture is under construction at Cariad, the division of the Volkswagen Group to task with this daunting task. “The model of online subscription and on-demand billing services offers enormous potential,” said Bloomberg agency director Dirk Hilgenberg. “Our ambition is to build a platform that allows you to connect to your Google, Apple or Amazon accounts, to access your entertainment or work content; to launch a video conference or prepare a presentation ”, describes Dirk Hilgenberg.
Autonomous driving will only be one service among others, on board the connected car
This summer, however, it has been demolished. Mercedes is the most advanced manufacturer on the road to self-driving cars (level 5 of 5 autonomy). However, the German has just been given permission to market his semi-autonomous level 3 system on his Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Mercedes EQS. Their very partial autonomy applies only to the 13,191 kilometers of the German motorway network, and only at less than 60 km / h. Everywhere else, assistance drops to level 2, that is, “hands on the wheel and gaze on the road”, at the level of what cars as affordable as the Renault Clio or Opel Corsa can do. .
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Volvo is expected to offer Level 3 functionality from 2023 on its next electric XC90 SUV. The price is not fixed, but this Volvo Ride Pilot system will be activated remotely once the price of the subscription has been paid online. Let us move forward in time (at least ten or fifteen years, according to the most optimistic) until the moment when level 5 autonomy will be a reality. How much will this feature be worth? Dear, in all probability. So expensive can it be difficult to find a buyer.
Volkswagen intends to charge for the use of the car in autonomous mode
The solution? Suggest to the customertry autonomous driving without obligation, by only offering the robot’s services for a period of time. Just to see.
Based on the principle that leisure is the greatest luxury, Volkswagen Group and Volvo Cars are betting that their customers will like it quickly. Until you end up subscribing to a variety of in-car services. Everything will go through the platform, like the one developed by Cariad.
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The key to such a system is “the remote updating of the software on board our cars,” Klaus Zellmer, Volkswagen Group’s sales director, explained last year. The foundation for this major project was laid at the end of 2019: Since then, any new Volkswagen can be remotely updated without going through the workshop. This open channel allows you to receive the latest roadmap. In the end, it will also allowbuy a movie, an audiobook or to subscribe to all kinds of services.
Manufacturers create portals to manage their customers’ online purchases
The movement has started. Since the beginning of 2021, owners of Volkswagen Golf, ID.3 and ID.4 equipped with either the “Discover Pro” and “Discover Media” infotainment systems have installed the We Score application, which speaks loud football news reports, tables and the latest results from their favorite football teams.
Since 2018, BMW has invented access to digital terrestrial radio, online music, smart lighting and some driving assistance. On the other hand, it benefits from the free update of voice assistant Amazon Alexa for the 1.3 million vehicles equipped with the seventh version of its operating system.
“In the future, our customers will have the choice between buying our cars, renting them for several months or even a weekend. So why not consider autonomous driving as one service among others? ”Klaus Zellmer explained in the newspaper The world, in early June 2021. Thereafter, he risked shifting the price of 7 euros per hour for autonomous driving. “If you want to leave the car alone for three hours, you only have to pay 21 euros.” Etc. This opens up a huge field from which producers will be able to draw new sources of revenue.