As the largest ITS World Congress in the U.S. to date begins this week; the one thing that remains constant is change. Automakers are changing and it is a refreshing reality, full of hope and excitement for the future of automotive. In his keynote speech on Monday morning, Ford Motor Company executive chairman and founding partner of Fontinalis Partners, Bill Ford said “Traditionally our industry has not worked well with smaller companies.” This year’s ITS World Congress is proving that this notion is a thing of the past.

One notable partnership is between smart parking leader Parkmobile and German automaker BMW. On Monday morning the announcement, as described in their press release, was made that a substantial investment by the BMW Group was being made in Parkmobile. Parkmobile’s app allows drivers to pay for parking via their smart phone, eliminating the need to search for change for parking meters. BMW also is integrating “Parkmobile’s on-demand mobile payment solution,” with ParkNow to allow drivers to pre-pay for parking before they arrive. This simplified parking solution is being made available not just for BMW connected vehicles, but for all automakers.

“The integration between Parkmobile’s on-demand and ParkNow’s prepaid system provides consumers with a superior mobile payment experience for on- and off-street parking,” said Cherie Fuzzell, CEO of Parkmobile USA, Inc. “At the same time, the strategic investment of the BMW Group clearly demonstrates Parkmobile’s expanding leadership in the mobile payment and connected vehicle space.”

The next generation in mobility is certainly upon us. In the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Summit, Dr. Ahmad Bahai, CTO, Texas Instruments, explained that "In the next couple of years there will be around 24 million connected cars on the road." It was also explained, during the CTO summit, that each car will have more than 8,000 semiconductor devices creating 10 TB of data from each automobile every 30 minutes. This means that once we reach the 24 million threshold, we will be creating approximately 133,000 TB of data per second from our vehicles. Visteon estimates big data from each vehicle is worth $150 per car.


Rodney O’Neal, CEO and president of Delphi, challenges autonomous vehicles with a few very real questions including “will drivers pay for autonomous vehicles?” and “how will police pull over an autonomous vehicle?” One additional question would be, what are we going to do with all of this data? This creates rising issues in regards to storage, privacy and safety.

In an effort to lead the charge in connected vehicle technology, the University of Michigan (U of M) is planned to test 9,000 driverless vehicles in Ann Arbor. In a tweet during #ITSWC14, Nikki Sunstrum, director of social media for U of M said, “It’s not just about getting to an era where we can #GoDriverless, it’s about getting to cars that don’t crash.” Crashing seems to be one of the more pressing questions from drivers who seem to be afraid of the technology. Attendees at #ITSWC14 were on hand on historic Belle Isle to see autonomous vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) capabilities, including crash prevention technology from automakers.

“Part of our job is to make the connect car easy for those afraid of technology,” said Bill Ford, during his keynote Monday morning. To make the connected car easier Bill Ford says "it's all about collaboration," and OEMs must join forces with competitors to continue innovate. In the near future, we can expect to see more strategic partnerships between OEMs and developers like the relationship between Parkmobile and BMW.