Brigitte Courtehoux, head of vehicles and connected services at PSA, sees cars as internet boxes. PSA has produced various short films showing vehicles of the future, which could be connected objects as well as cars. While in your car, you will be able to adjust the heating in your apartment or leave your clothes at a connected dry-cleaning service, which will collect your clothes?during office hours. “PSA is leading the way on digital technology because it was the telematics leader,” says Jean-Pierre?Dumoulin, technical director and Big Data expert at PSA. “We already have over a million connected vehicles on the road.”
At the beginning of the 2000s, PSA set up a joint venture with Vivendi to install the internet in its vehicles. This joint venture ended after two years, but in 2003 the group was among the first in Europe to offer an emergency call system on some vehicles. Cars were connected to the internet via SIM cards. The next step was the 2012 launch of?Peugeot Connect Apps and Citroën Multicity Connect, service platforms with applications developed by PSA. “It doesn’t make sense for automobile manufacturers to develop their own OS,” says a big data specialist. Two years later, PSA, like other manufacturers, still seems to be searching for its business model. Courtehoux acknowledges this: “Digital technology is an exciting, passionate subject, but we have to admit that automobile manufacturers are lagging behind.” Two trends, which have been successful in other groups, are emerging. PSA is focusing on the human-machine interface (HMI) to develop vehicle connectivity and optimize customer relations. “China is leading the way on the HMI. Its?developments will inspire European vehicles. For example, we?need to take the infotainment system a step further,” says Pierre-Frédéric Lebelle, vice-chairman of R&D Asia. PSA is also trying opening up its data to develop new applications with Car easy apps, the mirror image of Ford’s development kit. A mere 15,000?drivers have signed up for Peugeot Connect Apps since 2012.