Hardpoints for Connected Cars

The emergence of connected cars has enabled a range of technologies that certainly improve the driving experience and safety. However, the car’s ecosystem itself is limited to its configuration at factory rollout. Adding extra peripherals may require under-the-hood know-how.

While cars have bloated in size, their interiors doesn’t present itself as modular as say a home would. A home automation project benefits from drywalls and standardized electrical systems in a way that cars can’t match. Many vehicles now ship with USB ports standard and users can purchase a cigarette lighter receptacle. But drilling holes into the plastic dashboard? Using double-sided tape or velcro? There has to be a better option that can secure devices in the vehicle.

An Exercise

A user needs to mount a sensor in the interior of a vehicle. There are a few things to consider in its placement:

  • Stability. If it shifts while driving does it affect performance?
  • Security. How can I make it tamper proof and prevent theft?
  • Power requirements. Do I need to snake a wire to it?

Perhaps there’s an opportunity to standardize a hardpoint that in the interior of vehicles. A mount that can securely hold and deliver power to a device. Then

This hardpoint doesn’t have to require developing a new port that intends to succeeds the cigar lighter. The physical mount could take inspiration from GoPro/action camera mounts but with a locking mechanism that prevents theft. For power, a USB-C port and a short cable could fit the bill.

Where to put it

One place that makes the most sense for this hardpoint is by the rearview mirror on the roof of the vehicle. It makes for more convenient install of a dashcam, front-proximity sensor, rain sensor, or GPS unit. Perhaps a smartphone arm (with power) so I won’t need those suction cup mounts anymore.

Move it elsewhere and potential applications may change. Towards the rear a reverse parking sensor may be suitable. On the center console a second screen could display additional telemetry. However, this also creates another user problem because some devices may not function optimally depending on where it is mounted. And standardizing the position of such a mount is another issue.

Though at the end of the day, the industry is already gravitating towards having as many cameras and sensors as possible. As it looks, the need for a hardpoint decreases as tech gets shoved into automobiles.