Connected Car Evolution

8/22/2013

Automakers are incorporating the latest technology into vehicles, turning them into connected devices that can perform a host of functions. New abilities in cars will also allow them to connect to other systems, such as traffic infrastructure, providing drivers with a more integrated driving experience.

The car of the future will not be cut off from the world, but will instead be linked to a variety of systems. To enable these functions, automakers are embedding connectivity in the vehicle. For example Audi, www.audi.com, is integrating 4G LTE data transfer into a production car. The Audi S3 Sportback is the first car to receive the upgrade, though the company says the technology will be available in other cars in the premium compact range in November.

4G LTE will be a boon to the Audi connect system, says Audi, and could lead to a future where the car interfaces with the infrastructure and with other vehicles. The Audi S3 Sportback will use 4G LTE with the MMI Navigation Plus with Audi connect service, allowing drivers to access navigation, infotainment, and traffic information.


A text-to-speech function is available for Facebook and Twitter platforms, and a local parking feature provides information on parking availability and pricing. Passengers can use the 4G LTE connection to surf the Web on their devices using a WLAN (wireless local area network) integrated into the car. They can surf independently, with passengers each performing different functions on their devices.

Automakers are also expanding the ways in which drivers communicate with their cars remotely. GM, www.gm.com, offers the RemoteLink Mobile App for its OnStar system, allowing users to interact with vehicles from a distance. They can check vehicle data such as oil life, tire pressure, and fuel level.

Now, RemoteLink is expanding to include Microsoft Windows phones, in addition to iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. The app for Windows uses HTML5, a language for presenting content for the Web. In addition to accessing vehicle data via a smartphone, users will also be able to use RemoteLink’s key-fob-based services, including remote start, lock, unlock, and horn and lights activation.

The connected car concept is growing to encompass many aspects of daily life, as automakers talk about integrating health-monitoring services and home-control features into vehicles. The market recently saw Sirius XM move further into the space with the purchase of the connected vehicle services business of Agero. No doubt Sirius XM sees the value of expanding car connectivity to other areas of the driver’s life.

Advanced connectivity technologies, such as 4G LTE, will help to enable more connected vehicle services as they are embedded into more makes and models of cars. Companies seem poised to take advantage of increasing connectivity, whether they are automakers or providers of additional services.

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