Since the auto-show was recently in Houston as well as taking place in most major cities within the U.S., it only makes sense for Tech-Forward to present the Technological view on cars which leads us to this week’s Technology Insight into “Connected Cars.” Over our entire lives vehicles and cars have been the main method of transportation to move people, goods and services from point A to point Z, unless you were around during the wild-wild west days of horses and buggies. If so, welcome to the next-gen of transportation times two (2X).
There has been a tremendous amount of capabilities, evolution and technologies that have improved our ride / drive time experiences over the last one-hundred+ years. Capabilities, evolutions and technologies such as safety, air conditioning, heat, seats, ambience, speed, tires, engines, torque, materials, sizes, models, music (tape, CD, DVD and now Blu-ray), communications and overall luxury in cars prove that we have now entered the “Connected Car” technology-era, (The Jetsons if you will if you recall this cartoon show from the 70s).
A connected car is a vehicle that is equipped with Mobile-IP (internet), Wi-Fi, Hotspot and WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) technologies. These technology elements enable a vehicle and driver (riders) typically up to five to seven in total to share Internet access inside / outside a vehicle up to 1000 feet. With this 3G or 4G LTE (different types of mobility technologies) connectivity drivers can be notified of text, emails, wrecks, speeding, weather, traffic, navigation and while also having emergency notification capabilities (similar in scope and scale to OnStar in most General Motor vehicles).
Most connected cars made after 2011 are equipped with Infotainment components in dashboards coupled with an interactive display screen where the driver or passenger can control the applications. Some of the controls include music (radio, satellite, streaming over IP), apps, navigation, voice recognition, engines and car diagnosis.
In January 2014, Google announced the formation of the “Open Automotive Alliance” (OAA), a global alliance of technology / auto industry leaders jointly committed to delivering an Android operating system as a service to all cars starting in 2014. The organization includes Audi, GM, Google, Honda, Hyundai and others. Android auto was announced in June 2014 by Google to provide a way for Android smart-phones to connect to vehicle Infotainment systems. In addition, in March 2014, Apple announced a new system to connect iPhones to car Infotainment units over IOS 7 through Lightning on a platform called CarPlay. AT&T is the market leader in the Connected Car space. AT&T is harnessing all its innovation resources to demonstrate how such a system could work at their AT&T Foundry where developers, designers are collaborating with researchers at AT&T Labs to improve interfaces, speech recognition, text to speech and other APIs such as WeRTC Messaging and Digital Locker for wireless Infotainment services while reducing the dangers of distracted driving. By the way AT&T is the carrier for OnStar and all GM vehicles who are currently leading the pack in the Connected Car era.
In closing, for many of us, our car is an extension of our work / home lives and these days connectivity is critical to these functions. However, the car presents a unique challenge in safety as to how one may access mobility services while driving or in the car. The central point is to make accessing mobility services both convenient and safe. I will leave you with this, “Is your connected car a Security Risk” for you and your company? Stay tuned for the answer.