Connected Cars at CES

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Telematics was a big deal at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. In fact, it had its own show, the Consumer Telematics Show, which opened a day before CES opened in Las Vegas this week.

In-car connectivity features were hot items. Both Audi and Ford had keynote addresses at CES this week. C/Net has a rundown on CarTech.

Microsoft embedded runs on Ford, Fiat and Kia cars, while QNX Software Systems runs Toyota’s Entune, Audi A8, BMW ConnectedDrive, while the ng Connect Program, is a LTE Connected Car program from Alcatel-Lucent.

  • Ford’s Sync was the first to make practical use of an individual’s own cellular service, rather than requiring a dedicated, in-car communications hub. Last month, Ford launched its SYNC AppLink, the industry-first software application that gives SYNC users hands-free voice control of their smartphone apps, on the 2011 Ford Fiesta. The 2012 Ford Mustang is next in line for the SYNC AppLink features, integrated with Ford’s optional Voice-Activated Navigation System. MyFord Mobile, a new smartphone app for electric vehicles, checks the car’s charging status from afar and delivering climate settings. The car will also let you find the car by GPS and, once you do, unlock the doors with your phone. It offers similar features to the apps for the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. MyFord Mobile is free for the first five years of vehicle ownership and will be available for BlackBerry, Android and iPhone at launch and many other major smartphones. The Focus electric is the flagship of Ford’s coming electric-vehicles. To help save money, MyFord Mobile uses a system from Microsoft to determine the best charging times.
  • Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi, rolled out an in-car multimedia system powered by Nvidia’s dual-core Tegra 2 chip. “It’s a rolling hotspot with Google Earth technology,” said Stadler. “Audi can link the way you drive with the way you live, with computers strategically tailored for the automotive environment.” A multimedia entertainment interface for Audi is in the works, along with a 3D digital cockpit developed in partnership with Nvidia.

  • OnStar is going to be available as an aftermarket solution for non-GM cars. OnStar’s personal connection — a voice at the other end of the button — is what sets the service apart from the many other connected services offered by other automakers.
  • Toyota’s Entune Telematics Service is a digital multi-media center operating through the drivers’ mobile phone. Once Entune is downloaded onto a Bluetooth-capable phone in a Toyota vehicle, drivers will be able to access the online services with simple hands-free voice commands or via touch screen. It runs on the QNX Software Systems platform.
  • Hyundai introduced its Blue Link platform is an embedded platform, meaning it comes built in to the car instead of running through a mobile phone. It’s Hyundai’s first such system in the United States (a different one runs on home-market Hyundais), integrating a number of safety, information and entertainment features that will be offered in three packages. ATX Group will provide turnkey network solutions for Hyundai as the telematics services developer and integrator.

Telematics is becoming an indispensable service, with safety & security, navigation & traffic information, multimedia (video & music), and information & commerce making it a favorite among vehicle owners. The global Commercial Vehicle Telematics Market is expected to reach US$11.2 Billion by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts.

The Tesla, Ford Focus electric and GM Volt weren’t the only electric cars in town.

GM was demonstrating its EN-V electric vehicle (Electric-Networked electric vehicle). It balances like a Segway and can be driven with a yoke or used autonomously with a 25 mile range. It can use WiFi for synchronizing a swarm.

AR Parrot makes Bluetooth Hands Free Car Systems, like Parrot’s Asteroid car receiver, based on Android with a jog-dial for navigating, plenty of real buttons, a 3.5 mm jack for connecting your MP3 player, and 3 high speed USB ports.

But everyone seemed most impressed with Parrot’s $300 AR Drone, which works with an iPhone for rock solid control.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 9:12 am .

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