Telematics Takes Off

The 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens today, will serve as stage for vehicles and technologies, says the LA Times. Telematics Update reviews the M2M news at the LA show.

General Motors said their next-generation MyLink infotainment system will first be available in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. It’s designed to be easy to use, highly customizable and capable of linking up to 10 devices. GM’s new system uses natural language voice recognition that more easily allows customers to safely place calls, enter destinations, browse media, play music and control other functions simply by telling the vehicle what to do.

Automakers typically embed features such as navigation and voice recognition in dashboards so they can charge as much as $2,000 for the options. Chevrolet is taking a different approach with its smallest and least expensive cars, the Spark and the Sonic.

Chevrolet is offering the $25,000 (before tax credits) five-door Spark EV with a 20 minute charge and Apple’s Siri virtual assistant. The Spark has two 7-inch display screens on which are programmed the controls for audio, phone and temperature, as well as other data. The Spark EV comes with MyLink radio that uses a smartphone to access apps, including BringGo for navigation and TuneIn Internet radio, Pandora and Stitcher.

The GM vehicles come with a 7-inch color touch screen and GM’s MyLink, which allows drivers to purchase a $50 BringGo smartphone app to display a navigation program and traffic updates. This has virtually all of the information drivers would find in an embedded navigation system, including emergency information for police and the nearest hospital, points of interest, maps and turn-by-turn directions.

Of course, Ford’s MySync has had a similar feature for years.

Ford will upgrade and extend the warranty by two years on its MyFord Touch system following a series of consumer complaints and poor reviews of their touch-screen entertainment and navigation system. Ford has improved the voice recognition capability and navigation in what it calls “version 3.5″ of the software.

Improvements for the Ford Sync system include better natural voice-recognition allowing drivers to simply say “Play Jazz” rather than “Play genre jazz” as was required in the past. Voice-recognition performance is improved by upgrading the system to the latest version of Nuances speech software called VoCon 3200.

Ford’s popular Fiesta offers a stripped-down Sync and navigation systems, but buyers wanting the MyFord Touch infotainment system were out of luck. Until now. Beginning with the 2014 model year, Ford will offer a complete version of Sync with MyFord Touch in the Fiesta, displayed on a 6.5-inch LCD touch screen.

Sprint Nextel today introduced an in-vehicle platform, called Velocity, that the operator said will allow car-makers to offer drivers customized features such as security, navigation, remote diagnostics, emergency services and infotainment. Sprint’s lined up Chrysler as its first partner.

Chrysler Group has announced that their Uconnect Access branded system will be available in the re-designed 2013 Ram 1500 pickup and the all-new SRT Viper supercar. Sprint envisions each deployment of the platform to be customized–auto makers will be able to pick and choose the capabilities they want.

Sprint said Velocity will be available globally. The carrier will act as an integrator for auto makers, and will work with wireless technologies other than CDMA, which is currently the company’s primary air interface technology.

Sprint will use Airbiquity’s Choreo system, which lets auto manufacturers manage the technology after an owner leaves the dealership, so if new technology becomes available, the in-car systems can be updated. Airbiquity integrates smartphone applications into the vehicle using Choreo.

More than fifteen leading automotive OEMs will meet at the Consumer Telematics Show, one day before the International Consumer Electronics Show next January.

The market for infotainment systems alone is set to grow 7.3% year on year to $35.89 billion in 2013. The Automotive Alliance, an advocacy group serves as mediator between government and industry.

According to IMS Research, Wi-Fi in automotive applications will increase eight fold over the next seven years in North America and Western Europe.

Related DailyWireless stories on transit connectivity include; Verizon Forms Connected Car Venture, Automotive Telematics Goes 4G, Ford Lowers SYNC Costs, Google’s Driverless Car Explained, World Congress on Talking Cars, Connected Car Conference, Google + General Motors?, Ford Mobilizes Smartphone Apps, Hands-free Vehicular Calling, Tracking Tools, In-Vehicle Infotainment: Death Race, CradlePoint: Mobile WiFi/WiMAX Hot Spots, Mercedes myCOMAND, BMW iDrive Gets Makeover, Handheld Intelligent Transportation, Chrysler Offers Internet Access, Chrysler Rolls Out U-connect, Ford Sync.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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