Connected Car: Embedded or Not?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

General Motors and AT&T are demonstrating LTE connected cars at Mobile World Congress, to show off what might be possible, from streaming live videos or security cameras on the road, to games and vehicle to vehicle communications. Or, the car could just offer up a 4G LTE hot spot for tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.

General Motors Vice Chairman Steve Girsky spoke Monday to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and announced the widest deployment of 4G LTE services in vehicles.

AT&T and GM’s OnStar this week announced a deal to bring millions of connected cars to the market, starting with the 2015 fleet, which comes out late 2014. GM said most Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac cars will get wireless connections.

“Developers will be able to take full advantage of 4G LTE speeds as they design vehicle-specific apps, and they can pursue development knowing that they’ll have a broad base of potential customers as connectivity is built-in across GM brands and regions,” said Mary Chan, president of General Motors’ global connected consumer unit. .

Ford opposes embedded wireless, according to Fierce Wireless. Ford instead believes users should connect their cars to the network through their existing smartphone.

Ford’s Sync technology, first introduced in 2007, connects a user’s smartphone to their car and powers a range of services through the phone’s wireless connection.

“The last thing we want to do is take this smartphone thing that updates every 12-18 months and bolt it into a car with a lifecycle of at least 10 years,” said Doug VanDagens, global director of Connected Services Solutions at Ford Motor Company

General Motors, by contrast, will embed AT&T’s LTE modems into its cars, requiring another cellular fee.

Ford Motor Company expanded its commitment to help encourage the growing community of automotive app developers by announcing it will contribute the software for AppLink, the Ford-developed in-car smartphone app interface, to the GENIVI Alliance.

Ford becomes the first American automaker to contribute proprietary source code from one of its products to an open-source project. In addition to Ford’s contribution to SmartPhoneLink, which lets you use your voice to control some of your favorite mobile apps while driving, navigation services provider Telenav and embedded software development firm Luxoft have committed to contribute supporting code to the new SmartPhoneLink projects. –

In another wrinkle, an FCC ruling to expand the Wi-Fi band at 5 GHz, is on a collision course with The Intelligent Transportation Society of America who complains that it was originally set aside that spectrum for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications. ITS America recently sent a letter to the FCC signed by automakers and others, warning the FCC that the new Wi-Fi networks could interfere with wireless communication between connected cars.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January his agency’s plan to clear 195 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band for Wi-Fi use. The Dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) was allocated 75MHz of spectrum in the 5.9GHz band by the FCC in October 1999.

Telematics Update has the latest on navigation, infotainment and fleet management.

According to Jack Bergquist of analyst firm IHS: “By the end of 2014, for some of the bigger brands, every vehicle they sell will offer some sort of connectivity.” According to Machina Research, 90 percent of new passenger cars are expected to have some form of connectivity platform by 2020. In addition, the firm forecasts that the connected car market will reach $600 billion by 2020, making it the largest market for connected devices and services.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, February 28th, 2013 at 2:14 pm .

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