Many Factors Drive Connected Car

4/11/2013

For different people, the concept of the “connected car” can bring up a variety of different associations. Some of us think of in-vehicle connectivity for communications and infotainment. Some imagine electric cars that connect to the grid or to our homes. And some of us may think of the many safety and security features that can be enabled through M2M connectivity.

The fact is, all of these things are part of the connected car, an idea with a number of possible implementations. Overall, cars are becoming more reliant on connected technologies including sensors, cellular, Wi-Fi, smart meters, and more. Research firm MarketsandMarkets, www.marketsandmarkets.com, predicts the connected-car market will total more than $98 billion by 2018. This equates to total shipments of close to 60 million units.

MarketsandMarkets also says Internet connectivity in the vehicle is fast becoming a must-have feature for drivers. Additionally, in some countries government mandates are also driving the connected car. Initiatives such as eCall in Europe and GLONASS regulations in Russia are causing more cars to be outfitted with connected systems.


From a global perspective, North America presents the largest market in terms of unit shipments and revenue, says MarketsandMarkets. But the fastest-growing region is Asia-Pacific, especially China.

The growing use of electric and hybrid vehicles is also a driver for connected-car technology. Plug-in electric vehicles in particular present a use case for connectivity, as drivers need to keep track of energy consumption and find suitable charging stations nearby.

A study from Navigant Research, www.navigantresearch.com, found more than 48,000 public charging stations for electric vehicles are currently deployed worldwide. EV infrastructure is a growing business, and so are the connected systems that can make charging easier.

Automakers are also leading the charge in this area. Ford, www.ford.com, has announced that MyFord Mobile will include access to information from PlugShare, www.plugshare.com, a charging station finder application. Drivers can access a live database of charging stations throughout North America. The list of stations includes publicly available data in addition to crowd-sourced information from users.

The connected car is also a result of consumers wanting access to connectivity around the clock, wherever they may be. This includes inside the car, and more automakers are bringing the Internet into the vehicle.

Audi of America, www.audiusa.com, announced it is working with T-Mobile USA, www.t-mobile.com, to offer drivers a new in-vehicle connectivity plan. The data plan for Audi connect will start at $15 per month.

Audi connect gives drivers access to information on news, weather, and navigation, as well as Google Voice search capability. Broadband will also be available to passengers in the car with the Audi connect data plan for up to eight devices.

While a number of factors are contributing to the connected car’s rise, it may be the need for constant connectivity that trumps them all. Systems that promote access to connectivity and information, while still making sure the driver’s attention is not distracted from the task at hand, will have a future in the automotive industry.

But what does the future of in-vehicle look like? New technology is on the verge of forever impacting the way in which drivers and passengers interact with their vehicles. Don’t miss the Connected World Conference in which an engaging panel discusses how to best prepare for the next generation of in-vehicle apps.

Our panelists address such topics as new technology, such as augmented reality, being integrated into vehicles, the ability to harness 4G LTE connectivity to offer in-vehicle content sharing and streaming options, and the ways in which content integration will drive the revolution of the head-unit by consolidating the instrument cluster with the infotainment cluster for a more informative and usable driving display.

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