AT&T on Wednesday announced a series of steps it's taking to connect cars to each other, and to everything else.
First, the company announced it's working with Delphi and Ford to develop a new platform for "Vehicle-to-Anything" (V2X) communications. Over the AT&T LTE network, vehicles would share information with other cars, drivers and smart infrastructure about traffic conditions and other factors. Drivers could learn about incidents like collisions, poor weather or other variables that could impact their driving.
In addition to providing the wireless connectivity, AT&T developed the software for the analytics platform. Delphi developed the on-board V2X module and Ford developed the in-car integration.
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AT&T contends the platform will help improve road safety and vehicle security, help reduce traffic congestion and save money. Given how dangerous driving can be, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) last month proposed a rule requiring vehicle-to-vehicle communication on light vehicles, using Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC). The range of DSRC communications could be extended with the V2X platform.
Meanwhile, AT&T will be able to test the V2X platform and other automotive technologies thanks to its new partnership with the American Center for Mobility. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to accelerate the development of self-driving vehicles. AT&T also announced Wednesday it will serve as the Center's exclusive cellular network provider through 2020.
Lastly, AT&T announced it's struck a multi-year deal with Honda to bring 4G LTE connectivity to Honda vehicles in the US and Canada. The network will connect HondaLink apps and services for vehicles, including navigation, streaming radio, diagnostics and remote lock/unlock services.
AT&T announced these developments at its 2017 Developer Summit, taking place in Las Vegas alongside CES. The cellular provider has already established itself as a leader within its industry when it comes to vehicle connectivity: A report published in May 2016 showed that a large portion of new cellular accounts added in the first quarter of 2016 went to cars -- and AT&T added more connected cars to its network than the rest of the operators combined.
Meanwhile, connectivity is key to developing autonomous vehicles. "For a car to be fully connected and automated, it needs to be able to 'talk' to everyone and everything around it in a highly secure manner," John Maddox, President & CEO of the American Center for Mobility, said in a statement.
The CES show floor this week illustrated the momentum behind the development of connected and autonomous cars. There are nine major car manufacturers at the show this year, taking up more than 200,000 net square feet of exhibit space. Honda and Nissan are both new to CES this year.