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MirrorLink, built by and managed through the Car Connectivity Consortium, is software that bridges a smartphone and car's infotainment system. Drivers connect the phone to a car via cable and gain access to smartphone applications through a car's dashboard as well as dash or steering wheel buttons.
The technology is built on existing Internet technologies and standards including Bluetooth and USB technology, and is designed to keep smartphone use safe on the road. MirrorLink has become a universal standard for this type of integration, but how it is managed is down to individual car manufacturers. MirrorLink does have one main requirement: apps must be approved by the CCC to ensure driver safety, and the group is currently creating a standard for certifying apps considered safe enough to use.
Daimler, General Motors, Honda, HTC, Hyundai, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Toyota and Volkswagen are among the many companies which have signed on to become CCC members.
Image credit: MirrorLink
Ford is the creator of SYNC AppLink, a service which allows you to control smartphone applications through voice commands while at the wheel. At CES 2014, the automaker said it planned to expand the service to 3.4 million more vehicles this year, bringing the total count of AppLink-enabled cars to almost five million. According to Ford, over 60 apps in the Android and iOS ecosystems are SYNC compatible, which means drivers can access these applications through a car's dashboard.
Image credit: Ford
It is not just about gadget producers or automakers -- chip designers are also key in order to develop and run car infotainment systems in connected vehicles.
While Qualcomm is not a member of the Open Automotive Alliance -- unlike rival Nvidia -- the company believes that the connect car is not just about the Web, but also about making our vehicles smarter by using environmental sensors and in order to achieve this, cars need to use similar technology and processors found in high-end mobile devices.
Wireless connectivity enabled improvements in basic safety, security, crash detection and remote diagnostics and maintenance, according to Qualcomm.
However, we need to keep in mind that while automakers and tech firms are keen to push their connected car solutions on the market, safety and security remain a problem. Not only could 'too much' interactive tech prove to be a distraction, but hooking up our cars to the Web may also leave them at risk of cyberattack and infiltration.
Image credit: Qualcomm