Connected car tech to watch in 2014

Connected car tech to watch in 2014

Summary: Who are the key players and what are the top technologies to watch out for in the automotive industry this year?


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  • Qualcomm

    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. 

    Via: Engadget

     Image credit: Qualcomm

  • FIAT

    Fiat believes that in-car connectivity is a major channel for improving customer relationship management (CRM).

    According to Fiat EMEA product planning and strategy chief Massimo Cavazzini, vehicle maintenance and the ability to remain connected to customers outside of a yearly check-up is a key advantage of connected cars. The exec says that Fiat plans to roll out a system within the next two years which will use the Web to underpin every step of a customer's journey, from picking up the car to maintenance.

    However, Fiat did admit that one problem facing the industry is conservative sales models and dealerships resistant to change, which could scupper the adoption of car connectivity and the use of the Internet in maintaining customer relationships. 

    Not to be left out in the cold when it comes to infotainment, Fiat and Microsoft have co-created a system called Blue&Me which allows you to make and receive calls, read texts and listen to music on any device with a USB connection in your vehicle. 

    Image credit: FIAT

  • Chrysler's UConnect

    Chrysler's UConnect is a popular infotainment system compromising of a main screen and menu with clear icons, a QWERTY layout and simple navigation. You can use the system to connect Bluetooth-enabled handsets to your car while keeping your hands on the road, and drivers can voice activate the system to make calls, mute the radio and contact emergency services. You can also transfer calls between your car and smartphone when entering or exiting a car. 

    Image credit: Chrysler

Topics: Emerging Tech, Apple, Google

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  • Dumb screen

    a dumb screen (or a basic infotainment system which connects to all mobile devices), similar to Mirror Link seems the best bet going forward.

    The car infotainment system usually has to last between 10 and 20 years, which means that if it runs today'y apps, it is going to be pretty useless in 5 years time. Offering the basics plus an interface into connected devices seems the best way forward. No smart device, you get the basics, if you have a smart device, you get your newest apps - no point having Spotify etc. if the service isn't there in 5 or 10 years time.
    • i agree...

      The mirrorlink option does seem the best moving forward as it just feeds from whatever the device in your pocket is.

      I also like the look of the MS one the best - the big buttons etc seem more friendly for use in a car - and it uses mirrorlink.

      Corning actually did a couple of videos back around 2011 called 'a day made of glass' and the theory was what mirrorlink appears to be - the glass displays in your house/car/cupboard/window etc are powered from your personal device.
  • streaming made easy

    been waiting for something like this, where one can stream spotify through the dash rather than on a phone.
  • About time Apple catches up to Microsoft (Sync, MyFordTouch) and others

    Still, the technology can help or hinder - it depends on the use to which it is put.
  • Has nobody learned from use of cellphone in car dangers????

    I mean, really now, the dangers of distraction when using any mobile device in an auto when one is supposed to be driving have been SO well publicized, how in the world can the auto makers justify continuing down the "Mobile infotainment slippery slope"??? Have to wonder how long before legislation begins to appear that limits "other distractive devices" in a driving machine. Now, I DO realize they are SUPPOSED to be to accommodate PASSENGERS, but reality is that drivers will definitely use them for personal "purposes" anyway..... At least in US (can't speak for Charlie's native locale) the number of single passenger (AKA driver only) autos FAR exceed numbers of ones with any passengers.
    Add to that the as yet unknown costs related to keeping such installations "current", with software/firmware updates, new maps, security patches, etc., and one really should think a lot about these "systems", and not adopt them blindly (lest they be blindsided, down the road...).
    • It's not really as bad as you suspect...

      and I already have Ford Sync in my SUV, and it really helps in removing the distractions when one uses the voice activated controls. I don't have to be looking at the screen, and I don't even have to touch my smartphone to make phone calls or to receive them.

      The expectation is that, the in-car infotainment systems will be capable of deactivating any apps and equipment that would be a distraction, such as texting.
  • I'm just curious about how this will play out

    given that the mass market users who will first be most interested in this functionality will already be heavily committed to other devices to one or another of the "ecosystems". Escapes how any Android owner with hundreds or thousands of dollars invested in other screens, would even test drive an Apple car, and of course the reverse. The app and subscription ecosystem a customer walks into the dealership with will be a dealbreaker, unless carmakers find a way to manage it.
    • One day, I suspect customers will balk over more and more subscriptions

      Leases, loans, etc, seem nice upfront... but people probably don't want to be tethered to leases all the time, after a certain point...
  • MyFordTouch and Sync been around for some time

    Why be Apple-centric? Especially when more people use Android devices. Even Sync will work with those systems fairly fluidly... but like Apple's walled garden, Microsoft's systems are going to be tied in mostly with Microsoft's walled garden as well. "Ecosystem" sounds more like a slur on a real ecosystem (nature, not manmade plastic trash that is poorly disposed of, hurting nature, we we need nature more than we need our manmade economy...)

    Also, "tech" and trying to sound hip is an epic fail. Or assuming the target audience market is under the age of 6.
  • Ford QNX

    I was under the impression that Ford was looking at QNX (Blackberry) for their next version of Infotainment? Or maybe that just means the underpinnings of their next system ..
    Either way almost all systems will have QNX running it in one way or the other...
    I have a New Ford Focus, and I love my Sync system. Yes, I have had to do some upgrades to get it to work properly all the time, but it seems much more stable now, and can be a great hands-free help calling people, making music choices, changing the temperature, using the navigation system, etc ...
    I just wish that it would integrate into my Google Now system ... but hopefully that is coming with AppLink.
  • CarPlay augments IVI; It is not a replacement

    Until recently, hooking your phone with in-car systems was very specific to the host IVI. Using phone features with the car IVI was not always trivial.

    CarPlay strives to solve this problem. It provides a common user experience for the phone integration features, viz. Calling, Music, Mapping, etc. That is, for using the phone calling or music or mapping features from the phone, you don't have to learn every car's UI. Instead you see a familiar interface everywhere when you plug your phone.

    CarPlay limits itself to bringing simplicity for using phone features. IVI systems provide many more features. This enables the OEM's and Tier 1's to continue to differentiate their branding through the IVI while providing a standard phone interface through CarPlay. The strategy seems to be best of both the worlds.
    Manish Jalan