Connected car

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A connected car is a car that is equipped with Internet access, and usually also with a wireless local area network.[1][2] This allows the car to share internet access with other devices both inside as well as outside the vehicle. Often, the car is also outfitted with special technologies that tap into the internet or wireless LAN and provide additional benefits to the driver.

History of Connected Cars 1996 - Present[edit]

General Motors was the first automaker to bring the first connected car features to market with OnStar in 1996 in Cadillac DeVille, Seville and Eldorado. OnStar was created by GM working with Motorola Automotive(that was later bought by Continental). The primary purpose was safety and to get emergency help to a vehicle when there was an accident. The sooner medical helps arrives the more likely the drivers and passengers would survive. A cellular telephone call would be routed to a call center where the agent sent help.[3]

At first,OnStar only worked with voice but when cellular systems added data the system was able to send the GPS location to the call center. After the success of OnStar, many automakers followed with similar safety programs that usually come with a free trial for a new car and then a paid subscription after the trial is over.

Remote diagnostics were introduced in 2001. By 2003 connected car services included vehicle health reports, turn-by-turn directions and a network access device. Data-only telematics were first offered in 2007.

In the summer of 2014, Audi A3 was the first automaker to offer 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspots access and the first mass deployment of 4G LTE was by General Motors.

By 2015 OnStar had processed 1 billion requests from customers.

Categories Of Applications: Single Vehicle and Cooperative Safety[edit]

Applications can be separated into two categories: 1.) single vehicle applications: applications can be implemented by a single vehicle in connection with a cloud or backoffice. 2.) cooperative safety and efficiency applications: they provide connectivity between vehicles (or infrastructure) directly have to work cross-brand and cross-borders and require standards and regulation Some may be convenience applications, others safety, which may require regulation.

Examples include, amongst others: 1.) single-vehicle applications: concierge features provided by automakers or apps alert the driver of the time to leave to arrive on time from a calendar and send text message alerts to friends or business associates to alert them of arrival times such as BMW Connected NA that also helps find parking or gas stations.[4] The European eCall would be an example of a single vehicle safety application that is mandatory in the EU.[5]

2.) cooperative safety-of-life & cooperative efficiency: forward collision warning, lane change warning/blind spot warning, emergency brake light warning, intersection movement assist, emergency vehicle approaching, road works warning, automatic notification of crashes, notification of speeding and safety alerts[6] or platooning.

Single-Vehicle Applications[edit]

Typically, a connected car made after 2010 has a head-unit, in car entertainment unit, in-dash system with a screen from which the operations of the connections can be seen or managed by the driver. Types of functions that can be made include music/audio playing, smartphone apps, navigation, roadside assistance, voice commands, contextual help/offers, parking apps, engine controls and car diagnosis.[3]

On January 6, 2014, Google announced the formation of the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) a global alliance of technology and auto industry leaders committed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting in 2014. The OAA includes Audi, GM, Google, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia.[7]

On March 3, 2014, Apple announced a new system to connect iPhone 5/5c/5S to car infotainment units using iOS 7 to cars via a Lightning connector, called CarPlay.

Android Auto was announced on June 25, 2014 to provide a way for Android smartphones to connect to car infotainment systems.

Increasingly, Connected Cars (and especially electric cars) are taking advantage of the rise of smartphones, and apps are available to interact with the car from any distance. Users can unlock their cars, check the status of batteries on electric cars, find the location of the car, or remotely activate the climate control system.

Despite various market drivers there are also barriers that have prevented the ultimate breakthrough of the connected car in the past few years. One of these is the fact that customers are reluctant to pay the extra costs associated with embedded connectivity and instead use their smartphones as solution for their in-car connectivity needs. Because this barrier is likely to continue, at least in the short-term, car manufacturers are turning to smartphone integration in an effort to satisfy consumer demand for connectivity.[8]

Cooperative Safety-of-Life & Efficiency[edit]

These services depend on the sensory input of more than one vehicle and these services enable instant reaction. They all depend on instant communication from vehicle-to-vehicle, as well as infrastructure. They have to function across brands and national borders and offer cross-brand and cross-border levels of privacy and security. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) fort hat reason has argued for regulation in its Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on V2V Communication[9] and argued the case in US Congress.[10] The US also has appropriate standards – IEEE 802.11p - and frequency rules[11] in place. In Europe a frequency is harmonised for transport safety[12] and a harmonised standard, called ETSI ITS-G5,[13] are in place. In the EU there is no push to oblige vehicle manufacturers to introduce connect. Discussions about a regulatory framework for privacy and security are ongoing.[14]

Technologically speaking cooperative applications can be implemented.[15] Here the regulatory framework is the main obstacle to implementation, questions like privacy and security need to be addressed. British weekly "The Economist" even argues that the matter is regulatory driven.[16]


The necessary hardware can be divided into built-in or brought-in connection systems. The built-in telematics boxes most commonly have a proprietary internet connection via a GSM module and are integrated in the car IT system. Although most connected cars in the United States use the GSM operator AT&T with a GSM SIM such as the case with Volvo,[17] some cars such as the Hyundai Blue Link system utilizes Verizon Wireless Enterprise, a non-GSM CDMA operator.[18]

Most brought-in devices are plugged in the OBD (On-board diagnostics) port for electrification and access to vehicle data and can further be divided into two types of connection:

  • Hardware relies on customers smartphone for the internet connection or
  • Hardware establishes proprietary internet connection via GSM module.

All forms of hardware have typical use cases as drivers. The built-in solutions were mostly driven by safety regulations in Europe for an automated Emergency Call (abbr. eCall). The brought-in devices usually focus on one customer segment and one specific use case.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Elliott, Amy-Mae (25 February 2011). "The Future of the Connected Car". Mashable. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  2. ^ EOS magazine, september 2010
  3. ^ a b "Definition of Connected Car – What is the connected car? Defined". AUTO Connected Car. South Pasadena, California, United States: Aproprose. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "BMW Connected NA available for iPhone / Apple Watch – calculates departure time, texts friends & finds gas/parking". 31 March 2016. 
  5. ^ EU eCall (
  6. ^ url= | title=How will connected vehicles affect us
  7. ^ "Open Automotive Alliance". Open Automotive Alliance. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "everis Connected Car Report" (PDF). everis. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards: Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communications, Docket No. NHTSA–2014–0022 (
  10. ^ Hearing in US Congress (
  11. ^ Federal Communication Commission -Amendment of Parts 2 and 90 of the Commission's Rules to Allocate the 5.850-5.925 GHz Band to the Mobile Service for Dedicated Short Range Communications of Intelligent Transportation Services ET Docket No. 98-95 (
  12. ^ Commission Decision 2008/671/EC „on the harmonised use of radio spectrum in the 5 875-5 905 MHz frequency band for safety-related applications of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)“ (
  13. ^ First version ETSI EN 302 571: Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS); Radiocommunications equipment operating in the 5 855 MHz to 5 925 MHz frequency band; Harmonized EN covering the essential requirements of article 3.2 of the R&TTE Directive (
  14. ^ C-ITS Deployment Platform – Final Report, January 2016 (
  15. ^ NHTSA: Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications: Readiness of V2V Technology for Application (
  16. ^ "Uberworld". Economist. 3 September 2016. 
  17. ^ "Volvo Cars and AT&T Enter Multi-Year Agreement to Connect Future Models in U.S. and Canada" (Press release). AT&T Corporation. 16 April 2014. 
  18. ^ Walford, Lynn (21 January 2014). "Hyundai Blue Link Goes Red (Verizon Wireless) Using Google Glass, Pandora or SoundHound". AUTO Connected Car. Aproprose. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "Connected Car Business Models – State of the Art and Practical Opportunities". AutoScout24. Munich, Germany: Scout24. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 

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