January 28, 2016 — The wireless landscape is changing dramatically. While that may be an understatement, the things on the horizon such as 5G, smart cities, the Internet of Everything and autonomous vehicles will usher in an era few of us dreamed of at the beginning of the cellular age.
One of the most exciting is the connected car, and all of the wireless technologies in, and around it – from Bluetooth, to near field communications (NFC), to Wi-Fi to collision-avoidance radar, and more. There is a lot of excitement around that and it is moving fast. The connected car was the number one topic at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), so much that some observers called it the “Car Electronics Show.”
For example, Ford announced that it would triple its self-driving test fleet in the coming year. Mercedes-Benz hyped its 2017 E-class, which both integrates more smartphone-focused technologies such as wireless charging and tactile panels on the steering wheel, and is the first standard-production vehicle to have a test license for autonomous driving in Nevada.
Big Data and analytics will fuel the connected car with features like predictive routes that are based on driver habits. Toyota announced it was creating a Toyota Big Data Center to process and analyze information from data communication modules, integrating that into its 2017 line.
As well, emergency notifications triggered by airbag deployment will become a standard feature, and its data center will also serve as a means to launch connected car services.
Microsoft is supporting a number of connected car initiatives, such as Nissan’s move to make more cloud-based information available to both itself and drivers for better vehicle monitoring via the Microsoft Azure platform.
And really big is connecting cars to homes. Ford said that it will be exploring integration of its Ford Sync system with smart home offerings such as Amazon Echo and Wink, which would enable features such as turning on lights and opening garage doors automatically when a vehicle reaches a certain distance from home. It can also control Internet-enabled devices in the home such as TVs. BMW is also looking at a home/car integration approach with its Open Mobility Cloud features that seek to expand the Internet of Things concept to reality.
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx presented the Obama administration’s proposal for investing in autonomous driving. The plan is to spend $3.9 billion in the next 10 years to fund projects that support the development of autonomous vehicles.
Ernest Worthman is the senior editor of AGL’s Small Cell Magazine.