Cars are Getting Connected

Car Cockpit

More and more people who want new cars also want to be connected to the Internet. Wi-Fi is becoming standard in new vehicles. According to IMS Research, Wi-Fi in new vehicles expected to increase eightfold in the next six years in Europe and North America. American car maker Ford expects to have Wi-Fi in at least 80% of their new vehicles by 2015.

The cellular phone company giant, Nokia, also hosts the Car Connectivity Consortium to better enhance and promote Wi-Fi in vehicles. In 2012, 11 companies attended the Consortium to plan what exciting new features customers can do with their car’s Wi-Fi, such as buy car insurance online or diagnose car problems. 

Why The Rise in Auto Wi-Fi?

Remember Bluetooth devices? They were supposed to the ultimate way to connect phones, tablets, GPS and other mobile devices. Hands-free models were touted as perfect for drivers. However, in the last couple of years, Wi-Fi has become more in demand than Bluetooth because Bluetooth was slower and only worked to connect devices placed closely together.

The demand for Wi-Fi came about when Bluetooth speeds never became faster. Although makers of Bluetooth technology consistently forecast higher speeds for their devices, so far it has not materialized. Wi-Fi Direct managed to connect to more devices faster than Bluetooth devices can. Now, Bluetooth devices labeled “high speed” generally uses Wi-Fi in order to work.

Current Uses

Currently, Wi-Fi helps generate many mobile devices for passengers so they can be entertained and informed during the drive. They can also download certain apps that work for their car manufacturer’s Wi-Fi system. Drivers can listen to their favorite tunes on car mP3 players and get directions from GPS systems. Car computers help constant travelers can still contact their co-workers and bosses via the Internet.

Some new vehicles are voice-activated to help drivers keep their hands on the wheel as they drive. They also use touch-screen technology similar to cell phones and tablets that customers may already be used to.

Future Uses

Car and wireless technology manufacturers foresee many practical uses for cars being mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. Many new cars include complicated computer systems for various operations. Wi-Fi is hoped to help automatically upgrade the software on these systems. Some new cars, trucks and SUVs are being made with computerized cameras to help show blind spots for the driver. This security camera system is expected to expand.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is testing an alert system for in-vehicle Wi-Fi systems. If there is an accident or sudden inclement weather nearby, drivers are immediately sent an alarm. Wi-fi could also be used for the ultimate in-car function – actually driving the car. Automated cars are currently being tested in California. Automated cars are currently being tested in California. Since car Wi-Fi is not free and requires a service subscription, manufacturers need to prove to consumers that the cost of the service is worth money well spent.