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Automakers New Era of “Connected” Cars

GM’s 1st 4G cars debut next month.

by on May.13, 2014

GM is betting its 4G system will have strong appeal to families who travel with children.

We live in a connected world. It’s rare to go anywhere – whether restaurant, church, even commercial airplanes – without finding people staring into the screen of their smartphones. So, it should seem only natural that automakers are getting set to launch a new era of connected automobiles that can serve up their own WiFi hotspots.

General Motors will join the club next month when it officially launches 4G LTE service for the new Chevrolet Malibu sedan, adding a wide range of additional models before the end of the year. It joins a growing list of manufacturers – including Audi and Chrysler’s Ram brand – who currently offer, or will soon add, 4G connectivity in their own products.

Efficient Use of Your Time!

“We’re excited to give millions of customers an opportunity to explore the technology,” said Mary Chan, president of GM’s OnStar subsidiary operating the maker’s 4G service and which will initially offer a three-month free trial. (more…)

Students Design In-Car Apps for Ford Fiesta

Making mobile Internet access easier – and safer, Ford claims.

by on May.14, 2010

University of Michigan student Collin Hockey describes the app developed by his team for Ford's Sync system. Photo (c) Bryan Laviolette

For a growing number of people, the Internet is an ever-present companion, whether they’re using a laptop to pay bills or posting a status update on facebook from their smartphone. In fact, there’s really just one place, doing one activity, where connecting to the Net is a problem: behind the wheel of a car while driving.

Ford is looking for a way to make that possible – safely — and the company has turned to those drivers most connected to the Web to find a solution.  They have formed a partnership with a class at the University of Michigan (U-M) where students are designing apps for use in the car – specifically through Ford’s Sync technology.

The research project has so far resulted in six programs for the company’s new Fiesta, a subcompact due to launch as a 2011 model. Ford uses Sync’s voice recognition technology to make these applications accessible while driving.

“We’re talking about bringing the Internet up to speed,” Alan Hall, technology communications manager for Ford, said. “Voice is what we really see as the primary interface moving forward.”

The Inside Story!

Marrying the Internet to the automobile will also aid productivity, said Venkatesh Prasad, group and technical leader of Ford’s infotronics research and advanced engineering team. He said that commuting to and from work is lost time while the driver has to concentrate only on driving.


Wireless ‘Hotspots’ – From Cafes to Cars

Internet access inside cars opens up more than a browser.

by on Aug.04, 2009

From cafes to cars, Internet access is becoming ubiquitous, and with it, your kids may soon start asking, "Already?" rather than, "Are we there yet."

From cafes to cars, Internet access is becoming ubiquitous, and with it, your kids may soon start asking, "Already?" rather than, "Are we there yet."

We like to think of ourselves as a “mobile” society.  A new generation of wireless technology will make that term more appropriate than ever.

Autonet Mobile markets an electronic device that resembles the wireless router you may have in your home, and it does pretty much the same thing, providing access to the Internet for nearby computers, game controllers, smart phones, and other connectable devices. The difference is that the Autonet device provides Internet access via cellular data networks for devices in a moving vehicle. That is a deceptively difficult feat, according to Autonet CEO Sterling Pratz, but an important one for automakers, dealers, suppliers, service providers, and car buyers, as well as for kids playing games or watching YouTube videos in the back seat, and for front seat passengers checking email or browsing Facebook.

Stay connected!

Stay connected!

“The car is moving between cell towers while it’s uploading and downloading files, we’re accommodating all kinds of devices, and we’re doing it without requiring users to install any software,” Pratz explains. “It wasn’t enough just to build a router; we had to design an intelligent network specifically for moving vehicles – one capable of managing content as well as the connection and the devices, that didn’t interfere with the car’s electrical system, and didn’t require the driver to pull over to the side of the road and ‘reboot’ the connection.”