Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Apple's Connected Car Strategy: Brings “Eyes Free” Siri To Cars

Siri thing is making its way to the automobile world with something Apple refer to as the ‘Eyes Free’ system. It is set to replace the conventional hands-free systems. Apple demonstrated this feature of the new iOS 6 at its 2012 Worldwide Developer’s Conference. The Eyes Free system comes with only one button on the steering wheel, which activates the Siri in your Apple device, which is already connected via Bluetooth to your car.

You can then ask your Car Siri question about real-time traffic information, email and text, personal calendars, music, weather, and so on. Currently if you want any of that you need to look into your infotainment system and push a couple of buttons.

Apple is working with car makers such as GM, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler and Honda to make this Eyes Free thing a global standard. Not included was Ford, which just happens to be the most aggressive automaker when it comes to integrating connected car technologies such as voice command and control. Ford is apparently sticking with Microsoft hoping they come up with something similar for their SYNC system.

In the next 12 months, Apple’s Siri will start conversing with us through our car speakers. Here’s Apple’s rather sparse description of Siri’s Eyes Free capabilities:
… you’ll be able to ask Siri questions without taking your eyes off the road. To minimize distractions even more, your iOS device’s screen won’t light up. With the Eyes Free feature, ask Siri to call people, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, use Maps and get directions, read your notifications, find calendar information, add reminders, and more. It’s just another way Siri helps you get things done, even when you’re behind the wheel.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Verizon Looks To Add 4G LTE To The Car Of The Future

Verizon announced its 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars to push for LTE integration into the dashboards of several new car models, including those manufactured by BMW, Honda, Hyundai and Kia. Verizon said its new program “will collaborate and explore ways to deliver connectivity to vehicles of all types, by leveraging open standards and discussing ways to accelerate development of the 4G LTE ecosystem across automotive OEMs, suppliers, device manufacturers, application developers and content publishers.” 

However, the absence of Ford and GM, could mean that Ford and GM’s current vision for connectivity isn’t quite on track with what Verizon has in mind. That is, when it comes to infotainment, they may rather see users bring their own connectivity than supply it for them. Ford’s Sync system, and Cadillac’s CUE, both depend on drivers using their own smartphones to link their apps to the network. Maybe an aftermarket solution will work better in this case.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Breaking News: Apple to Announce Connected Car at the WWDC 2012

Apple may announce its plans for entering into the connected car space at the upcoming WWDC. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs dreamed of an iCar. In fact, Apple board member Mickey Drexler confirmed the long-held rumors of the company’s possible foray into the automotive industry when he revealed that Steve Job’s “dream before he died was to design an iCar.” "Look at the car industry; it's a tragedy in America. Who is designing the cars?" said Drexler.

It is known that Jobs and Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn met at some point to go over the iCar, which resulted in a German publication printing a photo of a VW concept (see left) alongside an iPhone.

But what if the iCar is just an in-car entertainment and driver information system that is all controlled and operated by an integrated Apple iPad. The iPad is mounted in a custom dock attached to an extending tilt and swivel arm in the center of the car so that it can be operated by both driver and passenger. The tablet is responsible for all of the car’s “infotainment” functions, including audio, video, satellite navigation and even climate controls. For example, like something in the picture below:
Also, something to consider is that latest Apple products including iPhones and iPads, have been equipped with Bluetooth 4.0.  What if the WWDC announcement is about car OEMs adopting the Bluetooth 4.0 standard to enable the connected car? 

Telematics Detroit 2012

What will this year's event bring?  Connected car will be a big theme this year. Well, what's needed for the car to be "connected"? Wireless coverage is needed inside the car not only for connecting the car to external services like off board navigation (server based),  but also for connecting devices inside the car (i.e., tablets, phones) to a hotspot.  How will car OEMs bring this type of connectivity inside the car?  Based on the sponsors of this event, it looks like the wireless carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint) are interested to enable connectivity inside the car.  Since all these carriers are competing with 4G today, it's to be seen who's 4G network will end up inside the connected car. Stay tuned for major announcements!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Connected Car & Telematics – Report

This report presents the state-of-the industry related to connected car and telematics. It features companies working in this space, including car OEMs, handset OEMs, technology suppliers, and standards bodies. 
Price: $495.00   Buy via PayPal. The report will be emailed to you.  Contact info@autoconnectivity.com for any questions.