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Federal mandates are on hold, but automakers, others pushing forward on vehicle connectivity

Monday, July 10, 2017 - 06:00
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Autonomous driving gets all the big headlines, but connected vehicles are going to have a much bigger impact in the near term for both drivers and repairers.

According to Juniper Research, approximately 50 percent of new vehicles will be shipped with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology by 2022, totaling roughly 35 million vehicles or 2.7 percent of all vehicles. Add to that vehicles that are already connected via OEM and aftermarket/insurance telematics devices, and it’s easy to see why cars are becoming an important communications hub.

The connected car, in fact, is paving the way for autonomous vehicles by addressing how cars can talk to each other and to connected infrastructure via vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) systems.

“The first autonomous vehicle will be on the highway before the last driver vehicle comes off. So, really, part of the challenge is how do you mix the two. We can mix the two, on purpose in a safe and controlled environment here,” says Mark-Tami Hotta, Transportation Research Center (TRC) CEO and president. “Smart mobility, with connected vehicles and enhanced infrastructures, offers greater accessibility and mobility options, reduced road congestion, and more efficient use of natural resources.” 

This will involve a variety of wireless technologies. In the U.S., current LTE cellular systems will support telematics systems, while 802.11p dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) technology will handle V2V communications, according to a report from Mobile Experts. 5G wireless will not play much of a role here, although there are efforts in Europe that would rely more heavily on that technology.

And there are plenty of efforts underway to expand connected vehicle applications. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced it was launching an Azure-based cloud platform for connected car services, including predictive maintenance, in-care productivity, navigation, customer insights, and autonomous driving. The company already partnered with BMW to help build that company’s BMW Connected platform, as well as with the Renault Nissan Alliance.

INRIX has integrated Amazon Alexa cloud-based voice service into its OpenCar platform for connected vehicles, so that drivers can access Amazon Music, Audible and a number of other driver services (traffic, parking, weather, etc.), as well as connectivity between the vehicles and homes.

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