The connected car becomes a reality

In-car entertainment is usually a sideline event at car shows and almost unnoticeable at electronics shows. But in the first two months of 2010, in-car internet has been prominently displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, followed by the Chicago Auto Show and the CeBIT electronics show. Has the era of the "connected car" finally arrived?

US automaker Ford certainly thinks so. Earlier this year at the Chicago Auto Show, it showed off MyFord Touch, an integrated system that links music with the internet through a wireless dongle to allow customers to surf while on the move. Drivers can load SD cards, tag music, or have RSS feeds read to them by their vehicles.

Ford isn't the only one in the business. At the same show, Kia launched UVO, its own take on in-car connectivity, whilst Audi has recently debuted its MMI technology on the new A8. MMI, powered by Qualcomm's 3G network, integrates technology search as Google Earth to provide a 3D navigation experience for drivers.

Alpine, a leading maker of audio and navigation systems for cars, recently announced a tie-up with Nokia to deliver new content to devices using 3G and Bluetooth technology. At the time, the head of product development at Nokia described in-car infotainment as a "natural extension for the capabilities of smartphones."

However, such rapid growth in automotive technology has led to some voicing concerns over the safety implications.

In a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, researchers found that driver inattention that involves looking away from the road for more than a few seconds is a factor in nearly 80 percent of accidents.

US talk show host Oprah Winfrey dedicated a whole show in January to the subject, calling distracted driving an "epidemic that is sweeping through our country," and the US Department of Transportation has launched a high profile campaign to educate people of the dangers.

Automakers claim that their new vehicles, which feature voice-activated operation and often prevent some functions whilst the vehicle is in motion, are safer than ever.

"At Ford, we think driver distraction is a critically important issue," said the company's Sue Cischke. "Drivers experience many different types of distractions on a daily basis. Drivers are going to have conversations, read maps and directions, and listen to music while they drive. Ford believes hands-free, voice-activated technology substantially reduces that risk by helping drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road."

It seems, however, that in-car connectivity is set to boom, whether or not the car industry can convince consumers - and regulators - that its products are safe. Technology analyst iSuppli has estimated that 62.3 million consumers will have internet access in their automobiles by 2016, a sharp increase from the 970,000 at the end of 2009.

For tomorrow's drivers, it seems that "information superhighway" will be as important as the highway itself.

http://www.ford.com
http://www.kia.com
http://www.audi.com
http://www.alpine.com

News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living