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Connected cars could cause communication chaos as mobile overload brings data traffic jams, report warns

Rush hour traffic could overload mobile networks, with some set to see a 97 per cent increase in usage

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 21 May 2015 16:00 BST
Executives demonstrate Google's connected car systems
Executives demonstrate Google's connected car systems

Connected cars, which are built to include complicated mapping and entertainment systems, could cause travel and communication chaos as they overload phone networks, experts have warned.

A horde of cars with devices connected to the internet could have "grave implications" for mobile networks, a report from analysts Machina Research warns. "Machine to machine" communications — where appliances and other objects connect to the internet.

Connected cars will use mobile networks to access the internet and provide the people driving them with information and entertainment. A range of companies are working on them, including Google and Apple.

The machines don't necessarily put high demands on networks for data, the report notes. But they consume it in completely different ways, spreading their use out through the day but often doing so in specific locations.

By 2024, Machina Research predicts that there will be 2.3 billion such connections, up from 250 million last year. They will only account for 4 per cent of traffic, but will be putting special load of on certain bits of the network.

"In terms of overall data volumes, connected cars don't present much of a problem," said Matt Hatton, the founder and CEO of Machina Research. "But network resource management is not based on total traffic volume, it's based on particular cell sites during peak times of network use."

The report recommends that phone networks upgrade and change their infrastructure to fix the potential problems.

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