As one of the big names in car manufacturing Toyota has pledged to boost the autonomous vehicle industry. In partnership with TMC, Aisin Seiki, Denso Corporation they will invest of up to 2.8 billion (USD) to develop self-driving vehicle technology. The partnership has formed the Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD). While they're still working out the finer details their joint venture, one clear objective is to develop "fully-integrated, production-quality software for automated driving."
Since the invention of the simple car, car manufactures are always on the lookout for ways of making a car journey comfortable and entertaining. And as technology advances they have been able to make changes to this machine whose main purpose is transport. This year's auto show in Frankfurt, Germany has prompt me to look at how the concept of the car has changed from simply a means of transport to something that has become one with us (the driver) and now desires to be one with our home.
With the increase connected cars and supporting services, the need for these cars to store, analyse and exchange data is set to increase exponentially; the industry is expecting by 2020 connected and autonomous car data traffic to reach over 280 petabytes per vehicle each year. This potential market is attracting manufacturers with diverse solutions. Western Digital, which many know as a storage solution provider for computers, has released an embedded storage device specifically for connected automotive applications and the infotainment sector.
Mercedes-Benz has join a long list of car manufacturers that are offering car owners the connected car experience. They have announced that their new 2016 and 2017 models* will come with Google Home and Amazon Alexa. The integration of Google Assistant on Google Home, will allow you to speak to your car, said Mercedes-Benz. The new services, said the manufacturer, is part of their long-term goal in using cutting edge technology to create an intelligent ecosystem around their cars.
Up until the end of 2015 many of us would have been only familiar with Amazon Echo and Alexa as a smart home solution, but since 2016 this perception is changing. Amazon has been working with Hyundai and Ford to offer Alexa as part of an in car connected services solution. With just voice commands via Alexa you will be able to access services in your home from your car, and using the Amazon Echo in your home you will be able to access your car.
Toyota has setup a new connected solution company in partnership with Microsoft. The new collaborative partnership will offer data analytics and connected car services. Located in Plano, Texas, the data science centre will offer integrated connected car services to Toyota drivers and using cutting-edge data analytics to provide feedback into product development for Toyota at large.
Car manufacturers using the AT&T Drive, an infotainment platform have been given another feature to offer their customers; this is the option to control and monitor their home from the vehicle’s dashboard. AT&T has recently announced the integration of AT&T Drive with AT&T Digital Life, its home automation and security platform.
Its no secret that connected car solutions (infotainment) are moving just as fast as those for the connected home. QNX, a Blackberry subsidiary is at the cutting edge of the infotainment sector. This year at CES 2015 they unveiled another concept car (something they have been doing at CES for the last few years) based on the Maserati Quattroporte GTS sports sedan.
Ford has collaborated with Habu music app, ADT, Domino’s Pizza, Parkmobile and Parkopedia to offer more solutions to their in-vehicle mobile app platform SYNC AppLink. Drivers will be able to use the voice activated and touch screen solution to request service and manage other connected appliances.
At this month’s Connected Car Expo (part of the LA Car Show), Sprint Velocity, a business unit within Sprint announced that they have expanded their Sprint Velocity platform to offer more features for vehicle manufacturers. Renamed Sprint Velocity Connect, the solution makes it easier for automotive manufacturers to tap into the US$25.2B connected vehicle market and meet regulatory requirements.