A look into the future: Secure connected cars

Picture credit: Denis Bocquet

The number of people living in cities is expected to double by 2050, meaning congestion and pollution will increasingly be a problem for city dwellers. As a result the cities of the future will demand smarter traffic management solutions and more intelligent vehicles.

Experts say that the car industry will develop more in the next decade than it has in the last fifty years due to the rise in connectivity and mobile technology. The industry is gearing itself up for the age of the...

Harman creates separate audio ‘zones’ for each passenger

Infotainment manufacturer Harman has designed a new system for cars that is capable of giving each person their own audio without it interrupting their fellow passengers.

Harman’s Individual Sound Zones build on a vehicle’s regular audio system by adding a number of other speakers to the inside of a car, each aimed at giving passengers their own virtual pod for listening.

The idea is to avoid circumstances in the car that might be distracting for passengers, for example navigation and phone calls...

By Simon Holland, 08 January 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Infotainment, Navigation.

Nuance offers voice-activated biometrics for personalised infotainment


Personalisation is set to be the next significant hurdle for car manufacturers and Nuance thinks it has the perfect solution with a fresh new update to its Dragon Drive product.

In today’s economical era of car use, there is a high chance that one vehicle will have more than a single driver. In these cases, each specific driver will have their own preference for configuring different aspects of the car.

Rather than having to tweak a whole host of settings before a driver...

Qualcomm’s new auto-focused CPU wants to be the master of multitasking

Semiconductor designer Qualcomm has let loose the 602A on the vehicle world, its latest Snapdragon silicon aimed at the connected car.

Qualcomm’s automotive-grade infotainment chipset seems to have been built with an emphasis on modern car technology having to perform a number of different processing tasks for its drivers and passengers.

The 602A supports multiple operating systems, complex user applications, enhanced 3D navigation, high-resolution, sophisticated graphics and human-machine interfaces,...

By Simon Holland, 07 January 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Infotainment, Mirrorlink.

Infotainment updates in cars: Why delta technology is better than compression


There is a lot of talk about software revolutionising the automotive industry and the conversation is growing because of how software management will impact the whole business of recalls.

The outrageous amount of good money going after bad is the reason why car manufacturers and tier one suppliers are looking for an optimised and alternative way to reduce the amount of time it takes to deliver a software update, reducing the cost associated with recalls and improving customer...

By Yoram Berholtz, 06 January 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Apps, Connectivity, Devices, Ecosystems, Infotainment, iOS, Navigation.

Nvidia unveils two new ‘supercomputers’ for the car

Graphics chipset designer Nvidia has launched the Drive PX and Drive CX products, its first foray into the world of production road vehicles.

Based on architecture that can also be found in modern supercomputers, each of Nvidia’s new products houses all the hardware that a vehicle manufacturer might need to get its in-car software running.

While there are many companies already developing hardware for cars, Nvidia is trying to stand out from the crowd by drawing on its background in personal computing...

By Simon Holland, 05 January 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Devices, Driverless, Infotainment, Navigation.

Google’s latest self-driving car rolls onto the asphalt

Google has unveiled a new version of its self-driving vehicle prototype, six months after its original mockup materialised.

The car is still in its early stages of development as Google continues to run tests on its private track. However, the search firm does plan to trial the vehicle on the streets of Northern California in the new year.

Safety drivers currently oversee the vehicle, using manual controls to ensure all the car’s features are given Google’s stamp of approval before it considers...

By Simon Holland, 23 December 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Driverless.

Volvo's helmet prototype makes it easier for cars to detect cyclists


Cyclists’ helmets may soon be able to communicate with cars if Volvo’s collaboration with sports gear manufacturer POC and Ericsson goes on general sale.

Working with the two companies, Volvo has developed a helmet prototype that is capable of communicating with a connected car to provide proximity alerts to driver and cyclists in a bid to prevent accidents from occurring.

Collisions between cars and cyclists is a global concern. In Europe, 50% of all cyclists...

Google aims to put full Android in the car

According to Reuters, Google is preparing to put a full-version of Android in the car which wouldn't require the user to plug in their smartphone. Google's current automotive initiative, Android Auto, acts as an extension of the smartphone to provide easy access to functions in a driver-friendly HUD which reduces potential distractions.

This is limited as not only does it require the driver to own a smartphone, but apps are mirrored on the display rather than running native. Apps for Android Auto must fit into strict...

By Ryan Daws, 19 December 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Apps, Head-up Display.

2014: The year connected cars roared into adolescence


It has been a big year for connected cars. Automakers, handset vendors, app developers and aftermarket CE manufacturers have graduated from a primary education in the best ways to support car and smartphone connectivity. There is now a solid outline of what the future body of connected driving will look like.

As the anatomy fills out, we have learned some critical lessons. Most importantly, smartphones are without question the brain of the connected car organism. They have the...

By Antti Aumo, 19 December 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Apps, Best practice, CarPlay, Connectivity, Devices, Ecosystems, Mirrorlink, Regulation, Standards.

BMW combines the connected car with wearable technology

Picture credit: BMW

Smartwatches have only started hitting the mainstream consumer market this year, but German car manufacturer BMW is already coupling the technology with its vehicles.

BMW is dreaming of a world where people can get out of their car on the ground floor of a multi-story car park, tap their smartwatch and let the car drive through the levels to an available space on its own.

This technology currently only exists in the company’s BMW i3 research vehicle, equipped with the fully automated...

Jaguar Land Rover shows off head-up display and transparent pillars

Picture credit: Jaguar Land Rover

Augmented reality has been seen in cars for the first time as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s new 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen research.

The car manufacturer has developed a new concept that completely reinvents traditional GPS navigation by projecting a ghost car in front of the driver to follow. The idea is to keep a driver’s eyes on the road and avoid the distractions that come with dash-mounted hardware.

Jaguar Land Rover has made the whole solution even more...

Audi reinvents car sharing on a micro scale

Picture credit: Audi

German manufacturer Audi has announced Audi unite, a way for friends colleagues or neighbours to share the use of their car using an interactive app.

With the help of digital design house Kram/Weisshaar, Audi is hoping to give people a more economical way to use its cars. An app lets up to four drivers make car reservations, while a personalised beacon makes it possible for the vehicle to recognise each driver.

The app also communicates with the vehicle to show drivers the location of the...

By Simon Holland, 16 December 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Apps, Contextual data, Data & Analytics, Ecosystems, Payments.

Ford launches Sync 3, switches from Microsoft to BlackBerry

US Car manufacturer Ford has announced Sync 3, the latest edition of its communications and entertainment system.

Ford’s new system signals a switch in allegiance too, with the company dispensing with Microsoft Auto and opting for BlackBerry’s QNX platform instead. Early signs suggest that it has been a good move for the car manufacturer.

Prior to Sync 3, Ford’s earlier attempts at touch-screen infotainment left a little to be desired. Problems ranged from minor bugs to sporadic hard resets...

How will the connected car fit into the internet of things?

Picture credit: iStockphoto

There has been a lot of talk recently of the connected car becoming a major component in the Internet of Things (IoT). A world in which cars know their drivers and communicate with the world around them is enticing and full of potential, at the very least. But it also begs the question: just what role will smart vehicles play in the broader connected world?

One thing is for certain: the connected car will play a critical role in the Internet of Things...

By Tim Evavold, 11 December 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Devices, Ecosystems, Infotainment, iOS, Payments.

Intel’s Tizen OS makes the jump to Connected Car hardware

Picture credit: RealVNC

Infotainment communications system MirrorLink has announced the successful integration of its technology with the Intel-based Tizen in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) reference platform.

Remote access technology provider RealVNC was behind the port of its VNC Automotive SDK to Tizen IVI, the automotive profile of the Tizen open source platform, which means Intel’s Tizen OS will now be able to communicate with Mirrorlink-enabled devices including Samsung, Nokia and HTC.


By Simon Holland, 09 December 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Infotainment, Mirrorlink, Navigation, Video and audio.

Connected cars leave all-new tread tracks for marketers

Picture credit: iStockphoto

The idea of the digital supercomputer car has been around since the 80’s. Characters like Knight Rider’s K.I.T.T had the ability to learn, communicate and even connect with Michael Knight on some emotional level, not bad for a Pontiac Trans Am.

While in the 80’s it seemed that the reality of an intelligent car was only for the magic of television, today we not only have intelligent cars, but are heading towards a future where your car can be your personal...

Driverless cars will hit UK streets from 2015

Picture credit: Catapult

Starting 1 January, driverless cars will become a common sight in four English cities as government quango Innovate UK announces £9 million of extra funding for the technology’s development.

The news came as part of the government’s autumn financial statement, with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne green lighting the funding himself.

Formal trials are expected to occur in Greenwich, Milton Keynes, Coventry and Bristol for the duration of 18 to 35 months....

By Simon Holland, 04 December 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Driverless.

Consumer worries about insurance telematics privacy on a par with social media

Insurance telematics concerns could simply be sensationalised hyperbole if new research by LexisNexis rings true for the wider population.

The company’s 2014 Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) white paper revealed how consumers’ comfort levels surrounding the sharing of UBI driving data were on a similar level to other internet-related tasks such as online banking and social media.

In fact, both online search data and social media personal rated higher on the study’s concern scale than UBI driving...

By Simon Holland, 28 November 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Contextual data, Data & Analytics, Insurance, Privacy, Security, Telematics .

Huawei to lay groundwork for driverless vehicles

Telecommunications company Huawei has announced that it will be investing heavily in future infrastructure technologies as it prepares for the era of autonomous cars. Fifth generation mobile internet (5G) has been discussed as a solution to the substantial bandwidth requirements that vehicles are likely to require when communicating with other road-based objects. In a recent article on the Financial Times, Huawei CEO Eric Xu, revealed that talks with car manufacturers were already on the agenda. However, the discussions must still be at an early stage as Xu failed to disclose any specifics. Bandwidth capacity There is a worry that even...