Mobile apps to boost in-car Internet uptake

Car manufacturers believe that in-vehicle Internet access will be popular enough to influence the choice of car. This viewpoint comes as new research forecasts that the downloading of mobile apps associated with travel information will trigger the widespread uptake of in-car Internet access.

According to IMS Research, in-car Internet remains relatively rare in the majority of countries today. However, the UK-based company forecasts that, globally, the number of new vehicles with Internet access will grow from 1.1 million in 2009 to 6.0 million in 2017 (about 6 per cent of new vehicles).

Jon Cropley from IMS claims there are two main reasons for this growth--"the growing popularity of downloadable apps and improvements in cellular technology."

Cropley maintains that the worldwide uptake of mobile apps has caused the automotive industry to consider the viability of apps for use in the vehicle. "Already developed apps include weather reports at the destination and reading out emails to drivers."

The improvements to 3G network coverage and higher data speeds, together with the likelihood of LTE providing further speed improvements, will also support new services that were not previously feasible, said Cropley. IMS claims that sales of in-vehicle apps will grow rapidly to over US$4 billion in 2017.

Separately, Ericsson has released results from the Cooperative Cars Extended (CoCarX) research project, which investigates the possibility of using mobile technology to improve road safety.

The company found that, while using WiFi 802.11p to increase driver safety--such as assistance with lane changing, braking and communication between vehicles--the system was only effective if more 802.11p hotspots were made available.

However, Ericsson said that combining 802.11p with 3G--and LTE in the future, was found to be successful if mobile operators could be persuaded to adopt this route.

The CoCarX project, which includes Ericsson Germany, Vodafone Group R&D Germany, BMW and the Ford Research centre in Aachen, has received funding of around €4 million.

For more on this story:
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