AT&T Drive Studio provides playground for testing connected cars of the future

AT&T Mobility's (NYSE: T) Drive Studio in Atlanta is a showcase for connected car technologies. The Drive Studio features a working garage where the carrier and car manufacturers can try out new technologies and stay ahead of the curve. In what the carrier calls the "sleigh"--it looks like a funny-looking mock car--AT&T demonstrates how, using open APIs, a customer can turn off their lights and open their garage door through the Digital Life app over LTE. Upcoming versions of the software will use geofencing to automatically perform certain tasks when the car nears the home.

The sleigh also lets AT&T test future technologies, like having a car know whether someone is sitting in the driver's seat or the passenger seat based upon pressure sensors in the seats. Of course, safety is a big part of these efforts. For example, the creation of multiple profiles for different users in the car will restrict how the driver can interact with the infotainment system (letting them interact only via voice) while the person in the passenger seat will be able to touch the screen. For more on the connected car center, check out this FierceWireless slideshow.