TMCnet Feature
September 16, 2011

Internet-Connected Cars are the Wave of the Future

By Jerry Olsen, Contributing Writer

With the aid of cloud computing, automobile makers are saying the car of the future will be more of an extension of your home or business rather than something that gets you from Point A to Point B. It looks like the auto industry is targeted for the next big market for connected devices.

Drivers will soon have access to emails, and stay up-to-date with their social networks from anywhere at any time. With an Internet-enabled car, you can access your home entertainment system and listen to your favorite news and music programs. If you forgot to turn on your home alarm, you can probably do that too.

Ford Motor Company says it can tailor its new car called the Evos to meet personal preferences, right down to the cabin temperature. The new top-of-the-line German BMWs also come equipped with an onboard computer with Internet access you can use to locate a restaurant, the nearest ATM or free parking spot.

BMW’s rival Daimler isn’t about to be outdone, and comes with a built-in computer that allows drivers to surf the web as long as the vehicle is parked.

On the down side, the new services offering connectivity aren’t without dangers. Much like cell phones and texting, onboard computers can cause distractions to the driver.

US anti-virus software group McAfee (News - Alert) also warned against possible hackers on vehicle computer systems.

According to McAfee general manager Stuart McClure, “If cars are hacked, that could seriously compromise critical safety systems.” Data protection specialists also warned drivers to be careful about the sheer volume of personal data stored—especially in electric cars,

When it comes to onboard computers in new vehicles, the challenge is “to meet customer demands without impinging on traffic safety,” according to BITKOM board member Martina Koederitz. According to BITKOM, one out of every two drivers in Germany want Internet access in the cars.

Representing over 1,350 companies in Germany, BITKOM is the voice of Information technology, telecommunications, and the new media industry in Germany.

Technology studies also suggest that the number of Internet-enabled vehicles worldwide will soar in the coming years.

For example, automotive part makers as Bosch in Germany and Valeo in France plan to invest big money in state-of-the-art onboard computer technologies.

Currently, the French group is working on a new system that parks vehicles without the driver in the car.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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