GM commits to 4G LTE in cars
Rollout begins in ’14 with AT&T in North America
Customers can use connected services without a smartphone
General Motors announced a global strategy to deliver a new generation of connected cars and trucks with embedded 4G LTE mobile broadband, the largest deployment in the automotive industry to date.
The built-in 4G LTE structure will be integrated into the vehicle’s electrical system and includes an external antenna to maximize coverage and connectivity. Customers will not be required to have a smartphone to use connected services.
“In addition to allowing consumers to bring in and connect to personal mobile devices, the vehicle will also act as its own mobile device, enabling embedded vehicle capabilities,” said Mary Chan, president, Global Connected Consumer, General Motors. “Turning this vision into a reality starts with enabling fast, reliable and responsive connectivity within the vehicle. Through this built-in 4G LTE connection we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle.”
The first GM cars, trucks and crossovers to get 4G LTE will be most 2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models available in 2014 in the United States and Canada delivered through AT&T. GM plans to work with additional carrier partners to enable connectivity in other brands such as Opel and Vauxhall. GM plans to announce more carrier and supplier relationships in coming months to expand 4G LTE capabilities in markets around the globe.
GM and AT&T will immediately begin work to develop 4G LTE connectivity for GM vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. AT&T’s 4G LTE network is expected to reach 300 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2014. GM and AT&T will also work together on an ecosystem focused on developing new communication applications to enhance the driving and riding experience.
“While our 4G LTE network will provide fast, reliable mobile broadband for GM’s connected vehicles, we’re also looking forward to working directly with GM researchers and engineers as well as the developer community to invent new in-vehicle applications that will take full advantage of our powerful network,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility.
With mobile data speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G technologies, increased responsiveness, and the ability to support simultaneous voice and data connections, a built-in 4G LTE connection will enable advances in a wide range of in-vehicle communications and entertainment capabilities. Expected benefits for GM customers could include in-vehicle Wi-Fi hot spots, new infotainment options like streaming video entertainment in the back seat, real-time updates and faster application downloads. These enhancements build on OnStar’s existing portfolio of built-in connected services, first introduced in GM vehicles in 1996.
Over time, applications of widespread in-vehicle 4G LTE connectivity will enable vehicles to interact directly with their environment to enhance safety, efficiency and convenience for drivers and passengers. GM said 4G LTE will make services such as real-time traffic and navigation updates possible, pulling information from the cloud.
“As we implement 4G LTE connectivity into our vehicles the most important piece we will consider is delivering this technology to our customers in a safe manner, staying focused on reducing any related distractions,” said Chan.
The widespread integration of 4G LTE into GM vehicles will enhance GM’s recently announced application framework and third-party developers program. In January, GM introduced a new set of vehicle application programming interfaces (APIs), which enable developers to build on GM vehicles’ infotainment systems, as well as a new flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and infotainment features to their vehicles after purchase.
“Our commitment to 4G LTE strengthens our ability to collaboratively innovate with developer partners,” said GM’s Chan. “Developers will be able to take full advantage of 4G LTE speeds as they design vehicle-specific apps, and they can pursue development knowing that they’ll have a broad base of potential customers as connectivity is built-in across GM brands and regions.”
AT&T expands relationship with BMW
Meanwhile, AT&T announced a multimillion dollar communications network agreement with BMW that covers locations in the United States, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Panama and Argentina. AT&T will provide BMW with a regional wide area network (WAN) using the latest MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) technology and WAN acceleration services to create a flexible, secure and robust infrastructure to support core BMW functions and applications.
The agreement covers 41 BMW locations throughout the Americas, including the company’s main North American manufacturing hub in Spartanburg, S.C, and the company’s global headquarters in Munich.
The new agreement with AT&T builds on an existing relationship between the two companies. In 2007, BMW selected AT&T as the network provider for its ConnectedDrive safety and infotainment services. Today, almost every new BMW car sold in the U.S. has the ConnectedDrive service that is equipped with an AT&T SIM card.
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