At Mentor Graphics IESF in Detroit last month Paul Hansen, editor and publisher of The Hansen Report on Automotive Electronics (hansenreport.com) told attendees that automotive cloud computing “will bring about an upheaval in automotive electronics” over the next decade or two.
“No longer do carmakers have to rely only on the computing power and memory they can afford to embed in the vehicle; they can go to the Web to get whatever they need, as long as the vehicle has a reliable broadband connection to the Internet,” Hansen said. “A connection to the cloud puts the vehicle in touch not only with enormously powerful off-board computers but also with everything else in the world that is connected to the Internet—other devices, other vehicles, other machines. The potential is vast.”
Hansen noted that BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota are joining Verizon as initial members of the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars to accelerate the pace of innovation across the telematics 4G LTE ecosystem.
Multiple frequencies (700 MHz, and the Advanced Wireless Service bands, 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz) must be accommodated in order to improve the functionality of LTE in North America and multiple-in multiple-out functionality is needed for the LTE bands to enhance efficiency.
“That means that both the base station and the car will have multiple cell phone antennas, whereas before we had just one.” Hansen reported that Laird Technologies is already working on LTE antennas, and added, “Carmakers are looking to put this into production in the 2015 model year.”
Hansen told IESF attendees, “Ideally, LTE will provide cars with super-fast, always-on, Internet Protocol data communications equal to what many people have in their home. Verizon Wireless expects LTE’s average data rates will be five to 12 megabits per second on the downlink and two to five megabits on the uplink in real-world, loaded-network environments. That’s about five-times faster than 3G. The air latency of LTE will be roughly half that of 3G; 27 milliseconds compared with 55 to 60 milliseconds.
“Not only will the auto industry be able to advance its traditional safety, security and diagnostics services, but LTE connectivity will help to enrich infotainment, convenience and even driver assistance systems.”
This is a trend well worth watching.