Cisco knows something about networking – a lot, actually – and Continental knows a good deal about cars, so it will be interesting to see what the two firms come up with beyond the connected vehicle proof-of-concept prepped for demonstration at the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan.
Seamless Internet access
Cisco suggests that in the relatively near future, cars will need to communicate with the outside world via seamless access to the Internet over wireless networks.
To meet that need it has developed on-board software that it says can switch seamlessly between available 3G, 4G and other wireless networks based on cost and quality of service preferences, so it will be able to connect vehicle occupants to the right network based on where they are and what networking options they prefer.
Cisco believes its technology can help drivers who want real-time traffic and navigation guidance, passengers who want to watch movies or avail themselves of other cloud-based infotainment options, and automakers who want to update vehicle software over-the-air.
There is value in those services. Andreas Mai, director of product marketing for Cisco’s Connected Industries Group estimates that an “Internet of Cars” has the potential to deliver a total of $1,400 in benefits per-vehicle, per-year, to automakers, service providers, vehicle users, and society, the latter in the form of fewer crashes, lower road and highway operating costs, and reduced CO2 emissions.
Prioritizing critical needs
As a vehicle moves it needs to prioritize the critical needs of drivers and passengers for network connectivity. Mai says the Cisco/Continental collaboration – combining automotive expertise with networking expertise – can improve connected vehicle communications speed by 30 to 50 percent.
Among other benefits, a “seamless connectivity engine” can, for example, easily switch between cellular and WiFi networks, route traffic based on best quality or cost, establish an optimum communication path based on real-time and historical data, and set “best route” connection policies.
“Connected vehicles are opening up a vast field of opportunities for services to make driving safer, more efficient and more comfortable,” says Ralf Lenninger, head of innovation and strategy in Continental’s Interior Division.
“This is why we are looking at ways to connect the moving vehicle in a highly secure, fast and reliable way,” he says. “By cooperating with Cisco, we can combine their expertise in software and network knowledge, with our knowhow in automotive hardware, embedded software and systems integration in order to create solutions for the connected vehicle of the future.”