GM and Consortium Becoming More Optimistic about Connected Cars

Connected car - Intel

While ominous, depressing statistics have been released on 2012 seeing higher teen driver fatalities from distracted driving, experts say there is hope on the horizon. Industry experts say that connected car technologies are being put to work reducing the number of accidents, injuries, and death on America’s roadways.

One of these technologies has been discussed by recently by General Motors, during a mobile communications conference in Spain. GM will be equipping most of its US vehicles with 4G broadband capabilities, starting with the 2014 model year. Passengers will be able to tap into an onboard WiFi hot spot that could serve up to eight difference cell phones, table and laptop computers, and other devices.

GM says that its OnStar service will also feature additional safety and security services that will take its vehicles up to another level. It’s been part of GM vehicles since 1995 and can provide services such as automatically calling for help if the vehicle is involved in a serious accident. Through GM’s partnership with AT&T, the service is being upgraded as the vehicle is being remotely monitored and if necessary, its onboard software can be updated if the engine isn’t running up to par.

Another move forward in vehicle safety comes from a consortium of automakers and suppliers that are working with the US Department of Transportation and the University of Michigan. The consortium has begun testing a variety of systems that could allow future vehicles to talk to roadside communications infrastructure, and even to other cars on the road.

The test project is trying out sending alerts to motorists about upcoming traffic and weather problems. Or if the car is approaching an intersection where another car is likely to run a red light. The testing of driverless cars in Nevada and elsewhere is also being factored into improved safety performance through new technologies. Automakers are taking on ambitious goals, but they see that the technology and communications infrastructure is making all of it possible.