updated 11:05 am EDT, Fri June 8, 2012
Verizon, five automakers form 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars
A number of major automakers and telecommunications provider Verizon have joined together to form the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars. It aims to develop open standards that will bring 4G LTE systems into vehicles. Car builders who have signed up include BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota, with North American companies conspicuously absent.
MIT is also involved in the project, which hopes to allow remote media access from cars, safety systems with online links, and even support for third-party software. The telematics and infotainment solutions need to have safe driving as the major priority, however. The standards developed by the venture will affect not only the OEMs, but also supplies, device makers, content publishers, and app developers.
Verizon CMO Tami Erwin said the major obstacles the group will have to overcome involve responsible driving, improving sustainability, and advancing vehicle-to-vehicle solutions. This certainly proposes a challenge, as many states and municipalities are introducing hands-free cellphone laws, and having the equivalent of a connected PC in the dash would certainly cause a distraction.
While Verizon operates the largest 4G network in the US, but the Forum may support and fund advancements no matter whose underlying network technology is involved. As such, developers and companies will not be obligated to work with Verizon and can collaborate with other service providers.