New York - Toyota and a group of technology companies have developed a prototype of the first 4G-connected car electronics system.
Led by Alcatel-Lucent, a consortium of companies that includes Atlantic Records and software company QNX (a division of Harman International), showed yesterday an NG Connect car system using 4G/LTE (Long Term Evolution) cellular broadband and Wi-Fi to deliver unlimited music and video access to the car. Music, video, maps, etc. reside in the cloud without the need for storage in a car device or portable device because of the fast broadband connection.
The NG Connect consortium claimed, "Soon the must-have option for new cars won't be a sunroof or leather seats - it will be ultra high-speed, high-bandwidth connectivity."
4G/LTE would allow car electronics systems to offer fast online multi-player gaming, and it could improve the use of the car as a road "sensor" whose shock sensors could be monitored to let cities know where to repair potholes, and whose road speeds could create traffic reports as they are uploaded to a network, said Steve West senior director of Alcatel-Lucent emerging technology and media.
The NG Connect system was shown in New York in a Toyota Prius using four separate screens receiving a live 4G/LTE connection. The NG Connect program is designed to help auto makers and technology companies rally around 4G/LTE to begin to offer new products in the car.
4G/LTE is expected to be commercially rolled out from 2010 to 2014 and the first NG Connect-based car electronics systems could come to market in 2012, said West. 4G/LTE's data rates are estimated at 50Mbps to 60Mbps compared to 3G average speeds said to be in the 600Dpbs to 1.7Mbps range.