GM announces broad global strategy for embedded 4G LTE; first rollout in 2014 with MY2015 vehicles; AT&T first carrier partner
|The demo screen of a research Cadillac ATS equipped with 4G LTE connectivity, first shown at the 2013 Mobile World Congress. Click to enlarge.|
At the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, General Motors announced a broad global strategy to deliver a new generation of connected cars and trucks with embedded 4G LTE mobile broadband, the largest announced deployment of the technology in the automotive industry to date.
Most MY2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models available in 2014 in the US and Canada will be the first GM cars, trucks and crossovers with embedded 4G LTE; connectivity will be delivered through AT&T. GM will announce more carrier and supplier relationships in coming months to expand 4G LTE capabilities in markets around the globe. (In January, Audi unveiled the 2013 Audi A3 with 4G LTE wireless connectivity, and will be offering a fully integrated LTE link for Audi connect services in the A3 this year. Earlier post.)
With mobile data speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G technologies, increased responsiveness, and the ability to support simultaneous voice and data connections, a built-in 4G LTE connection will enable advances in a wide range of in-vehicle communications and entertainment capabilities, GM said.
Over time, applications of widespread in-vehicle 4G LTE connectivity will enable vehicles to interact directly with their environment to enhance safety, efficiency and convenience for drivers and passengers, GM noted. 4G LTE will make services such as real-time traffic and navigation updates possible, pulling information from the cloud.
Expected shorter-term benefits for GM customers could include in-vehicle Wi-Fi hot spots, new infotainment options such as streaming video entertainment in the back seat, real-time updates and faster application downloads. These enhancements build on OnStar’s existing portfolio of built-in connected services, first introduced in GM vehicles in 1996.
The built-in 4G LTE structure is specifically designed for in-vehicle use as it is integrated into the vehicle’s electrical system and includes an external antenna to maximize coverage and connectivity. Customers will not be required to have a smartphone to use connected services.
In addition to allowing consumers to bring in and connect to personal mobile devices, the vehicle will also act as its own mobile device, enabling embedded vehicle capabilities. Turning this vision into a reality starts with enabling fast, reliable and responsive connectivity within the vehicle. Through this built-in 4G LTE connection we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle.—Mary Chan, president, Global Connected Consumer, General Motors
GM and AT&T will immediately begin work to develop 4G LTE connectivity for GM vehicles in the US and Canada. AT&T’s 4G LTE network is expected to reach 300 million people in the US by the end of 2014, and its network performance and deployment strategy have been lauded by industry analysts and other experts.
GM and AT&T will also work together on a broad ecosystem focused on developing new communication applications to enhance the driving and riding experience.
GM said that the widespread integration of 4G LTE into GM vehicles will enhance its recently announced application framework and third-party developers program. In January, GM introduced a new set of vehicle application programming interfaces (APIs), which enable developers to build on GM vehicles’ infotainment systems, as well as a new flexible application framework that will allow drivers to add apps and infotainment features to their vehicles after purchase. (Earlier post.)
As 4G LTE networks expand globally, GM plans to work with additional carrier partners to enable connectivity in other brands such as Opel and Vauxhall. Additional details on availability and service options will be announced later.