CES is becoming quite the show of late for automakers and their suppliers to show off new connected car technologies, and this year’s annual Vegas tech extravaganza was no exception. Here are some of the more interesting automotive announcements I saw coming out of the show.
[company]Subaru[/company] is joining the 4G car movement, announcing deals at CES with [company]AT&T[/company] to build LTE connectivity directly into 2016 vehicles (though Subaru didn’t say which makes), which means they’ll likely make their way to dealers this summer or fall. And what will Subaru owners do with that connection? The automaker is upgrading its StarLink infotainment system with telematics apps, and presumably it will be able to use 4G to feed apps like Pandora that are already making it into Subaru dashboards.
If you’re a [company]GM[/company] owner, you can already use OnStar to call for help when your car breaks down or get directions to the nearest gas station, but GM wants its driving assistant to wear many more hats, including those of a concierge, mechanic and driving instructor. GM is adding new features to OnStar that will allow its advisors to book hotel rooms, restaurant tables as well as alert you to discounts and special offers from retailers.
A new OnStar diagnostic feature will start analyzing car systems like the battery and fuel pump and notify owners about potential problems before they occur. And this summer OnStar will offer a driving feedback service that rates your performance behind the wheel and offers tip on how to improve. GM is also partnering with [company]Progressive[/company] to offer insurance discounts to customers who rate highly in the program.
UIEvolution revealed on Monday that it has developed a new in-car networking technology using Bluetooth Low Energy. Called BlueSync, the network uses proximity to detect when a smartphone is in the vehicle, just like Bluetooth beacons can sense if you’re in a particular area of a store. Those devices can then automatically link to the dashboard without going through any kind of pairing procedure and gain access to certain features in the car’s infotainment system.
For instance, a passenger could send an address directly to the car’s navigation system or gain access to the volume or air conditioning controls via a remote link. BlueSync could also be used as verification system to grant passengers access to the in-vehicle Wi-Fi network.