Connected car

Are crowdsourced maps the future of navigation?

Telenav hasn’t just hired OpenStreetMap founder Steve Coast away from Microsoft; the navigation company plans to wean itself entirely off of proprietary cartography, relying solely on OSM’s collaborative, crowdsourced and freely available maps.

7 stories to read this weekend

What went wrong with Tata Nano? The connected car revolution. The looting of Detroit. Don’t worry, cars aren’t the only thing on my mind (on this list). How about some bread, and let’s talk about Brazil. And some visual candy too!

Your next Kindle could be embedded in your car

Amazon is officially part of the connected car, having launched its first app, Cloud Player, on Ford’s Sync platform. It’s next app should be obvious. Amazon already has the technology to integrate the Kindle into the dashboard.

At CES the connected car became truly connected

Ford and GM opened up their closely guarded connected car platforms to developers at CES, which means we’ll soon see a plethora of apps appearing in our dashboards. But the automakers aren’t Google. They’ll be careful about what exactly they’ll let into the vehicle.

Cisco, NXP invest in autonomous-car startup Cohda

Cohda is building the hardware and software that will allow vehicles on the road to form intelligent ad hoc mesh networks. Cisco and NXP both like what Cohda is selling and are investing undisclosed sums in the Australian startup.

Google Maps navigates its way into Kia, Hyundai connected cars

Google’s mapping and local search data is making its way into more connected car platforms. Automakers aren’t quite ready to let us download Google Maps directly into our dashboards, but they’re definitely leaning more heavily on the search giant to power their nav systems.

Sprint starts assembling a connected car dream team

Sprint’s approach to the connected car is certainly odd for a carrier. Instead of focusing on connectivity, Sprint wants to become an automotive infotainment and telematics systems integrator. To accomplish this it’s soliciting a lot of help, starting with Airbiquity, Aeris and WirelessCar.

How Ford is trying to make cars stink less — literally

Ford and University of Michigan researchers are experimenting with interior coatings that will combat microbial buildup left by grubby hands on the steering wheel and radio dial. In short, Ford is hoping silver ion additives will keep our cars from smelling.

RIM invites its developers to test drive the connected car

RIM’s QNX has pulled the wraps off the developer program for its new connected car platform, Car 2. Launching in early 2013, the SDK uses the same WebWorks tools as BlackBerry 10, creating the industry’s first dev program that bridges the smartphone and dashboard.

The car dashboard is not the place to let 1,000 apps bloom

Despite the proliferation of increasingly sophisticated connected car platforms, those systems remain largely closed to developers due to safe driving concerns. While those platforms will eventually open up, automakers have to be wary of placing too many limitations on development today. Otherwise consumers will ignore them.

Ford embraces bring-your-navigation with new smartphone app

Ford is joining Chevy in offering a smartphone-based navigation app that integrates with its connected car platform. TeleNav’s new Scout for Sync AppLink doesn’t have all of the features or a full-bore nav system, but it could fundamentally change the in-vehicle mapping game.

Chevy adopts a bring-your-own-maps approach to navigation

If you want in-dash vehicle navigation in your GM car, you pretty much have one choice, OnStar. But in the fourth quarter Chevy is launching an alternative to OnStar called BringGo that makes use of in-car connectivity to meld smartphone and dashboard navigation.

AT&T opens first showcase store in Chicago

AT&T is opening its first “experiential” showcase in Chicago. While technically the flagship retail location on Michigan Avenue is a store, it’s not like any AT&T store you’ve ever seen before. Instead of making the AT&T phones the prime draw, it’s showing off the apps within.

Ford taps Roximity to debut the drive-by daily deal

Why check your phone for deals when you can check your car dashboard instead? Ford has integrated deal-broker Roximity’s location-based offers app with its Sync connected car platform, allowing drivers to verbally search for nearby bargains without slowing down.

iSpeech develops a Siri for our living rooms

Sure, using voice commands to turn on the car radio on your iPhone is nifty, but iSpeech wants to elevate speech-recognition technology beyond the device and distribute it throughout our homes. Tony Stark can talk to his house in Iron Man, so why can’t you?

Honda enters connected car race (with some help from smartphones)

Honda on Wednesday became the latest big automaker to unveil an in-car connected infotainment system. Called HondaLink, the platform uses Harman’s Aha technology to connect to reams of different content sources and customized software to let new Fit EV customers manage their cars’ power systems.

Why we need a standard for the Internet of things

The Internet of things is supposed to connect every aspect of our lives from our homes and cars to the objects we wear and the goods we consume. It’s even connecting ice machines. But one thing the Internet of things lacks is a unifying standard.

BMW taps Nuance for in-car speech recognition

BMW will be the first the automaker to incorporate Nuance Communications’ new voice command and control platform into its dashboards. The German car manufacturer said today it is using Nuance’s Dragon Drive voice messaging technology in its luxury and compact sedans.

Sierra Wireless aims at Ultrabooks with ultra-thin LTE module

Sierra Wireless believes that laptop PCs too thin even to support an Ethernet port would be ideal candidates for an embedded LTE connectivity. On Thursday it unveiled its latest LTE module, which, at 2.5 mm in thickness, Sierra claims is the world’s thinnest 4G wireless module.

MOG just landed on a new device platform: Fords

You can already access music subscription service MOG on your smartphone, tablet, PC, and many home entertainment appliances. Now it’s moving onto the biggest gadget of them all, the car. MOG is launching on Ford’s Sync connected car platform.

Verizon buys Hughes Telematics to target the connected car

Verizon’s ambition to connect more than homes and phones just zeroed in on the automotive market. It announced on Friday it is buying Hughes Telematics for $612 million in cash, gaining the company’s crop of machine-to-machine (M2M) connected car technologies and services.

How your smartphone can lower your car insurance rates

State Farm is sidestepping some of the actuarial science that goes into calculating your auto insurance premiums. Instead of determining through statistical analysis how much someone of your age, gender and residence typically drives, State Farm wants to go to the source: your car.

Move over Knight Rider: Nuance debuts a Siri for cars

Nuance wants you to converse with your car via the cloud. The speech recognition company already powers many of the voice technologies embedded into today’s automobiles, but today it unveiled Dragon Drive, which moves beyond simple voice commands into the realm of natural language understanding.

Ford is ready for the autonomous car. Are drivers?

The auto industry has already developed all the technology necessary to create truly autonomous vehicles. The reasons there aren’t driverless cars all over the road today is in part a cost issue, but it is mainly one of driver mindset. Ford plans to change that.

4G with your coffee? Verizon sticks LTE in just about everything

Verizon is putting LTE chips in TouchTunes’ new digital karaoke machines, but that’s not all. At CES, Verizon seemed determined to embed its latest wireless network technology into anything that could conceivably need an Internet connection, including ATM machines, robots and photo booths.

Freescale, Fuji Join Forces for Green Car Tech

Freescale Semiconductor and Fuji Electric Systems are forming a new partnership focused on hybrid and electric vehicle tech. The two companies announced plans to collaborate on a type of power semiconductor for electronic powertrains, as well as other products for green cars down the road.

What BMW i Ventures Wants: Mobility

Move over cell phone firms, car companies are the new mobility leaders. “BMW is a mobile company, and everything we’ve done and do is about mobility,” Edward Robinson, President of BMW’s recently launched $100 million venture fund i Ventures, told me in an interview.