Remember KITT? The Knight Rider car from the 1980’s?
KITT is finally here and not just for those with BMWs. With the proliferation of smartphones, automakers have found a hook to pump sales. And, consumers now expect constant grid connectivity. Last year 4.5 million cars were sold with “telematics“, by 2015 that will increase to 22.7 million, according to IHS iSuppli. source
What will we see more of?
- smartphone management (aka radio off the dial) through in-car audio systems or via voice recognition, source – see MyFordTouch and AppLink
- antenna systems that allow TV reception, sports and kids shows seem to be the main push on this, care of KVH, DirecTV, SiriusXM, Backseat TV now comes preinstalled in select Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeeps
- improved navigation databases that inform electric cars of the closest energy fill-up station
- built-in wireless connection that connects the car to the cloud and allows owners to communicate with the car from their smartphones
- real-time traffic updates, games, streaming video in old cars via 4G – see Harman source
“About 50 car models in the United States already have Internet radio app integration or will have it in their model-year 2012 versions. BMW, Ford, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Scion, Buick, Chevrolet and Hyundai integrate Internet radio apps in the United States. In Europe, only BMW and Mini offer Internet radio so far. In China, there are four Chinese luxury models that are in the process of adding Internet radio integration.
A range of Internet radio service providers have entered the U.S. market, including Pandora, iHeartRadio, Slacker and Spotify. These companies’ services represent direct competition to standard broadcast radio and subscription-based satellite radio.
Global sales of automobiles with Internet radio capability are set to rise by a factor of more than 30 during the next eight years, leading a wave of in-vehicle apps that will be integrated into car electronics systems in the coming years, according to the IHS iSuppli Automotive Research Service from information and analysis provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).
Sales of cars with Internet radio integrated into their head unit will soar to 24 million units in 2018, up from 168,000 in 2010, as presented in the figure below. The United States will lead the Internet radio market, with sales growing to more than 10.9 million units in 2018, from 149,000 in 2010.” source
“…in the past year, 5 percent more drivers are using their cell phones to listen to Internet radio on the road. Overall, time spent listening to online radio has also increased an impressive 49 percent in the last three years. Over the recent Christmas weekend alone, an estimated 6.8 million new Android and iOS phones and tablets were activated, more than double the previous year’s count.” source.