Car-based Wi-Fi technologies predicted to grow
Cars of the future are expected to get increasingly more connected, with the number of vehicles featuring integrated Wi-Fi technology - in effect, turning them into a mobile hot-spot offering Internet access to its passengers and their devices - set to increase massively over the next few years.
While some manufacturers already include optional Wi-Fi hot-spot technology in their higher-end offerings, industry analysts claim that Internet connectivity will become a standard feature among most mid- to high-end vehicles in the near future.
Market watcher iSuppli claims that shipments of in-car Wi-Fi systems will reach 7.2 million in 2017, up from a mere 174,000 last year - a significant growth for a product that, presently, nobody appears to know they need.
“Initially, putting Internet access in the car sounds like a distraction and frivolous but as time passes it will become a part of our lives and we will feel uncomfortable not having access,” telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan told PhysOrg on the subject. “I think this is going to grow into a vibrant sector.”
The majority of in-car Wi-Fi systems act as a Wi-Fi to 3G gateway, allowing passengers’ smartphones, tablets, and laptops to connect to the Internet even while the car is in motion. Future systems will also integrate with in-car entertainment and navigation systems, allowing the driver to benefit from instantly-updated traffic information and passengers from streamed entertainment.
While car manufacturers are pushing for the technology’s adoption, those that can’t wait - or don’t want to buy a new car - have the option of systems like 3′s MiFi Wi-Fi adapter or in-car computer systems like the Navisurfer II.
Author: Gareth Halfacree