"We have found an unbelievable amount of richness in OnStar data that we see as an opportunity to enhance the driving experience," he states. "This data mining could lead to vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure interaction. For instance, if drivers at mile marker XXX had their wipers on, that info could be passed to vehicles approaching that point. Or if numerous stability-control activations happened at a certain point in the road, those vehicles could signal to other vehicles that there is black ice ahead. I don't see things like full-motion video road signs being out of the realm of possibility."
And taking it a step further would only enhance the driving experience, says Ford's Prasad.
"I can see augmented reality making driving more convenient," Prasad notes. "For example, on-demand selective real-time transparency would give you a better sense of your surroundings. You could be coming down an avenue in NYC and looking for a parking spot. If you could make that city bus transparent, you could see a spot you didn't even know was there! These are the kinds of features that we'll be working towards."
Kia's UVO System
Dreaming big and reaching for a Minority Report-like future is one way to approach mobile broadband. However, other people believe that 4G connectivity will be the only available option in the future.
"We're headed down the 4G path for a couple of reasons," states Henry Bzeih, Kia's head of infotainment and connectivity. Kia's voice-activated UVO system, like Ford's Sync, is the impressive result of a partnership with Microsoft. It features Bluetooth smartphone connections, a color touchscreen, an integrated rearview camera, and a 700MB in-dash music hard drive. While Bzeih hints towards UVO being Kia's global infotainment and telematics brand platform going forward, he can't help but wonder if, down the road, we'll have only one generation of wireless technology to power it.
"Current technology may not be supported in the long term--according to some carriers, 3G will be going away by 2020. If you embed 3G technology into a vehicle, it's possible that this type of content won't be available throughout a ten-year vehicle life," Bzeih says.
"Also, future features won't be available with 3G. Things like personal assistants, or proactive safety services using V-to-V and V-to-I technology, need bandwidth beyond 3G. So it's safe to bet that, based on carriers and technology, going to 4G isn't going to be a choice."