Currently, there are few in-car Wi-Fi systems on the market that allow us to connect our Wi-Fi-enabled devices for broadband connectivity while on the road or from the close proximity ofour vehicles. Most passengers access Internet in the car using their laptops with mobile broadband cards or through smart phones. These solutions, though, are restricted to a single user, not allowing other passengers in the car to access the Internet at the same time. Even when in use by a single user, there is the issue of a dropped connection when moving between towers or inside tunnels. Even the best EVDO card is at times incapable of jumping on a particular subscriber's network if it can't find a signal.
Manufacturers have roadblocks to design around to ensure their Wi-Fi system will be successful in the market. The device should offer easy-to-use Internet access, allowing multiple passengers to stay connected at the same time. This would open a whole new eco-system of applications and services that passengers could enjoy while on road. It would, for example, allow children in the back seat to access online games or social networking sites, while adult passengers can search traffic, make dinner reservations or listen to Internet radio all at the same time.
Vehicle-based Wi-Fi systems must be designed to offer uninterrupted connectivity, allowing consumers to stay connected to the Internet with any Wi-Fi-enabled device, while the vehicle is in motion. Even as the car travels between cell towers, through tunnels, and areas where traditional signal strength is poor, it has to maintain connectivity in order to maintain a competitive advantage over current systems.
Wi-Fi network security is the other major challenge; the design must prevent unauthorized usage by a third person in order to protect sensitive information transmitted by users. It has to establish a secure, WEP-enabled broadband connection to any Wi-Fi-enabled device within the operating radius, typically 100-150 feet. This prevents any unauthorized third-party access of the passenger's sensitive data. For enhanced security, consumers should have the option to set passwords, restricting unauthorized users from accessing Wi-Fi connectivity.
Another challenge is to design and build a robust Wi-Fi system that can withstand the automotive environment. The system has to be highly durable; and capable of withstanding vehicle environment such as shock, vibration and heat in the car, while also avoiding interference with the car's electronics and passenger phones.
Resolving these challenges can address the current issues with in-vehicle Wi-Fi, but to create a sustainable solution, the device has to offer an open-connectivity platform to support new applications, enabling developers to drive the pace of innovation on connected applications. This also offers flexibility for consumers, as they can integrate future Wi-Fi-enabled devices into the in-vehicle Wi-Fi system throughout the entire life of the vehicle. Offering a flexible and easy to use system drives demand from both vehicle manufacturers and consumers, but to penetrate the mature automotive market, the device needs to be effectively distributed to reach a broad range of consumers.
The Audi A8
Audi has announced that they will have a factory installed Marvell Mobile Hotspot built-in to the new 2011 Audi A8 that is set to debut later this year. The hotspot will allow you to connect up to eight devices to your car.
The Wifi hotspot works by installing a data capable SIM card into the A8s car-phone or by connecting to a device equipped with the SIM card and Bluetooth.
Ford Sync enabled vehicles
Ford Motor Company will connect the car to the internet with the introduction of its new MyFord Touch driver connect technology and the second generation of its popular SYNC in-car connectivity system.
MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles will feature a WiFi signal receiver that will provide Internet access, when parked, through a Ford-developed web browser using the systems 8-inch touch screen. Also, inserting an owners compatible USB mobile broadband modem into SYNCs USB port will produce a secure wireless connection that will be broadcast throughout the vehicle, allowing passengers with WiFi-enabled mobile devices to access the Internet while on the go