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Does my car need built-in internet?

March 15, 2016


Mark Thomas

“I already have an internet connection in my car!” is a common reaction when I tell people that I’m working to bring embedded internet connections to every vehicle.

That was my first reaction too. Why would I need a second internet connection in the car when I already have one from my smartphone? It turns out there are at least a few important reasons why your car needs its own connection:

  1. Embedded internet stays with the car, even when you’re not in it.
    Something important is happening in the automotive industry. Cars are doing things on their own, even when you’re not in them. Electric Vehicles (EVs) change battery level when you’re away. Monitoring charge status or getting an alert when your car is fully charged requires internet connectivity.For non-EV cars, the most popular connected service is remote start. But the car needs its own internet connection for that. What’s more, a connected car can alert you if there’s a break-in attempt (no more wondering if that car alarm is yours), and provide real-time tracking if it’s on the move.

As we move towards the future with self-driving cars, there will be times when your car will be driving without you (like parking itself). More and more, your car is going to need its own internet connection to stay in touch while you’re not inside.

  1. It does some things better than your phone does.
    Turning your car into a Wi-Fi hotspot has become a major advertising gimmick for auto manufacturers. This seems counter-intuitive since most smartphones also turn into hotspots.Wi-Fi provided by your car has advantages over smartphone-based connections. Turn the car on and the hotspot turns on too. The internet connection is much stronger because the whole car is used as the antenna. This a real benefit for streaming video, for example. And your car Wi-Fi should never run out of battery.
  2. Embedded internet is best suited for services that need access to vehicle information.
    An embedded connection could possibly save your life. Emergency “eCall services” automatically send for help after an accident. The faster an ambulance gets to the scene, the greater the chance to save a life. Detailed, real-time vehicle information from the accident helps precisely gauge the severity of the accident to better inform emergency responders.

Embedded connectivity can also save you money. For instance, usage-based insurance plans (UBI) that charge by the mile or by how you drive could cut your insurance premiums in half. Insurance companies that offer these plans require an always-on internet connection and detailed knowledge about your car.

Other new connected car services will sprout to take advantage of the built-in connectivity. Automated communication between your vehicle and your mechanic can make preventative maintenance and repairs much savvier than the traditional “every 12,000 mile” service guidelines.

Other promising uses of built-in connectivity are car sharing when you’re not using your car and package delivery into your connected trunk.

This is what people mean when they talk about the connected car revolution, and it requires built-in internet connectivity. It’s so much more than just seeing apps from your smartphone shown on the display in your vehicle.

At Jasper, we make the platform that helps automotive OEMs launch, manage and monetize their connected car services.

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