Over the past couple of weeks, we've mentioned several systems that bring home computer-like services to automobiles. We've discussed proprietary systems like Ford's Microsoft Sync and its rumored Hyundai rival, and, at the other end of the spectrum, in-car routers that function as "dumb pipes", bringing Wi-Fi to laptops and other web-enabled devices. Just yesterday, we wondered aloud when this technology would merge and simplify, shifting from static systems to something more like the internet computing we know and love: customizable, flexible, and adaptable to the diverse needs of drivers.
We're not there yet, but we're happy to report that the ng Connect Program is working on something similar for a new concept vehicle, the LTE Connected Car. Developed with support from Toyota, Alcatel-Lucent, Atlantic Records, and an assortment of other companies, the LTE would bring web access to vehicles via a super-fast 4G network, using a system of touchscreens to give drivers and passengers access to a variety of information and entertainment options. Although Toyota seems to be a major player in the project, it appears that the system could be brand-agnostic, meaning that it could be installed in any vehicle, and possibly ported from one car to the next.
Reading through the company's website, the LTE Connected Car begins to sound much more like the system we've been dreaming about -- one that includes downloadable apps, cloud-based computing, and other features we use every day on our laptops, desktops, and smartphones:
"The LTE Connected Car concept illustrates that mobile devices are potentially no longer just phones or music players. The concept vehicle becomes a mobile platform where information can be easily accessed and transmitted through the use of high bandwidth connectivity and cloud-based applications.”
Here's a teaser video of the LTE Connected Car in "action", featuring a Toyota Prius. Obviously, there's still a lot of smoke and mirrors at work, but the technology -- its flexibility and the way it mimics web environments we know from home and the workplace -- seems like the logical path to follow: