GM Sees A Need For Speed–In Connecting Cars

DETROIT — (WWJ) General Motors says it’s going to begin embedding fast 4G LTE wireless technology in its vehicles.

Chief Infotainment Officer Phil Abram says the high speed nature of this technology—as fast as many home networks—will allow cars to be connected in a way they never have been before, bringing new options to drivers and passengers.

“They are gonna have access to a whole new array of applications and capabilities that are enabled by this high speed connection to the car.”

Interview: GM Cheif Infotainment Officer Phil Abram talks to WWJ’s Jeff Gilbert

Some of those new capabilities will be related to safety and security, and involve GM’s OnStar service. Abram says other capabilities will be entertainment oriented.

“We’re talking about things such as being able to have a Wi-Fi hotspot in your vehicle,” he said. “About new infotainment options, like being able to stream video to the back seat of your car.“

GM isn’t yet saying which vehicles will get the first 4G connections. But the company plans to start equipping cars and truck with the technology next year, and roll it out very quickly after that.

“In addition to allowing consumers to bring in and connect to personal mobile devices, the vehicle will also act as its own mobile device, enabling embedded vehicle capabilities,” said Mary Chan, president, Global Connected Consumer, General Motors. “Turning this vision into a reality starts with enabling fast, reliable and responsive connectivity within the vehicle. Through this built-in 4G LTE connection we have the opportunity to reinvent the mobile experience inside a vehicle.”

General Motors is partnering with AT and T, which is behind its main competitor—Verizon—in rolling out high speed 4G LTE service, but is working hard to catch up.

“While our 4G LTE network will provide fast, reliable mobile broadband for GM’s connected vehicles, we’re also looking forward to working directly with GM researchers and engineers as well as the developer community to invent new in-vehicle applications that will take full advantage of our powerful network,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility.

GM’s Phil Abram says they will be on the lookout for interesting new ways to use the high speed technology. He says one possibility would be to have streaming videos from cars and trucks that could be activated if the car is broken into or bumped.

It’s likely, Abram says, that there may be some services that require subscriptions, and others that are included with the vehicle.

While entertainment technologies will get much of the early attention, Abram says safety technologies will get some of the most important help from the higher speed connectivity.

“Every second counts, especially when you’re offering some of the safety and security services that we are with OnStar, where seconds matter” he said. “This will allow it to be even more efficient in that regard.“

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Twitter: @jefferygilbert

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