Previously, I have covered the concept of the in-car network, mainly in the context of linking with another network like a home network so as to transfer entertainment content, maps and similar material to a hard disk in the vehicle. This also encompassed the ability for the vehicle to link to a wireless-broadband service for such purposes as obtaining “nearest available services” information or playing online media such as Internet radio to the car speakers. This extends to commercial and government applications where data can be obtained from the office while on the road and shown up on in-dash displays.
The next five years will see this becoming an important OEM and aftermarket feature for most cars. There have been some factory-supplied and aftermarket systems being presented which use a mobile phone as a Bluetooth-linked or USB-linked wireless-broadband modem with the processing in the dashboard or the dashboard as a control surface for the phone or certain apps within the phone. A few implementations use a wireless-broadband modem or modem-router (MiFi style) as an Internet link to the dashboard and the passengers’ devices.
It is perceived that Wi-Fi will be seen as another link to the car infotainment system for the smartphones and tablets to use. It would typically be implemented in the Wi-Fi Direct manner with the access point in the dashboard or the car being a client to an existing wireless network. This could allow concepts such as a smartphone being a DLNA media server for the car, the in-dash navigation being able to benefit from the address book that the smartphone or tablet has or rear-seat entertainment setups being auxiliary screens for a tablet thanks to Miracast.
But I have always seen it beyond the in-vehicle network that applies within the confines of a vehicle. Here, I have seen these networks link with stationary networks like home networks for syncing content to and from the vehicle or updating large amounts of data like maps while at home. Similarly, I would see the vehicle-based network interlink with a home network at a secondary location like a holiday home to do things like serving music to DLNA-capable AV devices for example.
This could be a very interesting trend to see just as we have seen in-car entertainment evolve over the last fifty years with technologies like tape and disc playback, radio reception, mobile telephony, satellite navigation and the like.