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Timeline: OEMs Introduce Connected Cars

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May 22, 2020—In just five years, the global market for automotive sensors is projected to grow to over $14 billion, according to Statista, a provider of market and consumer data.

The connected car is equipped for the flow of data to and from the car. It's able to communicate with the cloud to offer connected services like navigation and will be able to exchange information in real time with its surroundings. Automotive manufacturers have been competing for the connected customer.

When asked in a 2015 McKinsey Connectivity and Autonomous Driving Executive Survey, approximately 90 percent of automotive executives said their organization’s business model would change due to the emergence of in-vehicle connectivity and autonomous driving.

OEMs have been gradually introducing connected features and connected cars into the U.S. fleet. As a repairer, do you know which brand, make and models offer connected services? Would you be able to recognize a connected car repair and take decisive action? 

Let’s explore the history of OEMS introducing connected car features.


1996: General Motors

General Motors debuted OnStar as a dealer-installed device, in its Cadillacs. This was considered one of the industry’s first built-in-telematics system. It also notifies the OE if a crash occurs and acts as a security system.

In 1997, OnStar expanded to include remote diagnostics so customers could stop guessing at what type of vehicle maintenance their car needed.

1998: BMW

In 1998, BMW launched what is known today as ConnectedDrive. It was launched as BMW Telematics. The driver’s telephone was used to establish a connection. This telematics service offered the driver up-to-date traffic information and an emergency call.

In 2004, the automaker launched a built-in SIM card to be fitted into the car. This allowed the driver to access news, weather services and office functions.

2005: Audi

Audi connect services started to be developed in 2005 and were available in vehicles beginning in 2009.

This feature offers mobile broadband internet access in cars. 

In 2013, Audi upgraded this to  offering high-speed internet with a fully integrated LTE module. As many as eight personal mobile devices can be connected to the car.

These services include real time traffic information in the navigation system.

2015: Mercedes-Benz and Volvo

With the launch of Mercedes me, customers were able to go to Mercedes connect me to access online connectivity services like using their smartphone to lock the car doors or locate the vehicle.

The company also offered services including accident recovery, maintenance management and breakdown management. 

Volvo started including Sensus Connect in all of its model year 15 vehicles. This connects the driver’s smartphone with apps to help the driver stay connected to the car. This allows the driver to perform functions like finding fuel stations nearby and book service and repair services. 

2016: Porsche

The Porsche Connect services launched in 2016 on the basis of the Connect module in the car. Smartphones and Apple Watches were able to connect and collect vehicle data. The Car Connect pool all services for the remote control of vehicle functions within one app. Drivers can search for real-time traffic information and retrieve hybrid information for hybrid vehicles. 

2017: Nissan

Nissan launched NissanConnect in the Indian market in 2017.  This connected service is similar to other OEMs and offers the driver the opportunity to use roadside assistance, receive maintenance alerts and receive a vehicle health report every month, indicating if the car needs to go in for service or not.

2022: Ford

Ford announced in 2019 that it was bringing cellular vehicle-to-everything technology to its cars in 2022, according to Business Insider. The technology would augment sensors used in self-driving cars and also help the driver quickly send and receive information. For example, navigating four-way stops would be easier. 

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