At long last, your car is catching up to your mobile phone with 4G connectivity. Audi, the first automaker to boast the new technology, will be including 4G/LTE in their A3 sedan model coming to showrooms soon. General Motors and Cadillac have also shown interest in the inclusion of 4G in their models and are not far behind Audi with their release.
The connection given by the 4G technology essentially turns the entire car into a wireless hotspot, giving any and all handheld devices within the vehicle quicker updates when it comes to things like navigation, traffic, and even booking a dinner reservation. This connectivity will allow automakers to provide new features and apps to improve the driver’s experience.
With these new features, the Audi Connect system will supplement existing programs in order to gain updated traffic information, knowledge on where to find an open parking spot, and smooth video streaming.
4G/LTE connectivity will help give cars the kind of digital response time that users have come to expect from their phones, but have found lacking in their cars. “It’s pretty much bringing the car on par with other mobile devices,” says Thilo Koslowski, analyst for Gartner. “It’s almost like you’re being delayed when you go in the auto world.”
AT&T, Audi’s wireless partner, announced the pricing of the 4G connection in Audi’s A3: New-car buyers will get a six-month free trial, then pay $99 a month for a six-month plan or $499 for 30 months. Over time, this feature will be included in other Audi models besides the A3. This service can also be added to an existing AT&T Mobile Share Plan, but can’t be rolled into car payments.
In partnering with AT&T, however, this new system could change the way we buy cars. For example, after leaving the dealership with a new Audi A3 Sedan, will the buyer have to head straight to the nearest AT&T branch to have their wireless plan set up? Or, will AT&T incorporate a representative at the Audi dealership to set up the plan while the buyer is in the midst of purchasing? Either way, this collaboration between wireless and auto companies warrants a new system for car buying and set up.
General Motor’s 4G connectivity will be coming to models this summer and Cadillac plans to include it in its ATS Coupe in the near future. Pricing for both companies has yet to be announced, but Cadillac has released that its system will include Apple’s Siri Eyes Free, which allows drivers to trigger their iPhone’s virtual assistant with the voice- control button on the steering wheel.
Overall, this 4G technology will bring Audi, General Motors, Cadillac, and any other company that jumps on board, up to par with mobile phone technology. Wireless connectivity will be making driving easier and safer for their tech savvy users.
[Sources: USA Today, WIRED]