General Motors has announced a broad global strategy to embed 4G LTE mobile broadband technology into its vehicles. The up-and-coming broadband technology will first be deployed through AT&T in the 2015 model year Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac models available in 2014 in the United States and Canada.
Capable of delivering mobile data speeds that are up to 10 times faster than 3G technologies, 4G LTE also offers increased responsiveness and the ability to support multiple voice and data connections simultaneously. As such, the possibilities of building the technology into a vehicle enables a wide range of in-vehicle communications and entertainment capabilities. According to GM, expected benefits for customers could include in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspots (which are available as aftermarket additions on some models today), new infotainment options such as streaming video to back seat occupants, real-time updates (such as traffic, and navigation information), and faster application downloads. 4G LTE will also build on OnStar‘s existing collection of built-in connected services, which was first introduced in GM vehicles in 1996.
In effect, building LTE directly into the vehicle turns the car, truck, SUV, or crossover into its own mobile device, according to GM president of Global Connected Consumer Mary Chan. And that’s in addition to allowing consumers to utilize their own personal mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops, among others, in the vehicle. Notably, the 4G LTE technology will be specifically designed for in-vehicle use by being integrated into the vehicle’s electrical system. It will feature an external antenna to maximize coverage and connectivity.
And since the technology is integrated into the car from the get-go, GM has taken steps to think through the various safety aspects, as well.
“As we implement 4G LTE connectivity into our vehicles the most important piece we will consider is delivering this technology to our customers in a safe manner, staying focused on reducing any related distractions,” said Chan.
The 4G LTE partnership with AT&T is just the beginning, as GM plans to work with carriers on a global basis to enable connectivity in its other brands (such as Opel/Vauxhall) and in other nations. The automaker will announce more carrier and supplier relationships in the coming months to expand the 4G LTE capabilities of its vehicles in global markets.
AT&T’s 4G LTE network is expected to reach 300 million people in the U.S. by the end of 2014. To implement GM’s plans, the automaker and the carrier will immediately begin work to develop 4G LTE connectivity for GM vehicles in the U.S. and Canada.
So, who can’t wait to get their built-in 4G LTE on?