New York Auto Show Highlights a Changing Car Culture

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-04-18 Print this article Print

The connected car market is still in its early days, but there are hints of what's ahead at the 2014 New York International Auto Show, running April 18-27. On display are the expected free-standing engine blocks, swatches of leather, paint jobs buffed to blinding and a fleet of tall, thin women in little black dresses. But there are also large touch screens, dedicated buttons for accessing the Internet and talk of wireless connectivity. Signage for the new Dodge Durango lists "technologically advanced" ahead of "fuel-efficient" and "powerful," while the new Chrysler 200 advertises "downloadable apps" directly after news that no other vehicle in its class offers more safety features. AT&T was at the show's media day April 16, talking about its new deal to wirelessly enable Volvo's model year 2015 vehicles, which will arrive this summer. "We're a company that talks about mobilizing people's lives and making them simpler," Glenn Lurie, AT&T president of emerging devices, told eWEEK. "The automobile is going to change so much over the next three or five years, and what's changing it is that we've brought broadband to the car." Expect to see more automakers opening their software development kits (SDKs) to developers, a new breed of voice-activated and car- and safety-centric apps, and connections being made both between cars and from cars to infrastructure. "These things will change people's lives," said Lurie.

  • New York Auto Show Highlights a Changing Car Culture

    by Michelle Maisto
    1 - New York Auto Show Highlights a Changing Car Culture
  • At the New York Auto Show, a Changing Car Culture

    Many of the old tactics for selling and displaying a car still apply. Speed, fuel efficiency and good looks all matter. But increasingly, so will the wireless modules under the hood (as it were). The technology on board, says AT&T's Lurie, "is going to be one of the reasons people decide whether to buy or not buy a car."
    2 - At the New York Auto Show, a Changing Car Culture
  • The Connected Car by Volvo

    AT&T was at the auto show to talk about its newest customer win. Volvo's 2015 vehicles (arriving around May, said one person on the Volvo show floor) will be wirelessly enabled via AT&T's networks. Whether that means HSPA+, LTE or both hasn't been decided.
    3 - The Connected Car by Volvo
  • Internet at the Push of a Button

    Inside the connected Volvos, pressing a button with a world/Earth icon (to the right of the keypad) pulls up the Internet on the car's in-dash touch screen. When the vehicle is moving, Internet capabilities are disabled.
    4 - Internet at the Push of a Button
  • Automaker App Stores

    Automakers will eventually host their own app stores for customers. General Motors, for example, has said most 2015 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models will have app store access this summer. The AT&T-connected Volvo, however, will ship with about 15 apps but, at least for now, no option for downloading more.
    5 - Automaker App Stores
  • The Apps Are New, Not the Data

    Most people's first experience with in-car access to a cellular connection was with GM's OnStar. Volvo offers something similar, with OnCall, which is accessible via a mobile app. Car makers and carriers are still figuring out the details around connecting cars to data plans. (OnStar was sold as a service—not as data use.) This summer, AT&T will begin allowing subscribers to add cars to their data plans as easily as a new tablet.
    6 - The Apps Are New, Not the Data
  • Ford Sync

    Ford recently pushed out an update of its MyFord Touch software to drivers. While Sync comes in different flavors, Sync with MyFord Touch offers hands-free calling (drivers can say a name to place a call), voice-activated radio tuning, 911 Assist for roadside assistance and WiFi connectivity.
    7 - Ford Sync
  • Using Apps to Keep Cars on the Road

    At last year's New York Auto Show, Ford launched an app developer program and announced a Fuel-Efficiency App Challenge. Shown here is the 2015 Focus Electric.
    8 - Using Apps to Keep Cars on the Road
  • The Dodge Challenger

    Encountering the 2015 Dodge Challenger, Internet connectivity won't be most people's first thought. But the car does feature an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system. Up to 10 Bluetooth-enabled devices can connect to Uconnect, which can turn the car into a hotspot and give a driver voice control over the radio, digital media storage players and any connected phones.
    9 - The Dodge Challenger
  • What's Worth Boasting About

    Dodge, in a sign beside its new Durango, states that it's "one of the most technologically advanced SUVs on the market." In the headline, its tech prowess received higher billing than "fuel-efficient" and "powerful."
    10 - What's Worth Boasting About
  • Smartphone, Meet Smart Car

    Nissan offers its NissanConnect app in the Apple App Store and Google Play. With the app, drivers can connect their cars to applications such as Pandora, iHeartRadio and Google Search. In 2014 models, Nissan began offering features like hands-free texting using voice recognition.
    11 - Smartphone, Meet Smart Car
  • Millennials Behind the Wheel

    With automakers using social networks such as Instagram and Twitter to attract young drivers, in-car connectivity is no longer an option. "We're seeing 30, 40 percent of people saying they're going to choose a car that's connected," AT&T's Lurie told eWEEK. "This is now here." (Pictured is the 2015 Scion FR-S.)
    12 - Millennials Behind the Wheel

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