Cisco, Nvidia Make Moves in Connected Car Market

Cisco shows off a proof-of-concept car at a Michigan event, while Nvidia opens a technology center in the state for automobile technology.

Cisco Systems and Nvidia are making moves in the growing market for connected cars, a space that is continuing to attract major players in the tech industry.

Cisco officials, with their counterparts at European automotive supplier Continental, on Aug. 6 demonstrated a joint proof-of-concept connected car that included networking technology that featured high-speed connectivity and strong security.

The companies showed off the concept car during the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. The automobile included Cisco’s wireless network switching technology and on-board software that enables seamless switching between 3G, 4G and other wireless networks based on such metrics as cost and quality-of-service while the car is moving.

In addition, technology from both Cisco and Continental brings the same security found in homes and offices to the in-car network, according to Cisco officials. The giant networking vendor installed a secure software gateway that brings the company’s core networking capabilities into the automobile, they said.

As more technology is brought into the car, the need for greater connectivity and security will grow, according to Helder Antunes, managing director of Cisco’s Smart Connected Vehicle business.

“With a Cisco software client that taps into the wider network, the car becomes a high-performing hot spot on the road,” Antunes wrote in a post on Cisco’s blog. “With the ability to easily switch between 3G, 4G and other wireless networks, we deliver reliable, non-stop connectivity and provide the basis for superior app performance with voice, video and data.

“The more vehicles become connected, the more entry points you open up for potential hackers. It’s become a prime concern for the industry and Cisco is poised to address it. Leveraging enterprise-grade security, we’ve built in a combination of cloud-based and on-board security solutions from the ground up to secure key attack points.”

Cisco officials said the company would continue to work with Continental to create solutions that will be able to leverage the constant connectivity in moving vehicles.

For their part, Nvidia officials announced Aug. 5 that the company is opening a center in Ann Arbor, Mich., which will enable engineers and executives to work more closely with automakers in the area—such as Chrysler, GM and Ford—to develop technologies for such areas as navigation, driver-assistance programs and infotainment.