Verizon, BMW, Toyota and others form 4G car alliance

Verizon is hoping to get your next car online, launching the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars to push LTE integration – along with the cloud, mobile content and more – into dashboards. A partnership with BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota, along with links to MIT, the 4G Venture Forum for Connected Cars "will collaborate and explore ways to deliver connectivity to vehicles of all types, by leveraging open standards and discussing ways to accelerate development of the 4G LTE ecosystem across automotive OEMs, suppliers, device manufacturers, application developers and content publishers."

Connected cars aren't particularly unusual, and several more expensive models already used integrated modems to transmit maintenance data to the manufacturer and provide an early warning for potential breakdowns. However, Verizon & Co. expect to use embedded LTE in far more ambitious ways under the heading of "telematics", including cloud-connection for remote media access and more, safety systems with online links, and support for third-party developers to get involved too.

"There are many challenges to designing next generation telematics and infotainment solutions," Verizon CMO Tami Erwin said of the new group, "including supporting safe and responsible driving, advancing vehicle-to-vehicle solutions and improving sustainability, among others."

Safety is likely to be the primary thing on regulators' minds, with concerns already mounting that cars present too much information to drivers. Back in February, the NHTSA proposed stricter distraction guidelines that would limit just how much in-dash displays and touchscreens could show, and what drivers could be allowed to control while on the move.

For instance, anything over 30 characters in length – such as a text-based message or a more complex set of commands – would not be permitted unless the car was parked up. Future iterations of the guidelines are expected to extend the rules to cover smartphones, aftermarket sat-nav units, tablets and other electronic gadgets, and eventually cover voice-control systems.

[via The Verge]