BERLIN -- On-board Internet will soon become a regular option in cars as the necessary technology makes its mass market breakthrough in the next few years. That is the view of experts meeting at the Automobilwoche Congress in Berlin.
“On-board Internet can be here very quickly. It can happen in two to three years. It goes hand-in hand with the continued, rapid development of car-to car communication" Ulrich Kurth, an automotive specialist at T-Systems told the Congress.
Automobilwoche is a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
All the components necessary to roll out the technology are at hand. "The chemical mixture has become explosive. We have everything. Now it's only a matter of how these components come together." he added.
But Stefan Bratzel, manager of the Center of Automotive at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach added a cautionary note, warning automakers that they shouldn't underestimate the attractions of on-board Internet and allow non-automotive companies to provide universal standards for the technology before they do.
“We are going to have the Google generation in high-volume cars. The industry must internalize this from the outset,” Bratzel said.
Attracting young drivers
Bratzel added that the Internet could play a key role in making cars more attractive to young people, who already use Internet regularly.
“To become more attractive to young people, the auto industry must offer something that they now use naturally on a daily basis.”
He added that carmakers could also use the technology to maintain and shape future customer relationships.
“On-board Internet can assure the OEMs' contact with the customer beyond the sales process,” he said.
But not every aspect of the existing technology for on-board Internet points to the future, according to T-Systems's Kurth. He doesn't consider the current leading applications such as Ford Sync and Onstar to be the way forward.
“These solutions continue to be quite simple," Kurth said. "They don't lend themselves to expansion.”