UPDATED 12:28 EDT / OCTOBER 19 2012

Need For Speedy, Connected Cars

We’ve connected computers, smartphones and even television sets.  The next wave of connected devices has hit the automobile industry, as car manufacturers and web service providers race to find the underlying business model of connected cars. From Mercedes Benz to Toyota, Microsoft to Broadcom, more and more companies are teaming up to offer some pretty interesting interactions between your car, the web, and you.

In today’s connected device roundup we explore a new dashboard for Mercedes Benz drivers, Ethernet in new Hyundais, and Kinect motion sensors in electric Toyotas.

Mercedes Benz-Usablenet

Mercedes Benz USA teamed up with Usablenet to introduce an enhanced mobile version of mbusa.com, which enables them to  communicate key brand and product attributes to customers, provide valuable vehicle information and ensure that customers are efficiently connected with Mercedes-Benz dealers at any time from their mobile device.

“Mercedes-Benz USA is committed to deepening customer engagement through a branded mobile experience that measurably drives consideration of Mercedes-Benz vehicles,” said Eric Jillard, department manager, digital marketing & CRM at MBUSA.

“Usablenet enables us to reach the on-the-go customer with a unique and brand-commensurate mobile experience that reinforces our brand equity, supports customer loyalty, and adds value to the vehicle research and purchase journey.”

Mercedes sees the need for an efficient and useful mobile tool for their customers who are always on the road.


Semiconductor solutions provider, Broadcom Corporation, partnered up with Hyundai Motor to bring Ethernet to car manufacturer’s next generation connected vehicles.  The collaboration will integrate infotainment, telematics and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) features such as surround view parking and lane departure warning into Hyundai vehicles.  It aims to deliver robust features and faster connectivity to a broader number of drivers.

The technology will be based on Broadcom’s BroadR-Reach Ethernet technology, the single high-bandwidth in-vehicle network will deliver cost-effective, lightweight 100Mbps connectivity to advance integration of safety applications in the vehicle.

“Hyundai is confident about the viability of Ethernet in the car and looks forward to closely collaborating with Broadcom to develop an Ethernet network for Hyundai vehicles,” said SunJai Lee, Hyundai’s Infortainment Design Division Leader.

“The in-vehicle Ethernet network will enable key features including infotainment, lane departure warning, park assist and telematics to deliver greater value to our customers.  We chose to partner with Broadcom as they deliver superior Ethernet-based innovation to enrich the driver and passenger experience.”


Earlier this month, Toyota showcased their latest Smart car prototype in Japan dubbed as Smart INSECT.  The INSECT is a fully electric compact vehicle that features gull-wing doors and motion sensors courtesy of Microsoft’s Kinect.  The car’s sensors recognizes the owner’s face and body shape and is able to predict whether the owner wants to open the doors based on his actions.

The INSECT can also recognize the owner’s voice so opening doors will be as easy as talking to it.  The interiors of the car facilitates for mobile connectivity.  It has a wireless charger pad for phones that has the ability to charge wirelessly, a dash-mounted monitor that connects to the driver’s handset and a button for dialing up Toyota’s virtual agent, and an integration with a home energy management system that allows a user to control their smart connected homes via a phone app.

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