There’s nothing like surfing the web and driving. So Broadcom is bringing the connected car to life through a new wireless combo chip that combines high-end Wi-Fi with Bluetooth Smart. That could bring the advantages of better “infotainment” and communications — from good traffic information to smartphone synchronization — to the automobile.
The communications chip giant wants to enable cheaper and more efficient gear that connects a smartphone to your car’s electronics for hands-free calls and then connects the vehicle to the Internet via Wi-Fi networking or 5G cellular.
Broadcom says the Bluetooth will help transfer data from wearable tech (think Google Glass) and body sensors such as biometric indicators about driver fatigue, blood alcohol content, and glucose levels. By connecting to Bluetooth and the Internet, the car will be able to tap info on road hazards, traffic accidents, and even monitor your speed. Broadcom said its new combo wireless chip is now available in samples.
The chip includes 802.11AC/5G Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth Smart. That combines the connectivity of Wi-Fi for high-speed Internet, 5G cellular data for broader range internet access, and Bluetooth Smart for short-range in-car communications. The car can tap LTE data transfer or connect to Wi-Fi via a Hot Spot connection.
Across all three of those networks, you should be able to access the Internet while on the road, according to Irvine, Calif.-based Broadcom. Passengers and drivers will be able to sync and stream mobile content. One use many parents may want: Kids can watch streamed movies in the backseat.
“Car connectivity is the new battleground for product differentiation and the next frontier for Broadcom,” said Rahul Patel, Broadcom’s vice president of wireless connectivity, in a statement. “Broadcom is delivering our proven expertise and leadership in wireless connectivity to the automotive market. By providing the same technology and roadmap associated with the fast-moving mobile ecosystem, the possibilities enabled by our new wireless automotive chips are endless.”
Analysts expect the use of in-car Wi-Fi applications to grow eight-fold by 2019, the company said. Broadcom envisions apps such as a smartphone that you use to remotely adjust your seat, temperature, and entertainment settings.