2011 Audi A8 L
It's no secret that cars are getting more connected every day. Since GM introduced OnStar more than a decade ago, the way that modern vehicles communicate with the world around them has gotten more and more sophisticated. So it's no surprise that Audi will be introducing the next-generation of wireless connectivity in its flagship sedan, the A8 L.
Using 4G LTE technology developed in conjunction with Alcatel-Lucent, the prototype A8 L will allow much higher data transmission rates than current 3G technology. How much faster? According to Audi, 3G transmits at about 14.4 megabits per second. The 4G LTE technology will top out at around 100 megabits per second. In other words, 3G is about as fast as DSL, while 4G is like a cable connection.
So what will it do? The prototype demonstration included receiving high-definition video through the 4G connection, but that's really just the tip of the iceberg. The reality could be much cooler. For example, rather than store map or other data on a disc or hard drive in the car, it could be in the "cloud," constantly updated. Traffic information would be on-time, rather than delayed by 15 minutes. You could have instant access to the Internet when you needed it, or rather than bringing along a DVD or Blu-Ray disc on those long trips, you could simply stream a high-def movie as you drove...as long as you stayed in a 4G area, of course.
The reality is that nobody really has a clear idea what 4G connectivity will bring to cars. It's easy to project today's uses on a modern vehicle, but history shows that when a new technology appears, it often winds up being used in very clever ways. What do you think broadband in cars could do? Tell us in the comments section below!