In-car wi-fi to boom over next five years

In-car wi-fi is set to boom as the automotive industry gets to grip with the popularity of mobile devices.

Car manufacturers have been fitting vehicles with cutting edge technology for some time, and more and more microchips have been finding their way into cars. According to IC Insights, chips sold to the automotive industry will grow at a faster pace than the overall industry, with the market growing to $28.0 billion by 2016. As Google lives out its sci-fi fantasies with its driverless car projects, we can expect the average car to be looking very different over the coming decades.

In addition to this, analysts are forecasting that the introduction of wi-fi will allow the integration of tablets and smartphones with onboard systems to be greatly increased in the next few years.

So far only a few manufacturers have bothered with in-car wi-fi, Audi being one of those which has included it either as a feature or an optional extra.  

Increasingly this is changing, and, according to analysts IMS Research, the market for in-car wi-fi will increase eightfold over the next seven years across America and western Europe.

While Bluetooth has been used by manufacturers, it has not been able to deliver the speeds that would be made possible by wi-fi, which is likely to be plug the gap and be introduced as a standard in the future.

By fitting cars with wi-fi, drivers and passengers would be able to share content from internet enabled devices as well as creating in-car hotspots, enabling camera modules or allowing wireless screen duplication. More specific automotive applications such as wireless car diagnostics or wirelessly upgrading software would also be enabled.

Filomena Berardi, senior analyst at IMS Research said that wi-fi uptake is expected to grow swiftly, particularly with advances such as Wi-Fi Direct and Miracast.

“The uptake of wi-fi in vehicles will be fairly aggressive,” Berardi said in a statement. “The recent Wi-Fi Alliance announcement regarding Wi-Fi Miracast, is very exciting. Some in the industry see this being used in conjunction with MirrorLink for wireless screen duplication.”

“All in all, the future for Wi-Fi in the car is very promising,” Beradi said.