Mobile Internet use has long been part of everyday life for many people. They no longer “go” online, they simply are online – even when they are in their cars. Drivers of personalized vehicles with access to the Internet and to their own data and media in the cloud will have a fundamentally different driving experience.

“Always on” in the car

Three quarters of Germans now have Internet access, almost half of them use social media, and one in five goes online outside the home. They can upload photos, tell people where they are, and communicate with friends – this wide range of functions via the social media and innumerable apps has vastly accelerated the spread of mobile Internet use. Social, local and mobile – these are the trends and the car is right at the heart of them.

By 2016, 80 percent of all vehicles sold anywhere in the world will be completely connected. One option is to link smartphones with cars via a USB connection or Bluetooth, as demonstrated in Daimler’s A-Class, for instance. The display will then be clearly visible on a screen and the user will operate the system either from the central console or using voice commands. Alternatively, vehicles will have their own Internet connection and will be mobile devices themselves.

With the expansion of the faster mobile telephony standard LTE, the successor to UMTSThe Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a third generation (3G) mobile telephony standard enabling far higher data transfer rates (up to 21 Mbps with HSPA+, otherwise max. 384 kbps) than GSM, the second generation (2G) mobile telephony standard (up to 220 kbps for EDGE; otherwise max. 55 kbps for GPRS). , cars may also become hugely important as nodes within the network. Audi and BMW are already testing a fast Internet connection using in-car LTE . Alongside communication through social media, drivers will be able to find nearby restaurants and hotels simply and quickly using geolocation, call up reviews of these establishments, and make reservations via their vehicle. A single click will show the route to the desired location on a 3-D map like the one developed by Porsche for ACC InnoDrive. This guarantees that the user will arrive at the destination quickly due to exact recognition of the surroundings and the most precise calculation of the route with all the geophysical information. The car reads out messages, e-mails and other information, and the driver or passenger dictates possible replies. Internet radio, provided by the Pandora service in BMW and Mini in the US (where LTE already covers the whole country) is already standard equipment.

Connected cars are a gateway to the world. Every application comes with the option of sharing on social networks. If the vehicle passes a tourist attraction, the relevant Wikipedia entries can be projected onto the windshield for passengers; friends in the vicinity can be localized.

Driving in the community

Vehicle apps connected to social media offer additional new possibilities. They increase the car’s level of personalization. Contests in economical driving among the online CommunityA community on the Internet is a virtual group of Internet users. Usually the members have interests in common, communicate via the Internet, and make their knowledge available for use in the community. , and music to suit a driving style, are already reality.

The car is my computer

In addition to all the Internet functions that are appearing in cars, the vehicle is even more – in fact it is becoming a home on wheels. Cloud technologies are making this possible. Since data no longer have to be stored on the computer’s hard disk, but can be parked flexibly on servers, vehicles – like other mobile devices – can now also access music, diaries, films, books and so on. Passengers will like this because they are guaranteed a stream of entertainment on the back seat. Digital networking will offer innumerable opportunities that no one has thought of yet. The fact is, cars will become even more personalized than they are already, and take their place seamlessly in the trend of mobile communication and accessibility.