Munich, Germany — The BMW Group can look to space to keep connected cars online.
Automakers are considering plans to introduce satellite-based internet access in sedans and crossovers, said Stephan Durach, senior vice president of development for the Connected Company at the BMW Group.
Customers always expect a stable internet connection, Durach said in a media briefing here last month.
So-called non-terrestrial network technologies offer the possibility of seamless connectivity and BMW is evaluating future application and partnership possibilities.
“We are looking at satellite communications, especially in environments with poor cellular reception,” Dulac said. “A lot of places in Europe and America don’t have good coverage.”
Robust in-vehicle internet connectivity is a critical factor as automakers rely on over-the-air software updates to unlock features and deliver digital services such as video streaming.
But for now, high costs and limited data transmission capacity make satellite-based Internet services a “last resort,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst at Guidehouse Insights.
“If we had a breakdown in the middle of Nebraska with no cell coverage or our batteries ran out of power, the satellite connection would allow us to send messages for roadside assistance,” said Abuelsamid. “It’s safe.”
Abuelsamid does not yet believe that automakers will rely on satellite connectivity for vehicle data transmission.
“Most of the data that car manufacturers want to transmit is not time sensitive,” he said. “They can cache it until the car is back in wireless coverage.”