We already know that in-car web browsing is on its way. Both BMW and Chrysler have already revealed that the feature is forthcoming in their vehicles, and more automakers are sure to follow. But telematics provider ATX Group is sticking its nose in to ensure that the web we're one day browsing in our cars is safe to use (read: no fun at all). ATX is working with a group called the Connected Vehicle Trade Association to push a standardized method for getting web content into automobiles. ATX is exploring ways to adapt the traditional web experience to meet the demands of the automotive environment, similar to the way mobile versions of websites target cellphone browsers, nevermind that the mobile web experience pales in comparison to surfing normal websites on a device like the iPhone, which works inside cars last time we checked. One idea is to target automobile surfing through implementation of a standard top-level domain, .car, which would house content specifically designed to work with the to-be-determined vehicular web standard.

With safety in mind, we're guessing that ATX and the CVTA will kick around a text-to-speech function that allows pages to be read-aloud to a driver by the embedded hardware, and possibly a standardization of page size for reliably fast loading. Telematics also opens up another area for targeted services, such as remote diagnostics, parental surveillance via performance monitoring, and dynamic traffic information. Developing a standard also helps automakers avoid duplicating each others' efforts as they all race to deliver E! Online to your dashboard. Ah yes, in-car internet will no doubt be the latest whiz-bang distraction from the task of actually driving one's car.

[Source: ATX]


ATX Proposes .car Initiative to Facilitate Safe Web Browsing in Vehicles

Telematics Provider Requests Connected Vehicle Trade Association to Organize Coalition to Promote Tools for In-Vehicle Web Design

DALLAS-FORT WORTH, May 19, 2008 - ATX Group, the world's largest independent telematics services provider to the automotive industry, today announced an initiative with the Detroit-based Connected Vehicle Trade Association (CVTA) to convene an international work group to address how to safely access internet content through embedded and nomadic devices in vehicles.

ATX, as the convenor of the working group, and CVTA will launch an immediate effort to invite automobile manufacturers and interested parties in the automotive electronics value chain to participate in an open discussion and process for setting requirements for in-vehicle Web browsing. An industry forum on the proposal will follow when the industry meets in Detroit from Oct. 20-22, 2008.

ATX also is proposing a generic top-level domain - dot.car (.car), similar to dot.com (.com) - that would enable Web sites to be specifically designed to meet the challenging safety and consumer requirements for delivering Web content into the vehicle.

"The Web has become such a daily part of our lives, its pervasive use in the vehicle is inevitable and demands that the industry agree on specific formats that will adapt the traditional Web browsing experience to the driving experience," said ATX President and CEO Steve Millstein. "This proposal is similar to the adaptation that was required to develop and interface between the smart phone and the Web. Browsing the Internet in the vehicle is a unique environment with unique characteristics."

"ATX is a valued member of CVTA, and we fully support their thought leadership in convening this initiative," added Scott McCormick, president of the CVTA (www.connectedvehicle.org). ."Internet content is beginning to enter the vehicle environment, and we need to bring together all the stakeholders addressing safe means of obtaining, viewing and interacting with this content. This is a timely and important topic that we hope will draw global interest across a variety of affected industries."

In addition to Web content, it is envisioned that dot.car Web sites could also utilize such telematics-centric, real-time data as vehicle performance and maintenance diagnostics data, as well as vehicle location data. Also proposed is a telematics firewall process specifically designed to ensure the total protection of the vehicle from content that is delivered over the air to the in-vehicle browser for the entire life cycle of the automobile.

As envisioned, the initial users will be automobile manufacturers and their technology, and communications partners and suppliers. This group would need to define requirements in regards to the expected user experience. While the primary vision of the dot.car domain is to give motorists the ability to surf the World Wide Web and experience customized Web browsing, automobile manufacturers would benefit from the process by:

  • Ensuring flexibility to adapt the embedded user interface for the life of the vehicle;
  • Dramatically reducing lead time to market compared to the current embedded software design process;
  • Achieving the capability to customize according to vehicle model, country and motorist;
  • Facilitating easy customer access to content and updates;
  • Meeting customer expectations of web browsing while keeping a safe and convenient driving experience.