• May 19, 2008
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.


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  • 15 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a long overdue upgrade with the in dash nav and hard drives. Im looking forward to it more for online radio stations than for surfing autoblog on my commute. This tech will probadly put sat radio out of business. I would get rid of XM in a second to listen to pandora online. Hopefully they keep the electronics of these separate from the cars ecu, imagine the virus that turns off your injectors or alters the timing and F's up the motor.
      • 6 Years Ago
      With the advances in mobile devices, I can't see why someone wants to pay all this money to get services in their car when they can get it off their smartphone for a fraction of the price.
      • 6 Years Ago
      autoblog.car
        • 6 Years Ago
        (crashes while surfing autoblog.car)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is there anyone that thinks surfing the web while driving is a good idea? I would think the states would have a day legislating against this.
      • 6 Years Ago
      For the love of God, cell phones are already enough of a scourge on the driving public. The last damned thing we need is an entire generation of drivers IMing and emailing whilst behind the wheel.

      I may be an old fart compared to some readers here, but I remember when the fun in driving came from the road itself, not 400 lbs of computerized distractions. If there is ever a time for 100% mental focus on the task at hand, it's when we're driving.


        • 6 Years Ago
        Amen.

        (possibly my shortest post ever! :D )
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great! All we need is more idiots on the road surfing the net, yapping on their cell phones, then when the accidents happen the police will say it was speed that caused it.
      Common sense just does not exist anymore:(
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a nav system in my truck.
      One of the few annoyances are that I cannot type a full address if I am moving above 3 mph. I can perform a host of other functions while driving - including scrolling through pages of local Places Of Interest, but I cannot find my exact target. It is a stupid design choice. Plus it ignores that I may have a passenger. The airbag knows if there is someone in the passenger seat, why can't the nav system?

      My point is that the lawyers (my opinion) limit the functionality of nav systems today. Any feature like this would probably be so crippled as to be unusable in today's litigation-happy culture.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Jon:

        They should completely disable keyboard while the car is in motion. My prayers is that WHEN you have an accident, it is with a vehicle that MUCH bigger than yours.

        Why oh why do we need laws and lawyers to tell things that should be simple logic. Plain old common sense.

        • 6 Years Ago
        I drive a large SUV. (e.g. I spend about $75 per week on gas)

        I am fully responsible for my actions and the results of my actions.

        Your comments notwithstanding, I believe that if I pay for a feature, I should be able to use it as I deem appropriate.

        Studies have shown that talking on the phone is far more dangerous than many other activities when driving the vehicle.

        People need to be responsible for their choices. Good luck getting a law passed to enforce that.

        However, your comment / insult does not reflect poorly on me. It does make me question your mental health - openly hoping for someone to be injured just for the sake of you chanting "I told you so!" in an internet comment area. That's pretty sad, sir. Pretty sad.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oak, just say what you mean here!

        "When you have an accident because you were futzing with an electronic device, I hope you only hurt/kill yourself and not other innocent people."

        No need to beat around the bush with references to vehicle sizes, especially considering 99.9% of people here will agree with you.

        The problem is they'll agree with you, then some subset will reply to a text message while driving thinking, "it won't happen to me, I know what I'm doing!"
      • 6 Years Ago
      Even if the system can read the pages for you, it will grab your attention and only god knows what could happen next.

      To be near safe it should only show web pages if the car is on "P", similar to what happens in the new Ford Escape.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Somehow I have a feeling the porn websites will be all over the .car extension. Aren't they usually among the first to adopt new technology?
      • 6 Years Ago
      So, how exactly are you going to ACCESS the internet? If it's not satellite, then it means you need to have one heck of a mesh network to give reliable coverage...and (in most places) that costs money. Don't think this is going to be a free service.

      Cars are for driving..not surfing the net, putting on make up, reading the paper, going over notes for work, etc. All I have is Sirius and a 6 disc MP3 player..and that's all I need.

      I wish police officers could issue tickets for "general stupidity".
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