At AUTO Connected Car News, we get to see the story of connected cars in action. It all started with a desire to help save lives and has grown to create many valuable relationships for drivers and automakers.
AUTO Connected Car News’ History of connected cars
In the late 1990s, cars began to be wirelessly connected to other sources, primarily for security reasons. At first, cars were equipped with cellular connections for emergency notifications. Starting in the new millennium, connections increased for security, convenience, remote functionality, and ultimately connection to smartphones. During this decade that began in 2010, increased connectivity has opened up opportunities for advanced safety driving features, parking/summoning apps, autonomous driving, remote functions and vulnerabilities for hackers.
Early years, late 1990s
In the early years of connected car telematics services, functionality was primarily for accident notifications to emergency responders, vehicle location, and roadside assistance.
1996 Analog cellular OnStar system announced. When the airbags deploy, the system connects to an OnStar advisor who relays the information to emergency responders.
1997 Mercedes-Benz introduced the first wireless key fob, called “Key-less Go” for the 1998 W220 S-class.
1997 BMW launches BMW Assist telematics services.
1998 GM improves OnStar service with factory-installed models that enable hands-free calling and voice recognition.
1999 Mercedes-Benz launches Tele Aid telematics program with emergency response roadside assistance and stolen vehicle location.
During this decade, services launched include diagnostics, advanced navigation, web connections, stolen vehicle slowdown, and smartphone apps with limited remote functionality.
2000 TeleAid on Mercedes-Benz Model S includes remote door unlocking.
2001 OnStar began providing real-time traffic information and remote door unlocking with its fourth generation with nearly 8 million interactions.
2001 Automotive remote diagnostic equipment launched by Continental.
2003 OnStar GM Goodwrench Remote Diagnostics service becomes available.
2003 Continental introduced devices for vehicle health and turn-by-turn navigation via digital network access device.
2005 Launch of OnStar turn-by-turn navigation.
2007 Continental introduced data-only telematics, also known as “machine-to-machine telematics”, the basis for the majority of today’s telematics modules, which are now shipped worldwide.
2007 BMW Assist is launched in the United States with four years of free service included with vehicle purchase.
June 2007 – The first iPhone is launched.
2007 (Fall) Stolen vehicle slowdown services are offered by OnStar.
2008 August Dodge Chrysler and Jeep uconnect web, powered by Autonet Mobile, provides continuous Internet connectivity with 3G Wi-Fi mobile hotspots, device must be installed by dealer.
2008 October – Launch of the first Android smartphone.
2009 August BMW claims to be the first automaker to integrate iPhone services into a vehicle.
2009 November Mercedes-Benz launches mbrace which allows owners to connect via iPhone and BlackBerry with remote locking or unlocking of doors and vehicle location.
2010 and after more apps, traps and hacks
During the 2010 decade, there are more connections to cars through multiple devices. The development of exclusively electric vehicles is driving the need for remote applications. Some cars have over-the-air software updates. New services require more connections and more data. The first cars with V2I and V2X technology appear. The proliferation of remote applications and services enables new forms of piracy. There are major reports on different types of hacks on popular vehicle models. The scariest are the remote hacks where hackers can control the vehicle from outside the car out of sight.
2010 January OnStar mobile app unveiled at CES 2010. The app allows Chevy Volt owners to set charging times and unlock the doors.
2010 December Launch of the Nissan LEAF with the CarWings application for iPhone which provides access to charging, range and air conditioning.
2011 August Launch of Nissan LEAF applications for BlackBerry and Android.
2011 August OnStar tests FamilyLink, locates family members and sends text and email alerts.
2012 January Mercedes-Benz mbrace adds Facebook, Yelp, a web browser, geofencing, alerts and the ability to share location with friends.
April 2012 New York Auto Show, Audi 7 premieres with 3G web connection with Wi-Fi hotspots and Google Earth navigation.
2012 June The first Tesla Model S is launched. It has 3G connectivity and the ability to update software over the air.
2013 November Audi A3 offers the first vehicles with 4G LTE data connectivity in Europe.
2014 June 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots are available for most 2015 GM vehicles in the United States
2014 July Kaspersky Lab and IAB publish their first annual connected car study. After analyzing BMW’s ConnectedDrive system, they found several locations for possible attacks.
2014 October Telsa S models come with hardware that will enable autopilot functionality after a future software update.
2015 January A security flaw in BMW’s Connected Drive system allowed ADAC (Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil-Club) researchers to mimic BMW servers and send remote unlocking instructions to vehicles. A security patch followed.
February 2015. US TV show 60 Minutes shows a 2009 Impala hacked by DARPA. They are able to brake remotely and prevent the driver from braking via an outdated OnStar system.
2015 April World Premiere Apple Watch controls functions of BMW i models.
2015 8/04/2015 April The European Parliament in Strasbourg has announced that in 2018 new cars and light vehicles will have to automatically alert the emergency services in the event of a vehicle collision. The service is called eCall.
2015 July The Mercedes-Benz Remote Parking Pilot application allows the driver to control parking from outside the vehicle by smartphone via Bluetooth.
2015 July Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek remotely hack a Jeep Cherokee. Using the zero-day exploit, hackers on a laptop 10 miles away sent commands to the Jeep. They were able to control the brakes, radio, wipers, air conditioning and throttle, sending Wired contributor Andy Greenberg into a ditch.
2015 August Sammy Kamkar creates a device capable of intercepting BMW Remote, Merecedes Benz mbrace, uconnect and Viper connected car remote iPhone iOS apps.
2015 September Frankfurt, Merecedes-Benz unveils the new E-Class with the first production model with Car-to-X communication.
2015 October Telsa Motors releases over-the-air software update with self-driving technology for Autopilot.
2016 January Telsa releases an update with the Summon feature to control parking from outside the vehicle using an app or key fob.
February 2016 – Researcher Troy Hunt used a web browser to hack Nissan controls through the LEAF Nissan Connect app. The team was able to access battery status, turn on the heated seats, and activate the air conditioning.
2016 March ADAC discovered 24 models were vulnerable thanks to keyless entry and smartphone apps. The researchers were able to unlock and start the vehicles.
2016 May Launch of OnStar proactive alerts. It alerts the driver for service when faults in the starter, fuel pump and 12-volt battery are detected.
2016 August Audi America announced the first V2I technology, called Traffic Light Information for select 2017 Audi Q7, A4 and A4 allroad models in the fall.
2016 Android Auto connecting to Android phones and Apple CarPlay connecting to iPhone begins to be installed by car manufacturers in vehicles.
August 2016 – Miller and Valasek break into a Jeep Cherokee at Black Hat USA controlling the throttle, brakes, steering and electronic parking brake at highway speeds with a connected laptop.
2016 October BMW Connected Version 3.0 for iOS adds Alexa, first mile navigation, vehicle service alerts and an Apple Watch app. BMW Connected Version 1.0 for Android is available.
2016 November Hyundai announces the mass release of Alexa skills for its Blue Link apps.
In November 2016, mobile security company Promon demonstrated that due to the Tesla smartphone app’s lack of security, cybercriminals could take control, track and locate the car in real time, unlock and drive the car. The hack was carried out by tricking the owner through a free lunch offer into downloading an app with malicious code. Lars Lunde Birkeland later noted that the attack could be used against any remote Android application.
At Mobile World Congress 2017, Giesecke & Devrient showcase solutions that can stop security threats before they happen. (If they advertise a product, add the product name.)
2017 May VOLVO announced that it was working with Google to develop the next generation of its Android-based infotainment and in-car connectivity solution.
2018 October V2X DSRC for smart intersections demonstrated by Honda.
2018 December Samsung, Qualcomm & VZW Demo 5G Data / Samsung & KOTSA agree to test V2X and the first 5.8 GHz C-V2X tested.
February 2019 The MWC2019 5G C-V2X is ready to hit the road to accelerate the NR-V22X.
September 2020 Audi USA, American Tower, Qualcomm and VDOT deploy C-V2X to protect work areas.
2020 January Audi drivers in Virginia can be notified of work zones by C-V2X.
2020 July Polestar 2 is the first car in the world to feature an infotainment system powered by Android Automotive OS.
2020 October C-V2X Demonstration by 5GAA in Georgia.
2021 March Android Automotive powers infotainment for Volvo.
2021 May C-V2X from Qualcomm & Audi helps make school zones safer in Georgia.
2021 July NGA 911 and Roadside Telematics Corp. partner to enable enhanced situational awareness for first responders nationwide.
2021 August Qualcomm introduces C-V2X for Spoke platform for cyclists and VRUs.
2022 March 5GAA 5G V2X trials in Virginia in Jeep with Verizon + MEC.
2022 CarPlay is available in over 600 vehicle models. Android Auto is available in over 500 models.
Nothing else? Please comment below with date, connected car innovation and source if available and we’ll add it to the story in the making.