13 February 2008
Bluetooth Technology ® has been used in vehicle applications for a number of years now and has helped to discourage drivers using cellular handsets whilst driving. As drivers this is reassuring, tests done by the Transport Research Laboratory have reported that using a mobile handset whilst driving is more dangerous than drink driving!
Changes in driving laws in California preventing cellular phone usage whilst driving and stricter laws in the UK, are just a few indications that the market for Bluetooth handsfree devices is set to increase. IMS Research has estimated the total worldwide Bluetooth handsfree market to be 123.7 million units in 2008.
Beyond handsfree calling, the USA has instigated a new initiative, whereby all new cars by law must be fitted with tyre pressure monitors. The monitors work by alerting drivers when their tyres drop below a certain pressure level and are aimed at preventing high speed blowouts. By using IR (Infrared), propriety wireless or potentially the new Ultra Low Powered Bluetooth, wireless tyre pressure monitors will prevent many fatal incidents.
Interestingly other wireless technologies, some with incomplete specifications, have been coined as changing the way we drive forever.
Potential applications include wirelessly streaming video to allow for rear view mirror cameras. At this stage this application is still in the prototype stages but would use WiFi or the anticipated High Speed Bluetooth version 3.0 to stream video. A camera would sit on the number plate and the side mirrors to stream videos to the rear view mirror wirelessly. Drivers would then have fewer blind points when driving as the cameras would cover all angles as opposed to conventional mirrors.
One of most talked about applications is the development of a system that will link moving cars together via a wireless network. The network will then provide data on traffic flows and accidents from car-to-car.
A new specification is being put together for the new system based on the 802.11p wireless networking protocol; this is being developed by the IEEE standard body. It has received approval for spectrum at 5.8GHz and 5.9GHz for the next three years to prove the technology.
In addition, a similar collision avoidance system is also being developed. This system uses GPS and wireless networking to constantly analysis the speed, position and trajectory of nearby cars and alerts drivers to impending collisions.
Despite theses new technologies being relatively simple and bearing tremendous benefits to drivers; the different standards are keeping costs high and hindering their future deployment in vehicle applications. However, IMS Research considers beyond the standardisation and cost issues there is a more serious issue, the issue of time. Is it safe to use wireless technologies in time critical applications? Will the evolution of combined wireless technologies and the development of compatible wireless standards overcome the interference and response times? For more information please refer to IMS Research’s forthcoming report ‘The Wireless Car’.
If you would like an interview with an expert in this area, please contact Alison Bogle, Marketing Manager, at
or +1 412-441-1888.