Here's why new car tech is four years out of date
Think you can upgrade your car's hardware? Not anytime soon.
Computerworld - As you pore over the technical features built into Ford's latest vehicles, one spec you'll notice in those that include a SYNC entertainment system is the 10GB hard drive for storing music.
No, they didn't drop a zero. That's a 10.
Ford isn't alone when it comes to offering skimpy hard drives. Most automobile companies are two to four years behind the consumer technology curve, according to industry experts.
So while you can buy a 1TB hard drive for your computer for less than $100, or get 16GB of flash storage on a basic iPhone for $200, don't expect that new car to match that kind of hardware anytime soon.
"The iPhone was introduced in 2007. The cars being sold in 2012 and 2013 were just being planned then," said Scott Fosgard, a spokesman for infotainment systems at General Motors.
Fosgard said the automobile industry has been shell-shocked by the speed with which technology has permeated its ranks.
In 2007, for example, infotainment systems ranked 25th on GM customers' wish lists. Today, infotainment is fourth on the list, according to Fosgard.
A long product cycle
While mobile technology evolves in a world of rapid product cycles, the auto industry has a longer product cycle curve -- much longer, as in five to seven years.
In part, that's because auto design and manufacturing involves meeting a lengthy set of specifications that, once tested for reliability, generally don't change during production.
With the exception of high-end cars, such as those from Mercedes-Benz and the electric Tesla, most car manufacturers don't even allow owners to upgrade their car's hardware as it ages. Some infotainment system upgrades now offered by major manufacturers require owners to bring their cars into the dealership.
"Imagine if you had to go to Best Buy to upgrade the software on your phone?" said Thilo Koslowski, an analyst at Gartner.
Last March, Ford began mailing out MyFord Touch upgrade packages with software updates to more than 300,000 customers. The packages included a USB flash drive with the updated software, a notification letter, detailed instructions for the 60-minute download, and an updated user guide.
"Navigation-equipped vehicle owners also received an updated SD card with all-new, updated map data. Drivers had the option to go to the dealer to have it installed if they wanted to, but they could also do the upgrade themselves at home," a Ford spokesperson wrote in an email to Computerworld.
While car companies say their manufacturing and test cycle places them about two years behind the consumer technology curve, Koslowski said it's really closer to four years.
"The industry is trying to figure out how to accelerate bringing technology into automobiles," Koslowski said.
- Market Overview: Digital Customer Experience Delivery Platforms Forrester states that businesses today struggle to understand and use the tools necessary to create and manage unified, multichannel digital customer experiences across...
- The Growing Demand for Rich Media This white paper discusses how IBM Customer Experience Suite Rich Media Edition can automate rich media workflows, from collaborating with creative agencies and...
- Three Best Practices to Help Enterprises Overcome BYOD Challenges The new Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) environment presents challenges for IT managers and business leaders. This paper discusses how IT managers can address those challenges,...
- Intelligent Imaging for Improved Banking Performance and Profitability A new generation of "Intelligent Imaging" solutions has emerged that is helping banks remove the burden of paper in legacy processes, like loan...
- NSS Labs & Cisco Present: Evaluating Leading Breach Detection Systems Today's constantly evolving advanced malware and APTs can evade point-in-time defenses to penetrate networks. Security professionals must evolve their strategy in lockstep to...
- Will the Real Endpoint Threat Detection and Response Please Stand Up? This webinar explores new technologies & process for protecting endpoints from advanced attackers as well as the innovations that are pushing the envelope... All Emerging Technologies White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!