In automotive technology, the "connected car" is the buzzword of the decade. If it goes to the ideas of the technology avant-garde, vehicles today should be always online and more all vendors don't tire to advertise their connectivity. But which cars are really "connected," which manufacturers are the true technology leaders -- and which ones are lagging? A study from London-based Machina Research gives surprising answers.
The vendor with the most advanced connectivity concept is -- in this case unsurprisingly -- BMW. With its Connected Drive concept, the Bavarian carmaker offers the most complete connectivity approach, judges Machina Research. BMW is followed by GM -- the company's OnStar technology is described by the Machina Research experts as "something of a trailblazer." Third in the ranking is the first real surprise: Ford. Though many observers regard Ford's Sync system as somewhat outdated, Machina Research certifies that Ford's concept actually is rather advanced and complete -- thanks to its scale and increasing focus on developing an embedded offering. Audi, Chrysler, and Daimler, again not a big surprise, are ranking number four, five, and six for their all-round sophistication and comparative maturity.
But wait -- isn't there one player missing -- one we always believed to be extremely trendsetting? For its all-electric model range? Well, Tesla Motors ranked only 7th. The reason for this relatively weak ranking, however, is not poor performance or lack of concept, but, as Machina Research puts it, the low sales volumes. But the study recognises the high significance of connectivity to Tesla's overall strategy. The same holds true, by the way, for Daimler.
Toyota, Volkswagen, and Honda are ranking 8th to 10th -- in a certain way, they are the rearguard in this avant-garde group.
The study, sponsored by Vodafone, took into account the scale and sophistication of the connected car programs. The ranking looked at a combination of weighted criteria such as which in-car services are available, the openness of the system to developers, as well as the overarching purpose of the connectivity.
According to the study, the next two years will see automotive connectivity adoption rocket as car manufacturers move to including a mobile connection in an increasing number of new vehicles. As a result, drivers are set to benefit from services such as connected navigation, music streaming, and in-car WiFi. As a result, getting the connected car strategy right will be critical to future success.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.