Cisco Wants to Drive Your Car … Onto the Internet
Cisco is just the latest tech giant with designs the automotive world. Microsoft has long offered a version of its Windows operating system for overseeing all the services inside your car, Google has its self-driving cars. And apparently, Steve Jobs saw the automobile as the next great frontier for Apple. But Cisco is a little different. It doesn’t want to build an OS for your car — or automatically drive your car. It wants to network it.
The payoff would be a more connected car — one that can switch from 4G to wireless networks while simultaneously streaming a YouTube video to kids in the back without so much as a hiccup. It would be a car that could get firmware updates over the air, and it would also be a lighter vehicle — one that used wireless connections and lighter Ethernet cables. In fact, Antunes thinks that a Cisco “Connected Vehicle” could easily strip 70 to 80 pounds of cabling out of the car.
The Connected Vehicle idea has been kicking around Cisco for about three years now, first dreamed up as a skunkworks project led by Cisco Fellow Flavio Bonomi.
Today, Antunes manages a team of about 20 people, and they’re starting to make some headway. Working with wireless radio-maker Codha on a U.S. Department of Transportation test, they’ve developed anti-crash systems that can share data using the DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communications) car-to-car data-sharing protocol. And last year, at an auto show in Copenhagen, Cisco demonstrated a prototypical wireless Cisco Connected Car that could be used by police and firefighters.