Tomorrow's cars will probably all be connected cars. For drivers, this means better access to the media on your phone and in the cloud, but for automakers that means finding better and easier ways to add that connectivity to their vehicles. Enter Broadcom with its newly announced line of integrated wireless chips for automotive applications.
Broadcom's new BCM89335 5G WiFi and Bluetooth Smart Ready combo chip will allow automakers to easily integrate the latest generation 802.11ac wireless standards, which Broadcom markets as "5G Wi-Fi," as well as Bluetooth Low Energy wireless communication into their vehicles with one thumbnail-size chip. Also in the lineup is the BCM89071 Bluetooth Smart Ready chip for applications that don't require Wi-Fi.
These technologies will allow vehicles to communicate with smartphones, home networks, and more, which in turn gives the driver and passengers access to a variety of potentially cool features.
For example, a car parked in a garage could quickly sync media with a home 802.11ac Wi-Fi network that's in range. A driver with a smartphone could take advantage of that phone's Internet connection to provide data to the vehicle's navigation system via Bluetooth's 2.4GHz connection while simultaneously streaming video to a rear-seat entertainment system over the 5GHz Wi-Fi connection without the signals interfering with one another.
Broadcom also spoke to us about taking advantage of Bluetooth Low Energy tech to provide connectivity with wearable technologies. Perhaps those newfangled smartwatches that manufacturers are rushing to the network will one day be able to connect to your car to serve as a key or send biometric data to vehicle safety systems.
We've already started to see some of these wireless technologies making their way into cars that you can buy today, but with automotive product cycles being what they are, it will probably be a while before we start to see Broadcom's newly announced chips making their way into production cars.