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商业 - 汽车

车载互联网即将迎来4G时代

Doron Levin 2014年03月18日

奥迪新款A3轿车将率先提供4G LTE 高速宽带接入服务。它或许预示着一个全新的汽车时代即将来临。届时,车载互联网的网速或许将跟油耗一样,成为衡量一辆汽车性能的关键指标。

2015款奥迪A3轿车

    即将抵达美国经销商手中的2015款奥迪A3轿车将提供一个奥迪汽车(Audi)家族其他车型所不具备的选择键:4G LTE。事实上,目前在售的所有车辆都没有这个功能。

    奥迪A3是第一款提供车载4G LTE网络接入服务的车型,预示着一个全新汽车时代的来临。在这个时代中,驾驶员和乘客可以传输视频流,音频,还可以使用各种各样在3G网络下根本不可能运行的应用程序。这家公司称,其他奥迪车型可能会在大约一年后提供更高速度的互联网接入服务。

    通用汽车(General Motors Co. )已经宣布,它旗下的车型将在今年晚些时候开始提供宽带服务,预计其他公司也会陆续跟进。

    这项功能之所以首先在奥迪价格最低的车型推出(奥迪A3轿车的起价大约3万美元),原因在于,相较于更大、更昂贵的奥迪车型(比如A8轿车)的消费者,入门级车型的消费者更年轻,往往对先进的网络连接功能更感兴趣。

    再见,调频广播。你好,《纸牌屋》(House of Cards)。A3的导航系统将启动谷歌地球(Google Earth)和谷歌街景(Google Street View),从而允许驾驶者在车载显示屏上查看以图片形式(而不是纸质的地图)展现的目的地,建筑物和地标。

    采用导航模式搜索兴趣点时,配备4G网络连接的司机可以像在笔记本电脑或平板电脑上那样,使用谷歌的搜索功能。

    数字技术在人们家中,酒店、飞机航班以及星巴克(Starbucks)这样的零售场所变得越来越无处不在,而基于轿车的互联网接入代表着这种技术合乎逻辑的下一个发展趋势。与此同时,汽车宽带也可能进一步分散司机的注意力——许多司机已经在使用智能手机导航,发短信,打电话。汽车制造商已经做好了准备,迎接批评的声音,甚至是来自监管的阻力。

    奥迪公司项目经理菲利普•布拉别克说:“车载4G LTE让乘客有机会在行驶途中享受无缝的数据连接,在自己的各类设备上浏览更多的内容。所有的轿车服务自然也会快捷很多。”

    这项服务将为奥迪及其合作伙伴美国电话电报公司(AT&T)创造一个新的收入来源,它们已经同意共享源自轿车宽带带来的收入。为期6个月的试用期结束之后,AT&T将向A3车主提供两种流量套餐,一种是6个月6GB流量,收费99美元;另一种是30个月30GB流量,收费499美元。奥迪公司声称,每月的平均成本大约为16美元。

    布拉贝茨指出:“数字技术和创新的发展速度比汽车技术快多了。”因此,对于那些现在就迫不及待地想拥有最新信息娱乐功能的购车者来说,新车型通常4到5年的推出间歇期实在太长了。奥迪公司声称,新款A3是第一辆携带自包含模块的轿车,模块中包含了使用宽带和其他信息娱乐系统所需的硬件和软件。由于以前的汽车信息系统都是包含在轿车的电子网络作为一个整体进行设计的,因此,想要在重新设计整车之前更换信息系统,是不切实际的。

    布拉贝茨说,有了这个新模块,奥迪就能够根据自身意愿,在2016款A3轿车中推出全新的数字功能,同时无需对汽车系统做出重大改动。

    汽车业似乎即将迎来一个宽带和马力同步驱动的新时代。(财富中文网)

    译者:叶寒

    The 2015 A3 sedan soon arriving at U.S. dealerships will offer a key option not available in the other models in Audi's lineup -- or, in fact, any vehicle now on sale: 4G LTE.

    As the first vehicle with 4G LTE connectivity, the A3 portends an automotive era in which drivers and passengers will stream video, audio and use a wide variety of apps that weren't possible with 3G. Other Audi models may offer the higher-speed Internet in a year or so, the company says. General Motors Co. (GM) has announced that it will begin to offer broadband in its models later this year; others are expected to follow.

    The feature is being offered first on Audi's lowest-priced model, which starts in price at about $30,000, because younger and entry-level shoppers are expected to have more interest in advanced connectivity than shoppers for larger, more expensive Audi models, such as the A8 sedan.

    Good-bye, FM radio. Hello, House of Cards. The A3's navigation system will enable operation of Google Earth and Google Street View, allowing drivers to view destinations, buildings, and landmarks on the car's display as photographs rather than as representations on maps.

    When searching points of interest in navigation mode, drivers with 4G connectivity will be able to use Google's (GOOG) search function in the same manner as on a laptop or tablet.

    Car-based Internet represents the next logical step for a digital technology that has become increasingly ubiquitous in homes and hotels, on airline flights, and at retail establishments like Starbucks (SBUX). At the same time, broadband in cars could also pose an additional distraction to drivers who already are using smartphones to navigate, text, and conduct phone conversations. Carmakers are bracing for criticism and, possibly, regulatory pushback.

    Filip Brabec, Audi program manager, said "4G LTE in the car is an opportunity for the people who are coming along for the ride to have a seamless data connection and the ability to enjoy much more content on their devices. All the services in the car also naturally get a lot faster."

    The service will provide a new revenue source for Audi, as well as for its partner, AT&T (T), which have agreed to split revenue generated from car-based broadband. After a six-month trial period, AT&T will charge A3 owners $99 for 6 gigabytes of data over a six-month period or $499 for 30 gigabytes of data over a 30-month period. Audi says the cost averages to about $16 a month.

    Brabec noted that "digital technology and innovation is moving much faster than automotive." Thus, the usual four to five years between new vehicle introductions is too long to wait to introduce infotainment features that carbuyers want now. Audi said the new A3 sedan is the first with a self-contained module that holds the hardware and software needed for broadband and other infotainment systems. Previous systems were designed within an electronic network throughout the car and, therefore, were impractical to replace until the entire vehicle was redesigned.

    With the new module, Brabec said, Audi will gain the capability of introducing entirely new digital features -- if it wishes -- in a 2016 A3, without other major changes to the car.

    The automotive industry appears on the brink of being driven as much by bandwidth as by horsepower.

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