bmw frickenstein.automotiveIT

Elmar Frickenstein heads BMW’s electronics research (Photo: BMW)

FRANKFURT -- A senior BMW executive said the era of the connected car will require a better functioning communication infrastructure and a standardization of automotive software.

Elmar Frickenstein, who heads the German premium car maker's electrical and electronics research, told the carIT conference here that an infrastructure with fast connections is needed to efficiently provide the data feeds needed in tomorrow's car.

"You need lots of data," Frickenstein said.

BMW introduced a new version of its 1 Series at the Frankfurt auto show (IAA) this month. One of the innovations in the new model is the availability of real-time traffic information. This requires the cooperation of many different organizations, including mobile phone operators, regional authorities, automakers and others.

Frickenstein said the new LTE mobile phone standard, which is being rolled out at the moment, "is likely to  become reality soon." LTE will help create what he called an "unbroken mobility chain" that will use the Cloud to seemlessly connect cars to homes, other cars and surrounding infrastructure.

The BMW executive illustrated some of the difficulties involved in implementing car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication systems. Merely synchronizing traffic lights in Berlin involves discussions with 23 local authorities, he said.

For connected-car programs to succeed, automakers need to agree on standards such as those developed by the AUTOSAR consortium, Frickenstein said. The worldwide development partnership of carmakers, suppliers and companies from the electronics, semiconductor and software industries strives to build a standardized software architecture for the auto industry. AUTOSAR stands for Automotive Open System Architecture.

BMW's vision, Frickenstein said, is that "the vehicle willbecome a mobile node in a network" that gets updates through a "clever cloud infrastructure."