Data and internet connections are becoming more and more necessary for modern cars, especially electric ones. Things like over-the-air updates and even streaming TV screens are not only possible, they’re becoming common. So brands like BMW are constantly looking to improve their wireless connections. BMW is now looking into satellite connections for all of its cars, despite the fact that such connections are sort of antiquated.
“We’re looking at satellite communication, especially in an environment where cellphone reception is not good,” said Stephan Durach, senior vice president of BMW Group’s connected company unit, according to Automotive News. “A lot of places in Europe and the U.S., you don’t have sufficient coverage.”
Satellite connections can be had basically anywhere in the world, regardless of the environment. Whereas reception to cell towers can be hindered by terrain or even just isolation. So having a satellite connection could really help get drivers out of a jam. Let’s say you’re driving remote mountains somewhere and the car breaks down or you have a crash. If your phone can’t get a connection, neither can your car, and you won’t be able to call for help. But you would be able to if the car had a backup satellite connection.
The downside of satellite connections is that they’re typically quite slow and can’t handle large amounts of data. So don’t expect to see any over-the-air updates via satellite. They’re also incredibly expensive, as satellite systems are costly to create and send into orbit. Elon Musk’s Starlink system uses an array of satellites to provide high-speed internet to remote parts of the world, however that’s on a much smaller scale and it wouldn’t be available to the masses. Costs of satellite tech are coming down but likely not to a point where automakers would rely on it in their cars anytime soon.
However, for certain emergency services, it’s absolutely a helpful tool. The ability to use a satellite connection to make an emergency call in a remote location could quite literally be a life saver.
[Source: Auto News]