Connected cars: we hear a lot about them, but how exactly do they work? To be connected, your car must be linked to a service or device. This can simply take the form of traffic information or pairing with your smartphone. Almost all new vehicles are equipped with at least one of these two options. However, their operation is different.
Connection to a service
In order to be able to benefit from traffic or weather information, new cars have a 4G card similar to the one found in a phone. They use it to be constantly connected to the internet, particularly to the manufacturer’s online services. Usually, its operating cost is included for several years when the car is purchased. Afterwards, if you like the services, you'll have to pay for a subscription. Otherwise you will stay disconnected.
Connecting to a smartphone
For a long time, it's been possible to make hands-free calls using the car’s Bluetooth. But a few years ago, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto appeared. These two systems make it possible to replicate a display similar to that of your smartphone on the central screen of the vehicle. Unlike the previously mentioned connection, it's your phone that does everything. It uses its own 4G, GPS antenna, etc. So your car is only “connected” when it is connected to your smartphone.
It’s your choice
Each system has its pros and cons. By using the vehicle’s internal 4G card, the vehicle is constantly connected. But it doesn't necessarily have some popular features like Waze. However, manufacturers link this connection to a selection of apps and services tailored to the car, such as music streaming, real-time traffic, appointment bookings or “over the air” updates, i.e. wireless connection while the car is parked. In the near future, connected cars will be able to send each other information to warn of hazards or traffic disturbance. With your smartphone, you get popular apps like Waze, Google Maps, Deezer, Spotify or RadioPlayer without the need to purchase these options. However, you become dependent on your phone for GPS or music. And you’re also bound by the ergonomics of Apple CarPlay and Android.