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Automakers to ‘Heavy Up’ Computer Infrastructure in ‘Connected Car’

Forrester Research points to “the transformation of vehicle and user data into usable and actionable information”

Automakers are preparing to increase the amount of computer circuitry in the car as consumers demand on-the-go connectivity.

The connected vehicle is becoming a unique computer environment, not only because it’s compact, but because it’s also moving, according to Forrester Research Principal Analyst Charles Golvin. He tells the Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD, as high-speed connections become a default vehicle feature, more advanced computing activities will start to occupy some (or all) of the 80 minutes that the average U.S. driver spends in the car each day.

For infotainment, “new vehicles with embedded connectivity will allow applications like Pandora to become fully integrated with the vehicle,” according to Golvin.

Your car will be able to communicate with infrastructure like traffic signals and toll plazas, he predicts; Golvin also points to technologies available today — such as rain-detecting wipers and lane departure sensors — that will someday lead to autonomous operation.

But the real nexus of the connected car experience is the transformation of vehicle and user data into usable and actionable information. “That’s why all manner of automotive outsiders, from infrastructure vendors to cloud specialists to analytics providers, are vying to position themselves as uniquely able to supply the mix of skills and tools needed to perform this alchemy,” he notes.

The changes come as radio is facing new challenges in the dash, and app providers as well as stations, try to determine how to make money in the new “digital dash.”

The full report, “The Connected Car, Prepare for The Next Computing Environment,” is available for purchase from Forrester.