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Today, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and in-car FM radio and MP3 audio are the prevalent forms of entertainment while driving. However, in-car video and gaming applications for passengers are poised to eclipse them in the coming years. According to IBC, by 2035, many new vehicle models are expected to include sophisticated media entertainment consoles, creating a huge market opportunity for video-based entertainment services in the car ecosystem. Moreover, with an enormous number of vehicles connected to the internet worldwide, wireless connectivity will allow passengers to consume a substantial amount of streaming data.
Figure 1: State-of-the-art entertainment for passengers is advancing rapidly (Source: Capgemini Engineering)
The connected car market will create an exciting opportunity for entertainment that includes video, audio streaming, and gaming through rear-seat entertainment displays (RSEDs). (See Figure 2.) The goal is to provide a better-than-home experience with different types of content. The amount of screen time passengers spend in drive mode watching movies, playing games, and using video telephony for calls is increasing dramatically. It is expected that the development of the connected car, and enhanced wireless connectivity (e.g., 4G, 5G, and Wi-Fi) for streaming media, will be the main factors influencing how much time passengers spend consuming content in the car network.
Figure 2: Media streaming and gaming for rear-seat entertainment devices (RSEDs) (Source: Capgemini Engineering)
Automakers are designing RSEDs that will provide significant advantages over BYOD devices, specifically better user interface and user experience (UI/UX). The typical built-in passenger display will be 10-to-12 inches wide with HD 4K resolution and digital 7.1 sound. Also, the vehicle wireless connection will be better than the average smartphone. Video entertainment services, including music, full-length HD movies, TV programs, and sports from Amazon Prime, Disney, Netflix, etc., will be provided over the top (OTT), which manages the enormous volume of data and cellular network traffic that will be generated.
The connected car will provide a variety of media content delivered from the vehicle’s e-cockpit – i.e., the central head unit for the car network and the entertainment hub – to the RSEDs, providing a unique experience for each passenger that is superior to BYOD devices. As for telephone communication, video conferencing, and home surveillance from the car network, the in-car RSED will provide a superior UI/UX. For example, the connected car will support video conferencing that turns the vehicle into a rolling office so passengers can be productive while traveling.
The e-cockpit embedded platform will use an Ethernet AVB bridge to provide entertainment services to RSEDs and BYODs via the in-car Wi-Fi/Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) network. (See Figure 3.) The e-cockpit will provide a decentralized, distributed environment to share content across multiple devices within the car network. For example, a multi-device user will have a superior experience by fetching content from a single, common mobile device via streaming applications or by screen sharing/mirroring from a smartphone.
Figure 3: Unified media streaming engine on the e-cockpit embedded platform (Source: Capgemini Engineering)
The adoption of the connected car is being fueled by end-user demand for better safety and security features and high-quality entertainment services. This trend is accelerating the development and rollout of connected cars by automakers worldwide. As a result, the connected car is expected to become a standard option for superior in-car entertainment, specifically the high quality of HD content and superior connectivity delivered by the e-cockpit. Indeed, in-vehicle infotainment will be a significant selling point in the premium sector of the car market.
Today, 4G provides decent bandwidth for streaming video content. However, 5G-ready cellular connectivity will likely be an option for new cars, based on evolving 3GPP R16/R17 standards that support short-wavelength radio signals and integrated radio antennas superior to smartphones. The vehicle will be a reliable 5G access point that provides more network bandwidth, ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC), and higher throughput. Also, 5G will provide increased reliability and an all-in-one experience for drivers and passengers. 5G will be a game-changer, giving the car access to very high bandwidth of 100 Mb/s that enables 4K UHD resolution, even when the vehicle is outside urban areas.
The combination of advanced software and the emerging e-cockpit embedded platform design with 5G will transform the car into an OEM-branded communications hub delivering superior entertainment, safety, and security services for the driver and passengers. The combination of AI and 5G will provide sophisticated services creating even more value for car buyers.
 Adrian Pennington, “Greenlight for incartainment,” Jan 20, 2020, IBC – https://www.ibc.org/trends/driving-content-into-vehicles/5363.article
For more detailed information, download the white paper “Video for passenger entertainment“
Vijay plays a strategic leadership role in building connected IoT solutions in many market segments, including consumer and industrial IoT. He has over 25 years of experience and has published 19 research papers, including IEEE award-winning articles. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Crescent Institute of Science and Technology, India.
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