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AT&T puts its chips in connected car technology

AT&T?s most recent partnership involves tackling development of Vehicle-to-Anything and connected and automated vehicle technology in tandem with the American Center for Mobility, the country?s largest testing grounds for connected cars. The partnership comes on the heels of the announcement that AT&T and American Honda have come to a connected car agreement, which combined with news that Honda working on driverless technology with Google?s Waymo, makes the telecommunications giant an unlikely player during a sea change in the automobile industry. 

?We live in a connected world: in fact, by 2025?once 5G networking has come online and an estimated 75 billion to 500 billion connected devices have been released and actively used?we?ll be living in a world where we?ll never be disconnected,? said Michael Becker, managing partner at mCordis and The Connected Marketer Institute. ?In the future every brand, every retailer, every marketer must face the fact that they must learn how to be of service not to consumers or shoppers, but connected individuals, at scale, and eventually on the individual?s terms. 

?With this backdrop, there is no doubt in my mind that connectivity will be at the heart of the Honda, Waymo & AT&T triad.?

American Center for Mobility
AT&T is getting in early; the American Center for Mobility, a joint venture between numerous governing bodies in Michigan including the University of Michigan, is less than one year old. The space is meant to act as a testing ground for the interoperability of connected car and smart city solutions, helping to ensure they can "talk" to each other as well as their surroundings, monitored by a combination of industry, government, and academia. 

AT&T jumped on the opportunity to become one of those industry leaders, and its partnership with the American Center for Mobility will provide exclusive cellular network privileges until 2020, and the opportunity to work with the Center?s consortium on driverless technology. 

As the exclusive cellular network provider, AT&T will provide the Center with the network resources and Internet of Things infrastructure needed to advance driverless technologies.

AT&T and Honda
And speaking of driverless technology, it would be negligent not to mention the telecommunications company?s fresh?and quite similar?partnership with American Honda, which will bring 4G LTE connectivity to Honda vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. The AT&T 4G LTE network will connect HondaLink apps and services for vehicles, including navigation, streaming radio, diagnostics and remote lock/unlock.

Honda?s recent partnership with Google?s Waymo also puts the auto manufacturer in the thick of the driverless conversation, and it would not be surprising to find out if all three entities are moving towards a similar conception of the future of automobiles: a driverless, highly connected experience that leverages technologies that make the driving experience safer, while also opening up location and intra-automobile communication. 

?Autonomous driving is about as tech as you can get: it?s a perfect marriage, a confluence of technologies, technologies that have been evolving and converging for decades?and this is just the beginning,? Mr. Becker said. ?Autonomous driving includes a spectrum of tech: core-automotive, Internet, geo-location, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, individual insight and more. 

?But we must take great care to not just look at autonomous driving as a pure technology problem to solve; there are ethical issues to consider.? he said. ?For instance, who owns the personal data being generated and captured by the car and all that is around it? The auto manufacturer? The leaseholder? The owner? The individuals in the car? 

?Will we respect the digital sovereignty of individuals and afford them a legal, commercial and human right to their data, or are we entering an age of digital soylent green? As we enter into the age of the connected individual, we have an imperative to ask and answer these questions and many more.?