Connected Cars History & Timeline of Connected Cars News

We at AUTO Connected Car News are fortunate to see the history of connected cars in action. It all started with a desire to help save lives and evolved into making many valuable connections to drivers and car manufacturers.

Connected Cars History Connected Cars News

In the late 1990s, cars began to communicate wirelessly to other sources primarily for safety. Initially, cars were equipped with cellular connections for emergency notifications. Starting in the new millennium, connectivity increased for safety, convenience, remote features, and eventually connectivity to smartphones. In this decade beginning in 2010, increased connectivity has opened up opportunities for advanced safe driving features, parking/calling applications, autonomous driving, remote functionality, and vulnerabilities to hackers.

Early years, late 1990s

In the early years of IT connected car services, the features were primarily for crash notifications for emergency responders, vehicle locating and roadside assistance.

1996 The OnStar analog cellular system is announced. When the airbags deploy, they connect to the OnStar Advisor system that relays information to emergency responders.

1997 Mercedes-Benz introduced the first wireless keychain, called Key-less Go, for the 1998 W220 S-Class.

1997 BMW launches BMW Assist.

1998 General Motors improves OnStar service with factory-installed models that allow hands-free calling and voice recognition.

1999 Mercedes-Benz launches Tele Aid telematics with emergency response roadside assistance and locating stolen vehicles.


In this decade, services launched include diagnostics, advanced navigation, web communications, slowing down a stolen car, and smartphone apps with limited remote features.

2000 TeleAid on Mercedes-Benz S model featuring remote door opening.

2001 OnStar began providing real-time traffic information and remote door unlocking with 4G with nearly 8 million interactions.

2001 Remote Diagnostic Device for Cars launched by Continental.

2003 OnStar GM Goodwrench remote diagnostic service becomes available.

2003 Continental introduces step-by-step vehicle health and navigation devices through a digital network access device.

2005 Launch of OnStar Turn-by-turn Navigation.

2007 Continental introduced data-only telematics technologies, also known as “machine-to-machine information technologies”, the basis for most of the existing telecommunications units, which are now provided worldwide.

2007 BMW Assist launched in the US with four years of free service included with the purchase of the vehicle.

June 2007 – The launch of the first iPhone.

2007 (Autumn) Stolen Car slowdown services are available from OnStar.

2008 August Dodge Chrysler and Jeep Uconnect Web, powered by Autonet Mobile, offer persistent Internet access through 3G Wi-Fi portable hotspots, and the device must be installed by the dealer.

October 2008 – Launch of the first Android smartphone.

2009 August BMW claims to be the first automaker to integrate iPhone services into the car.

2009 November Mercedes-Benz launches the mbrace system that allows owners to communicate via iPhone and BlackBerry by remotely locking or unlocking the door and locating the vehicle.

2010 & After More Apps, Traps & Hackers

In the 2010s, there were more connections to cars through multiple devices. The development of electric-only cars spurs the need for remote applications. Some cars have software updates over the air. New services require more connections and more data. The first cars appear with V2I and V2X technology. The proliferation of remote applications and services allows for new forms of hacking. There are major news stories of different types of hacks on popular car models. The most frightening is the remote hack where hackers can control the car from outside the car out of sight.

The January 2010 OnStar Mobile App was unveiled at CES 2010. The app allows Chevy Volt owners to decide when to charge, but it also opens doors.

2010 December Nissan Leaf is launched with the CarWings app for iPhone that provides access to charging, driving range and climate control.

The Nissan LEAF apps were launched in August 2011 for BlackBerry and Android devices.

2011 OnStar Trials August FamilyLink locates family members and sends text and email alerts.

2012 Jan Mercedes-Benz adds mbrace Facebook, Yelp, web browser, geofence, alerts, and the ability to share location with friends.

2012 April New York Auto Show, Audi 7 shows for the first time with 3G web connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspots, and Google Earth navigation.

2012 Introduced June 1 of the Tesla Model S. Features 3G connectivity and the ability to update software over the air.

2013 November The Audi A3 presents the first vehicles with 4G LTE data connection in Europe.

4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot Available for June 2014 for most 2015 GM vehicles in the US

2014 July Kaspersky Lab and IAB publish the first annual study on connected cars. After analyzing BMW’s ConnectedDrive system, they found several places for possible attacks.

October 2014 Telsa S models are equipped with hardware that will enable autopilot features following a future software update.

January 2015 A vulnerability in BMW’s Connected Drive system allowed researchers from ADAC (Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil-Club) to mimic BMW servers and send remote unlocking instructions to vehicles. A security patch follows.

2015 Feb. The American TV show 60 Minutes shows a 2009 Impala hacked by DARPA. They are able to brake remotely and not allow the driver to brake through the outdated OnStar system.

2015, the world premiere of the Apple Watch in April, to control the functions of BMW i models.

2015 April 8/04/2015 The European Parliament announced in Strasbourg that in 2018 new cars and light vehicles will have to automatically alert rescue services when an accident occurs. The service is called eCall.

2015 Jul The Mercedes-Benz Remote Parking Pilot app allows the driver to control the parking from outside the vehicle via a smartphone via Bluetooth.

2015 July Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek remotely hack a Jeep Cherokee. Using a zero-day hack, hackers on a laptop 10 miles away sent commands to the pocket. They were able to control the brakes, radio, windshield wipers, air conditioning, and the accelerator, which sent Wired contributor, Andy Greenberg, down a hole.

2015 August Sami Kamkar creates a device that can remotely intercept BMW Remote, Merecedes Benz mbrace, uconnect and Viper applications on iPhone iOS.

2015 September Frankfurt, Merecedes-Benz unveils the new E-Class with the first production model with Car-to-X connectivity.

2015 October Telsa Motors launches an over-the-air software update with self-driving autopilot technology.

Telsa has released a January 2016 update with a call feature to control out-of-vehicle parking using an app or keychain.

2016 February – Researcher Troy Hunt uses a web browser to hack Nissan controls through the Nissan Connect application. The team was able to access the battery status, turn on the heated seats and activate the climate control.

March 2016, ADAC found 24 models at risk through keyless entry and smartphone apps. The researchers were able to unlock and operate the vehicles.

OnStar Proactive Alerts was launched in May 2016. Alerts the service driver when faults are detected in the starter motor, fuel pump and 12 volt battery.

Audi America in August 2016 announced its first V2I technology, called Traffic Sign Information, for select Audi Q7, A4 and A4 models in the fall.

2016 Android Auto connects to Android phones and starts Apple CarPlay connection to iPhone by car manufacturers in cars.

August 2016 – Miller and Valasek storm the Jeep Cherokee at Black Hat USA to control the acceleration, brakes, steering and electronic parking brake at highway speeds using a connected laptop computer.

2016 BMW Connected for iOS 3.0 adds Alexa, first mile navigation, vehicle service alerts, and the Apple Watch app. BMW Connected version 1.0 is available for Android.

2016 November Hyundai announced that it has released the Alexa skills mass release for its Blue Link apps.

2016 November Mobile Security Company, Promon, proves that due to the lack of security in the Tesla smartphone app, cybercriminals can control, track and locate a vehicle in real time, unlock the vehicle and drive it away. The hack was achieved by luring the owner with offers of a free meal to download an app with malicious code. Lars Lunde Birkeland later noted that the attack can be used against any remote Android app.

2017 Mobile World Congress and Giesecke & Devrient Showcase Solutions That Can Stop Security Threats Before They Happen (If they advertise a product, add the name of the product.)

May 2017 Volvo announced that it is working with Google to develop the next generation of Android-based in-vehicle communication and information solutions.

2018 Oct V2X DSRC Intelligent Crossing Honda Tried.

December 2018 Samsung, Qualcomm, VZW Demo 5G Data/Samsung & KOTSA agree to V2X test and first 5.8GHz C-V2X test.

2019 February The MWC2019 5G C-V2X is ready to hit the road for the NR-V22X acceleration.

2020 September Audi USA, American Tower, Qualcomm and VDOT C-V2X deploy to protect work areas..

January 2020 Audi drivers in Virginia can be warned of work zones by C-V2X.

The 2020 July Polestar 2 is the world’s first car to feature an infotainment system powered by Android Automotive OS.

2020 October C-V2X Demoed by 5GAA in Georgia.

2021 March Android Automotive brings information and entertainment to Volvo.

2021 May The C-V2X from Qualcomm & Audi helps make school districts safer in Georgia.

2021 Jul NGA 911 and Roadside Telematics Corp. Two partners to enable increased situational awareness of first responders nationwide.

2021 August Qualcomm C-V2X Introductions to Cycling Talk Platform and VRUs.

2022 March 5GAA trials the 5G V2X in Virginia in a Jeep with Verizon + MEC.

2022 CarPlay is available on over 600 car models. Android Auto is available in more than 500 models.

Is there anything else? Please comment below with the date, creation of the connected vehicle and the source if available and we will add it to the date in the manufacturing process.

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