Understanding Car Connectivity (Explained For Beginners)

Car connectivity is shaping the automotive industry.

From providing various navigation systems to enhancing and giving you remote access to several vehicle operations, car connectivity simplifies the work of many drivers and car owners.

This advancement is improving daily, and you need to familiarize yourself with it to know how to use and enhance it. Here, we shall expound more on car connectivity for you to understand this aspect of automotive better. Continue scrolling to learn more.

Car connectivity with dashboard
Car connectivity with dashboard

Purpose of Car Connectivity

Below are the purposes of car connectivity.

  • To give you a variety of entertainment services when you need them.
  • To get built-in and advanced navigation systems via third-party apps.
  • To acquire safety features minimizing accident occurrences.
  • To decrease your insurance premium.
  • To help keep track of your car during the times you are not driving.
  • To help you get remote access to many functions of your vehicle.

Car connectivity comprises navigation systems, internet/wi-fi hotspots, streaming, software updates, Interactive Voice Recognition, and Motion Recognition. We shall look at each of these components deeper.


Navigation Systems

A car navigation system is primarily a computer mapping device particularly designed to assist drivers in locating or finding a destination. You will find some navigation systems built into cars when you buy one, while you may purchase others separately and ask an expert to fix them for you.

Navigation systems are mostly mounted on the dashboard, so you can easily access them. They carry out a computerized road map with a satellite link on the GPS to show your vehicle’s location at that specific time.

Additionally, this advanced car technology usually has a built-in database of road maps which you can update by linking your car’s computer to the designer’s website. The device also gets signals from GPS and other backup systems when the nearby environment cuts off signs.

It gives you information about your vehicle location, travel routes and times, destination, local landmarks, and much more.

Here are the benefits of navigation systems.

Enhances Safety

Some navigation systems usually have built-in accelerometers to alert you when driving incorrectly, like harsh braking, cornering, lousy acceleration, and over-speeding. It helps to increase your safety and that of passengers as well.

Reduces Fuel Costs

GPS tracking helps drivers to know the duration their cars are being used, making them aware of the fuel they are incurring. It can also help alert the driver of any unauthorized use and make you know of the bad routes your drivers are using, making them use efficient ways and reducing fuel costs.

Minimizes Operational Costs

Navigation systems usually spearhead the digitalization of operations and simplify data collection, always ensuring that only the appropriate information is gathered and accessible to anyone that needs it. It, in turn, minimizes the operational costs of cars.

Improves Productivity

With GPS tracking in cars, you get to know how your drivers are working and any problems they cannot share, and from there, you come up with solutions. It, in turn, increases productivity.

Theft Recovery

Navigation systems installed in your car allow you to monitor your vehicle’s location and even send you alerts when it is being driven beyond its designated spot. In case it gets stolen, authorities can track it and recover it.

There are two types of navigation systems used in cars – Integrated and Standalone navigation systems. Let’s look at each of them.

Integrated Navigation Systems

These are built-in systems installed in your vehicle. You can get them via the car’s infotainment system. The components already contain maps they require for proper navigation. You will incur some costs to install them in your car, but they are worth the price.

The good thing with integrated navigation systems is that you won’t pay subscription fees. However, you will pay when the system requires an upgrade for its roads, maps, and routes. They come with privacy, meaning you get security with your system.

In addition, integrated navigation systems don’t need third-party services. They have everything they require to keep their operations running.

You do not need to source data collectors since these systems will complete all the jobs.

They draw power from the vehicle, meaning they rely on your fuel and battery to operate smoothly. The only downside of the integrated navigation systems is that they are difficult to update since they have an SD card with maps and various data.

When you want to update the routes and maps, you need to get a new SD card with new data or link the SD card with a computer SD and install the latest maps.

Always remember that an outdated navigation system lacks efficiency, and you will have difficulty finding roads and anything valuable. So, continually update this system when there is a need.

Standalone Navigation Systems

Standalone Navigation Systems are systems not built into cars. They come as portable navigation systems that you can fix on your android auto, dashboard, and apple car play. These navigation systems usually rely on cellular data to operate and download maps.

For a standalone system, you buy it separately and install it in your car. You will also be required to pay a subscription fee after a particular time elapses.

This navigation system type usually uses third-party services to enhance its operations. The third-party records and collects information for its numerous uses.

The system uses power, while your smartphone will use its batteries to stay connected to the navigation system. You will need a steady power supply while using this system because it needs to carry out downloads, show maps, upgrade, and perform other tasks.

Most standalone navigation systems are universal, and you can fix them in other cars. They are not limited to just one car.

The good thing with standalone navigation systems is that they are always connected to the internet, which keeps you up to date with downloads and maps. They have an operating system that makes the updating process very easy and fast.

Internet/wi-fi Hotspot

Most modern cars usually come with a wi-fi Hotspot to give drivers a reliable internet connection, enabling them to make hand-free calls, get live traffic updates, and have easy navigation. Moreover, car owners and drivers benefit from the internet by getting weather reports, access to emergency services, and satellite music.

Road trips have become exciting because of the built-in internet in cars. Cars with better internet installation have become easier to find, you only have to pay some fee for a certain period, and you enjoy the services.

Some cars with built-in wi-fi Hotspots include Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Dodge Dart, Chrysler 200, and Audi 3, among many others.

If your car does not have a built-in internet connection, you can install a router for a more reliable connection or any portable hotspot device.

To access your car’s internet, you can follow the following guidelines:

  • Download and install MyBuick, MyChevrolet, or MyGMC apps to help you set up and control your car’s built-in WI-FI Hotspot. Alternatively, you can set your vehicle’s internet using the vehicle’s touchscreen and press on the wi-fi settings.
  • Select your network name and set your password for security purposes.
  • Then access your wi-fi setting using your phone this round and pick a name for your internet. Finally, put in your password; As simple as that, you will stay connected to your internet.


Streaming using in-vehicle infotainment has become common nowadays. Modern vehicles are usually equipped with a screen for streaming as you are driving. Currently, we see more front-seat video consumption, and cars like the jeep grand WaGoneer Tesla Model 3 have state-of-the-art seat screen displays in their vehicles for Streaming.

With the help of 4G and 5G networks, vehicles can stream every kind of media at affordable data subscription.

The streaming part of a vehicle usually comes with audio recording, night vision, high-quality pictures, accident or motion sensors, and built-in GPS tracking. All this feature makes you have fun while driving.

Software Updates

Software updates enable unique vehicle systems to be downloaded and installed through a wireless connection. It is an excellent way to update your car with the currently available software.

Current vehicles usually come with this functionality. Software updates enhance vehicles’ performance, correct bugs, and incorporate new features into your car.

It also protects your systems against vulnerabilities which, if left, may enable hackers to access your car’s software and manipulate the entire vehicle’s system.

You will use a built-in internet or wi-fi when downloading and installing the software updates. To get software updates in your car, you must comply with the linked vehicle user terms specifically for connected vehicle operations.

Your car is disabled; hence you cannot drive it when carrying out software updates. From there, you will be required to download and install it. That is the only option. Also, ensure your car contains connectivity and do not park it in a covered place or underground garage. Then you will be required to accept the terms and conditions for your system to carry out vehicle software updates.

You will also receive updates from the car for you to check them. Then from there, you carry out the downloading part.

Software Download

Software download is done automatically and mainly occurs in the background. This part does not limit you. You can proceed to use your car while performing a software download. Sometimes the downloading may pause when you lose connectivity or turn off your vehicle.

Regarding the time it takes, it all depends on the wireless signal strength and the update size.

Software Installation

When you acquire a complete download, installing the update is next. You will have to turn your vehicle to PARK. If you do not have time to install it, you can select ‘remind me later’ or schedule the installation time.

The system will then require you to adjust your car to PARK and switch off the engine to facilitate the updates.

The center display must remain active as the update process is taking place. Also, remember to park your vehicle in a serene and safe environment during this procedure.

The software installation may take approximately 20 minutes or even less. If you are not driving, you get out of your car and engage in something else during the update to avoid boredom.

Remember to close your windows and doors when you leave your car during the software upgrade.

It’s okay for the center display to remain on as the update continues. You will get one or more system resets as the installation continues.

When the installation is over, you will receive a message of success. Your car software will now be updated, and you will be free to use your car again in whatever way you like.

Software updates are generally free. They are covered by warranty. So anytime your car requires one, download and install it.

Interactive Voice Recognition

Interactive Voice Recognition is a system that utilizes your sound voice to order various functions in the car. You won’t have to use your hands to perform specific tasks like playing songs and switching Bluetooth devices. You will speak, and action will happen.

Interactive voice recognition usually increases safety as you focus on driving with your two hands fixed on the steering wheel. It, in turn, minimizes accidents and destruction.

For you to get an action done, it all depends on your car. The voice-controlled features are usually placed into three groups; Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.

  • Basic voice mainly focused on the entertainment system and car media. You can use your voice to turn stations, skip tracks, adjust volume, and much more.
  • Intermediate systems enable you to make and receive any telephone calls available, regulate the air conditioning, and program the GPS.
  • The advanced system entails an internet connection that includes spoken web browsing and other utilization of apps.

Interactive voice recognition is easy to use, and it’s dependable. Ensure you are driving with a good internet connection to enjoy this system.

Moreover, the system is secured, and your privacy is guaranteed. Interactive voice recognition can be applied in apple car play, google android auto, manufacturer-specific setups, Nuance, and BMW.

Motion Recognition

Motion recognition is a system that can detect the movement or motion of a self-vehicle and transmit the motion information to the front and back of cars. It primarily assists the driver with the adjacent vehicle to be alert and quickly notice any dangers and risks.

This accurate system will utilize and determine any sudden dangerous scenarios coming from the self-vehicle and the nearby traffic factors. Motion recognition increases safety on the roads and enhances your driving experience.


Car connectivity is a game changer in today’s world. You have seen in this article how it enhances safety, improves your driving experience, makes certain operations seamless, and minimizes theft.

Every modern car comes with its connectivity. Always ask your manufacturer if you experience problems using any of these systems.

The information provided in this article will help you understand your car’s connectivity and the entire force behind it. Always use the car systems as required, following your driver’s manual for a smooth and safe drive.


Standalone vs integrated Car Navigation Systems; What is the Best Option?

Interactive Voice Recognition

Voice Recognition Systems Explained

In car Speech Recognition; The Past, Present, and Future

Vehicle Software Updates