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Hyundai turns to Cisco for help in making cars ‘computers on wheels’

The increasing number of connectivity features in new cars means automakers and tech companies are working more closely together than ever before. A newly announced partnership between Hyundai and Cisco is the latest example of cross-industry collaboration.

The two companies will work together to accelerate the development of connected car tech, according to Hyundai. The partnership will initially focus on designing systems that can more easily transmit data within the vehicle. Hyundai says it will also make big investments in “cloud, big data analytics, and connected car security technologies.”

Exactly what specific technologies or features will come out of this partnership is unclear; the only confirmed plans so far center around a “testing environment” for connected car tech. The testing environment itself uses technology developed by an unnamed Korean startup.

The collaboration with Cisco is part of Hyundai’s “Connected Car Roadmap,” a plan to advance technology in four key areas: remote maintenance, autonomous driving, “smart traffic” technology that analyzes traffic patterns to increase efficiency, and connectivity “mobility hubs.” Hyundai believes the future car will be a “high-performing computer on wheels” that is closely connected to other cars and infrastructure.

Hyundai previously said that smart device and smart home connectivity will be the building blocks of this sprawling vision. The company already offers smartphone and smartwatch apps that allow owners to do things like lock and unlock doors and find their cars in parking lots. Certain other carmakers are offering similar features as well.

Large-scale collaborations between carmakers and tech companies are becoming more common. Toyota is expanding a five-year-old partnership with Microsoft, and Volvo is working with Ericsson to develop better hardware for streaming data in cars, something it thinks will be useful when self-driving cars begin to free up customers’ time. And of course there are rumors that Apple will partner with an existing automaker on its car project.

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