There will be 367 million connected cars driving around by 2027, each one representing a potential revenue stream for telcos, according to a report.

This compares to 192 million connected cars on the road today, according to forecasts published this week by Juniper Research. The increase is being fuelled primarily by the development of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and the growing uptake of in-vehicle infotainment in the private vehicle market, the research firm said. Commercial vehicles are lagging by comparison, and by 2027 are expected to account for only 20 percent of connected cars worldwide.

Key to all this is 5G, said Juniper Research, because it offers the high bandwidth and low latency needed to support all these new features. As such, it reckons enabling 5G connectivity in cars will be a $3.6 billion market by 2027.

“5G can allow automotive OEMs to upgrade the in-vehicle experience. In a vehicle market transitioning to electric vehicles, improving the user experience is key,” said research co-author Nick Maynard, in a statement on Monday. “Operators hold the critical role in enabling this in a reliable way, making them the partners of choice as their 5G networks rapidly expand.”

All telcos will tell you that they are developing solutions, agreeing partnerships and signing up to new industry associations that will enable high-performance automotive connectivity, but Vodafone is perhaps one of the more vocal ones, at least recently anyway.

In December it revealed it has deployed a hybrid 5G network for car maker Porsche at its tech development centre in Italy. It provides Porsche with a private network to test out connected car technology, and gives locals living nearby access to 5G. In September, Vodafone partnered with positioning specialist Topcon to develop precise positioning solutions that improve accuracy from within a few metres to within centimetres. Such advancements could prove vital to the adoption of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology, the telco said.

Meanwhile, Juniper’s stats slightly more conservative than stats published by Omdia in October. The analyst firm – a sister company of – predicts there will be 571 million connected cars on the road by 2025, up from 231 million in 2021. Omdia said at this scale, the sector is likely to attract media companies that want to own the in-car entertainment experience.

Indeed, cars today are as much about screens and apps as they are about getting from A to B. As such, they have become an increasingly-prominent presence at CES, and this year’s event, which took place last week, was no exception. This year, the likes of BMW, Honda and Volkswagen were among those to offer attendees a glimpse of what could one day be pulling up alongside them at the lights. Spoiler alert: people who struggle to settle on what colour car they want are going to be over the moon.

Qualcomm hopes that underneath that colour-changing bonnet will be found one of its Snapdragon Ride Flex processors. The chip giant launched the new product line at CES; it is designed to enable a whole host of connected car features, including ADAS, infotainment, and automated driving capabilities.

The proliferation of connectivity, screens, ambient lighting, colour-changing paint and all manner of notifications enabled by so-called ‘digital cockpits’ raises the question of distracted driving. According to the most recent statistics from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 324,652 people were injured in a ‘distraction-affected’ car accident in 2020. Furthermore, there were 2,880 fatal accidents involving distraction. With that in mind, rather than designing the biggest, flashiest, and most eye-catching products, perhaps the most successful players in the connected car market will actually be those whose products are almost able to go unnoticed.

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