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Porsche to overhaul range with hi-tech connectivity

Live wire: ‘Connected cars’ has been a 21st century buzz phrase in the motor industry, and now it is coming to all Porsches.

All Porsche models to hook into the internet as ‘intelligent vehicles’ next year

25 Oct 2017


ALL Porsche models are set to become fully connected cars, permanently hooked up to the internet via their own SIM card for a wide range of services under the “intelligent vehicle” tag.

The transformation has been going on in stages, with items such as WiFi availability already in place in Porsches sold in Australia.

However, the pace was stepped up with the latest Panamera launched in Australia early this year and will continue with the new Cayenne large SUV that is set for a mid-2018 showroom debut.

Porsche AG electronics systems manager Dirk Assfalg confirmed at the Cayenne global media launch this week that, by next year, all Porsche models will get the facility as standard equipment, provided the relevant market distributor ticks the box.

Porsche Cars Australia (PCA) has confirmed it will do just that, although some of the features will depend on infrastructure availability from external suppliers that might not yet be available in this market (or parts of it).

However, the cars will be ready as such systems come on stream.

In Europe, the default internet connection will be via Vodafone, but PCA is still in negotiations with a potential supplier.

Mr Assfalg said Porsche owners could select their own carrier by adding a SIM in a slot provided in the glovebox. Either way, owners must pay the provider as they would with a mobile phone.

Marketed under the ‘Porsche Connect Plus’ banner, the service opens up handy features ranging from an in-car WiFi hotspot to smart-home connectivity that, for example, could alert the driver when a smoke alarm goes off back at the ranch.

The owner can set up the radio so that when the conventional station signal is out of range, the system seamlessly switches to the streamed internet service of that station, presuming it has one.

One of the services that might take some time to get up and running in Australia is real-time information on items such as fuel prices, carpark availability and restaurant reviews that pop up on the Cayenne’s big new 12.3-inch sat-nav screen to help drivers make informed decisions.

Porsche drivers can also benefit from Here Maps’ Risk Radar system that gathers information on dangers such as fog, slippery roads and accidents via “swarm data” – vehicles anonymously feeding information into a cloud-based collective service that then, using fancy algorithms, sends warnings to other cars approaching the danger zone.

Over time, as more cars contribute to this pool of road knowledge, the more effective it should be.

Big German car-makers Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW are all part-owners of Here Maps and already fostering this service.

In Cayenne, online voice recognition allows drivers to issue up to 100 commands, from “turn on the seat heaters” to “take me to Brisbane”.

This means sat-nav destinations can be entered without a specific address.

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