Automotive > Infotainment & Telematics Blog

Moj.io Answers Auto Industry 3G SOS

by Roger Lanctot | 3月 10, 2022

The 3G shutoff dates for wireless carriers in the U.S. are rapidly approaching with ominous implications for the nascent connected car industry:

 

  • Verizon shut off its 3G networks on December 31, 2021
  • AT&T will shutdown its 3G network on February 22
  • Sprint will shutdown its 3G CDMA network on March 31
  • Sprint will shutdown its LTE network June 30
  • T-Mobile will shutdown its 3G UMTS network July 1

 

As a result of these moves several million connected cars will lose access to relatively low bandwidth wireless services such as remote start, remote diagnostics, and stolen vehicle tracking. The loss of some of these functions may cause consumers heart ache and heart burn, but the truly heartbreaking loss will be the deletion of automatic crash notification functions.

Pioneered by General Motors with OnStar more than 25 years ago, automatic crash notification became something of an afterthought in the U.S. and elsewhere with the onset of smartphones. European regulators opted to make automatic emergency calling from a crash scene a required feature with the eCall mandate, implemented in 2018.

Despite the absence of a mandate in the U.S., many, though not all, auto makers adopted automatic crash notification as part of their connected car service portfolios. Few, though, featured the function in their advertising campaigns. As a result, consumers paid little attention. Even Tesla, the great connected car innovator, does not offer automatic crash notification in the U.S.

Nevertheless, millions of cars have been manufactured, bought, and sold in the U.S. with an SOS button built into the headliner reflecting the decision by the maker to include both a customer initiated emergency notification and an automatic emergency call function.  Since auto makers tend to choose the least expensive hardware they can find, many car companies continued to build cars with less expensive 3G connectivity up until very recently.

Very soon, those millions of 3G-equipped cars either have already or will soon lose their SOS functionality. Some may have already lost the function because they failed to pay for the subscription associated with the service. The bottom line, though, is that the shutdown of these wireless networks will delete key functions, in relatively new and some older cars, that consumers suddenly care about dearly - as evidenced by automotive forum posts and in television news telecasts: WSOC-TV - https://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/some-vehicles-lose-safety-features-due-5g-upgrades-what-you-need-know/QNF2NIM5NZCAXI7U4WGZDWAZAE/

Auto makers are reacting in a variety of ways. Some brands are offering full retrofits – replacing the 3G modules with 4G/LTE hardware – a very expensive proposition. Other car brands, notably BMW and Stellantis, have opted to do nothing beyond notifying customers that their connectivity is going away.

Software as a service provider Mojio is collaborating with car makers, including Audi of America and Volkswagen of America, to offer an aftermarket device capable of restoring wireless connectivity to impacted vehicles while adding back the automatic SOS function. According to Mojio its Motion by Mojio OBD-II plug-in device:

 

  • Gives OEMs a turnkey solution to rapidly deploy 4G connected car services to customers impacted by the 3G sunset
  • Allows OEMs to purchase prepaid vouchers and provide them to impacted customers who can redeem them for Mojio’s 4G LTE connected car service, Motion by Mojio
  • Includes new e911 emergency services and is also available for direct purchase by consumers

 

Mojio’s 4G Upgrade Program gives OEMs the ability to purchase vouchers to be exchanged for an 18-month subscription to Motion by Mojio, which includes a plug-and-play 4G LTE telematics device, new automatic crash notification and e911 emergency response service, plus access to a growing range of app-based features that enhance the driving experience. Vouchers can be purchased from Mojio at a one-time cost of $295 per vehicle and distributed digitally to customers impacted by the 3G shutdown.

Mojio says Volkswagen of America is offering the new voucher program for certain model year 2014-2016 Car-Net equipped vehicles and is providing certain eligible customers with Motion by Mojio free of charge. Mojio is also collaborating with Audi of America to provide affected customers with a dealer-installed connected vehicle service called Motion for Audi Connect, developed with Audi to address certain telematics-based services impacted by the 3G sunset.

Mojio says Motion by Mojio subscribers will also receive access to a growing range of app-based features, including live vehicle trip tracking; vehicle timeline with trip history, driving statistics and RoadScore; nearby fuel station finder with real-time pricing; vehicle diagnostics and safety recall information, Mojio’s latest AI-powered predictive maintenance alerts for battery failure and air filter replacement; and customizable notifications for a range of vehicle health, status and security alerts.

Perhaps most notable of all is Mojio’s expected integration of RoadMedic’s 9-1-1 SOS Data Services.  Mojio and RoadMedic signed a memorandum of understanding this week.

In the future, in the event of a crash, RoadMedic’s edge computing platform will integrate and transmit to public service access points and, by extension, first responders such data resources as:

 

  • 50-State DMV-verified vehicle ownership details
  • DMV-verified emergency contact information from over 25 participating State DMV agencies
  • Personal medical & emergency contact data
  • First-degree relative
  • First-notification-of-loss information
  • OEM vehicle extrication information
  • Preferred towing provider
  • Stolen vehicle identification

 

RoadMedic will be making a formal announcement of its new 9-1-1 SOS Data Services platform at the upcoming National Automobile Dealer Association convention in March. Partners on the RoadMedic platform include Intrado, RapidSOS, CDK, Reynolds&Reynolds, Commsys, Aiden, Carbyne, NGA, and MedicAlert Foundation.

In this way, something good, a vastly enhanced emergency response experience for car crashes will arrive via the automotive aftermarket in the midst of the unfortunate demise of 3G wireless networks. This will transform permanently the relationship between auto makers and wireless carriers while raising the profile of first responders and prioritizing their need for timely information at crash scenes.

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