Unless you are an automotive industry expert, you might not have heard of automotive embedded telematics before. With the right resources at hand, embedded telematics is easier to understand than it might seem. This blog post explains what embedded telematics is, how it is used, and which car brands equip their vehicles with this technology.

Embedded telematics lets cars connect to the internet

Embedded telematics is a technology that allows so-called connected cars to connect to the internet. “Telematics” is a combination of telecommunications and informatics. It encompasses information transfer between telecommunication devices, computers, GPS satellite systems, and objects. Most of the time, the term “telematics” is used to specifically mean “embedded vehicle telematics,” which allows cars to communicate with other devices via an internet connection.

Just like a smartphone, a vehicle that is equipped with embedded telematics has a cellular modem built into it right from the factory. This embedded telematics modem allows the car to connect to the cellular network and communicate with other internet-connected devices such as mobile phones.

Car manufacturers and mobility companies use embedded telematics

By now, you might ask yourself: Why does this technology exist, and who uses it? The purpose of your car’s embedded cellular modem is to send vehicle telemetry—which is another word for the data your car generates—to your car manufacturer. Examples of vehicle telemetry are a car’s location, odometer reading, fuel tank level or EV battery level, tire pressure, and engine oil life.

If your car features embedded telematics, you can access your vehicle’s telemetry by downloading your car manufacturer’s connected services app. This mobile app is different from car brand to car brand, but most apps let you monitor your vehicle’s location, lock and unlock the doors, and do other things like preheating the battery.

In addition to your car manufacturer’s mobile app, many mobility companies—from car sharing to auto insurance and EV charging—let you make use of your car’s embedded telematics in a similar way. Mobility companies use platforms like Smartcar to let you connect your car to their app and enable functionalities like digital key sharing, pay-per-mile insurance policies, and automatic EV charging schedules.

Which car brands offer embedded telematics?

Most vehicle brands offer embedded telematics on the majority of their recent vehicle models (2015 and newer). Around 80% of new cars sold in the United States today feature embedded telematics. To find out whether your car is connected, download your car brand’s mobile app and head to connectyourcar.com for instructions on setting up your account. If your car brand is not included on connectyourcar.com, reach out to your car brand’s customer service and ask them whether your vehicle is eligible for a connected services account.