Whenever you ask yourself, Do we really need connected cars? there’s someone to tell you they improve security and ensure an excellent customer experience. But what if it’s all just a marketing scam to sell you a new car for a higher price? Do OEMs really need to implement all the latest and trendiest tech to win buyers?
Well, yes. Modern consumers — Millennials and Generation Z — can’t live without tech, from the top-notch computers in their hands to their automatic pet feeders at home. And if there’s a chance to make something better, more secure, and more convenient, they want it.
This concerns cars among other things: If there’s technology to make driving more comfortable, today’s customers are looking forward to experiencing it. And automakers are ready to provide it to them in the form of partially autonomous connected vehicles.
In this article, you’ll read about:
- Connected cars: Reality or a dream of the future?
- Technologies that empower connected cars:
- 5G & DSRC
- Big data and machine learning
- SaaS platforms
- Autonomous vehicle technologies in the new 2019 cars
The average American spends a significant portion of their day in a vehicle, and in today’s always-on, fast-moving world, anything that offers convenience and efficiency is a major plus.
Are connected cars reality or a dream of the future?
Remember when connected vehicle technology was just a hyped phrase? Today, it’s something OEMs are actively implementing. You’ll find some element of connected technology in practically any 2018 or 2019 car.
Sure, the level of connectivity varies across models and automakers, and it’s still a far cry from the futuristic dream of smart cities and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity. General Motors estimates that vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) connectivity will be able to show its full potential once at least 25% of cars on the road are connected.
Level of connected car adoption in 2025
Source: Bosch Presse — Connected Car Effect 2025
Self-driving car technology brings us closer to a driverless future thanks to seven revolutionary tech solutions that have been reshaping multiple industries, including automotive.
Technologies that empower connected cars
Automakers can’t compete in the modern landscape on their own; they need the help of top tech companies, startups, and software vendors. It’s no surprise that technologies in connected cars require a different kind of experience and different business models. Because of this, OEMs have to partner with Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies and harness their software expertise.
Everything starts with IoT
Modern cars can connect to multiple devices through the internet. This lets them receive data from:
- smart infrastructure devices like lane markers, beacons on traffic signals, and signs
- smart devices embedded in other cars, such as radar units and sensors
- smart home devices
- cloud platforms
Connected vehicles are software- and data-centric; they get new features, software updates, and patches by connecting to data platforms. IoT devices will allow millions of connected cars to receive valuable information via over-the-air software updates to improve safety on the roads.
The number of installed connectivity units in vehicles is likely to increase by 67% between 2018 and 2020.
5G & DSRC are the answers to connectivity issues
Since connected cars have to “talk” and “listen” to other objects and traffic participants in real time, communication technology is one of the top concerns. But what do we currently have? Wi-Fi and 4G LTE aren’t reliable or seamless enough to keep everyone safe on the road.
Luckily, we have DSRC, or Dedicated Short Range Communications — a protocol for high-speed wireless communication between vehicles and infrastructure. And, of course, we’re waiting for 5G, which will let cars receive information from their surroundings before the driver can know about it.
With 5G connectivity, the reaction time from when the car detects an obstacle to when it is communicated would be about 5 milliseconds.
So when will we get a chance to test the additional bandwidth and lower latency of 5G connectivity? Ford expects to start releasing V2X cars that will leverage 5G as soon as 2022.
Do you think AI is only about self-driving cars?
The installation of AI-based systems in the form of human machine interfaces (HMI) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) is predicted to increase 109% by the year 2025 from now. The features of AI-based systems include speech recognition, driver monitoring, virtual assistance, camera-based vision systems, and radar-based detection units. You’ve probably already experienced some AI-based systems in your Level 2 or Level 3 connected car.
The growth of the US ADAS market, 2014–2025
Source: Autonomous Vehicle Technology — ADAS Market
With the development of neural networks and deep learning, AI-based systems are expected to evolve full self-driving capabilities soon enough.
There would be no AI without big data and machine learning
Data is at the heart of connected car technology. It travels between vehicles, across networks, and to the cloud. And it’s expected to exceed 1 terabyte by 2022 from now for a single autonomous car. McKinsey estimates that the value of data from a connected car will soon outgrow the cost of the vehicle itself.
And to make use of all the valuable insights that big data provides, machine learning and deep learning algorithms are being applied to make a car’s AI systems fulfill descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive functions.
But the thing is, these technologies in connected cars make them generate heaps of personalized, highly valuable, and sensitive information about drivers. How secure is it?
The blockchain can help protect volumes of driving data
Automakers recognize the need to protect the information connected cars produce. This is one of the top reasons why OEMs spare no expense in experimenting with blockchains. Blockchain technology can help cars store and, what’s more critical, assure the accuracy of data. More than that, a blockchain is harder to hack than a traditional database.
With Blockchain proving to be the future of security, and with cars essentially becoming IoT devices – the fusing of both together seems only natural. It makes perfect sense for leading car manufacturers to be the first in line for this cutting-edge technology.
We’re not going anywhere without telematics
Sure, telematics is not a new thing. But the idea to connect it with IoT devices is what makes it valuable for V2V and especially V2X technologies. Telematics is a set of techniques and tools automakers use to turn ordinary driving into an engaging connected vehicle interaction. Telematics hardware serves as a central hub of vehicle data and is an essential element in sharing this data with everything.
The role of telematics in the connected car ecosystem
Source: Dataconomy — Connected Cars, Telematics, and Connectivity-as-a-Service
As car connectivity becomes more of a norm than an innovation, the automotive telematics market is predicted to reach $40.84 billion by 2022 (compared with $17.78 billion in 2016).
Cloud platforms: we’ll be driving tech, not just vehicles
Cars become more software-defined with every new model. That’s the reason why tech companies are entering the auto market. A cloud-based connection is essential for installing and updating vehicle features and capabilities over the air. We’ll soon be driving a complex set of cloud-connected IoT devices rather than a good old Toyota Corolla, so shared platforms and open-source technologies are a must for managing connected vehicle data.
What autonomous vehicle technologies can you hope to see in your 2019 car?
The answer is all of the ones we’ve mentioned. Navigation is becoming more advanced and intelligent. IoT devices embedded in your car can help you park thanks to rear cross-traffic alerts. They can warn you about lane departures, adapt to the speed of the vehicle ahead for cruise control, and even apply emergency braking and stop when necessary.
Having an advanced view of its surroundings, the Audi A8 can brace itself for an unavoidable crash: It stiffens seatbelts, prepares airbags for use, and rises 8 centimeters in half a second to expose the stiffest parts of the car to damage. The top-notch Mercedes-Benz infotainment system, MBUX, learns to suit the user, updates over the air, and responds to your questions. That’s how your car’s AI leverages IoT devices and data.
As for security, XAIN and Porsche are building a blockchain app to grant access, record traffic data, and remotely lock and unlock cars. And Volkswagen has partnered with IOTA to implement a distributed ledger system for secure and wireless data distribution between connected vehicles.
The final word
Technologies that empower connected cars are already being implemented — and being tested by customers. IoT, 5G and DSRC, artificial intelligence, the blockchain, telematics, and cloud platforms are the pillars that support the future of connected cars. And we want to be part of it.
As a partner to OEMs and Tier 1 companies for years, Intellias is at the vanguard of this tech innovation. We develop and implement technologies for connected cars, autonomous driving, and electric vehicles to aid in creating a more comfortable, ecological, and safe environment on the roads. If you’d like to get more details on our experience within the automotive industry, contact our experts at any time.