How emerging tech solutions are driving Connected Car adoption

and changing the face of the automotive industry

Increase in user demand for enhanced comfort, safety and user friendliness is seen as a key factor expected to drive the growth of the global connected car market in the months to come. In addition, the emergence of various technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on market growth and automation.

Contents

Introduction

We’re on the cusp of an autonomous era, but self-driving cars are probably still some years away. Sure, you’ll see some autonomous driving road tests in the Bay area, but it’s far from the mainstream.

However, the good news is that innovation within the industry is accelerating, driven by (surprisingly) the COVID-19 pandemic and new emerging technologies.

While the novelle coronavirus decimated business and brought many industries to a standstill, it had the opposite effect on the growth prospects for the connected cars market. This is because of a significant increase in technology implementations in a post-pandemic world.

For example, the pandemic accelerated the deployment of innovative features like bio-based health monitoring, embedded connectivity, and non-touch-based haptics like gesture recognition in automobiles. We can attribute this to an urgent need for protection and risk aversion.

As the automakers evolve into technology companies, they will also increasingly depend on emerging technologies like 5G, high-performance computers (HPCs), advanced data analytics protocols, and more.

However, for this article, let’s take a look at the top four emerging technologies that drive connected car adoption.

Electrification

It’s time to go electric!

As the increased dependence (and consequent depletion of fossil fuel reserves) caused irreparable damage to the environment, there’s been an urgent push to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EV).

However, adoption was derailed in the past by poor battery life, high costs, limited bandwidth, and more. In response, most hybrid and electric automobiles now use two storage devices. One is known as a primary energy system (MES) with high storage capabilities, and the other is called a rechargeable energy storage system (RESS) with high power capability and reversibility.

In this case, MES enables extended driving while RESS allows more powerful acceleration and regenerative braking. To overcome the challenges related to varying output voltage with load or state of charge and the high voltage of the DC-link, we now use DC/DC converters to interface the elements by increasing or reducing voltage levels.

Digital cockpit

Even more than electrification, automotive digital cockpits will drive significant growth within the sector. A major factor that could be the tipping point to extensive adoption is emerging technologies inside the cockpit.

These include:

  • Adapted telematics
  • Highly immersive infotainment systems
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Intelligent navigation
  • Smart safety and pollution sensors

 

Connected car engineering teams will also empower drivers with tools like SAFETY controllers, CAN wrappers, intelligent diagnostics, complex device drivers, and power management.

Advancements in Telematics

Telematics is essentially a fusion of telecommunications and informatics. Often found in commercial fleet vehicles, these systems operate like a “black box” that collects and transmits data on how the automobile was used, maintained, and serviced.

For fleet management companies, telematics helps improve coordination and gain a comprehensive view of the health and profitability of the whole fleet and, of course, their business. For example, automakers can include this data in macro data analytics exercises to optimize processes and drive more intelligent decisions.

While advancements in telematics can lead to extensive connected car adoption, it will only work if it’s highly secure. As such, more work needs to be done to develop the HW layer (HSM) and SW layer (AUTOSAR crypto stack), boost security public charging stations, and allow seamless, secure cloud support for optimized fleet management.

Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS)

Advanced driver assistance systems or ADAS describe a variety of safety-focused technologies developed to improve the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. The primary objective is to reduce the overall severity and the number of motor vehicle accidents.

For example, ADAS tools alert drivers to potential dangers and help them maintain control. With the help of AI-powered smart intervention, the driver can either minimize the severity of an unavoidable car crash or avoid hitting something altogether.

In other words, we can attribute the growing popularity of ADAS technologies to their ability to compensate for human errors, including inattentiveness and downright stupid mistakes. As this industry niche accelerates and evolves, you can expect connected cars (and their owners) to benefit from a wide range of safety and convenience-focused functions and features.

As the number of passive and active ASAS systems embedded in new cars and commercial vehicles increases, we can expect some to grow into mandatory requirements in the future. Some of these might include video and object data processing, high and low-speed communication interfaces, and real-time safety diagnostics.

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Challenges of Connected Car adoption

Despite rapid technology evolution, many automotive companies are still facing issues when it comes to the connected car adoption. Let’s take a look at some of the most critical ones.

 

1. Cybersecurity Protocols

Cybersecurity has been far from a priority in the industry. According to the Ponemon Institute, only about 10% of automakers have an established cybersecurity team in-house. This is concerning as automakers must adequately secure all software-based functions for connected cars to be safe on our roads.

While they are at it, connected car manufacturers must also establish robust privacy protocols to keep the user’s sensitive data safe. After all, all it takes is one security incident to annihilate your brand reputation.

 

2. Subscription Complexity and Costs

While connected car disruption is inevitable, it isn’t without its own unique challenges. As the data generated by connected systems continue to explode and grow, we need better processes to manage it.

This will impact who automobile manufacturers partner with, especially when it comes to communications service providers. This is because connected car infotainment systems will have different data and performance demands than assisted driving protocols. They must find a way to manage these two very different user types more efficiently and securely.

The best approach here is to always keep all costs related to connectivity and profile management predictable and low.

 

3. New and Robust Regulations

Ultimately, the large-scale adoption of connected cars will come down to regulatory guidelines. For example, governments and automobile manufacturers must collaborate to address key challenges like accidents, costs, and congestion.

It will also help if governments step in and mandate features like automatic braking, lane departure warnings, and sensors to alert drivers to mistakes. There also needs to be some borderless regulation to reduce data complexity and connectivity management. This is especially critical in regions like the European Union (EU), where drivers can seamlessly cross borders.

In summary

Connected car adoption will transform global wireless data networks and may even negate the need to own a car at all in the distant future. This is because it’ll radically change how public transportation works and change society as a whole. As such, connected car manufacturers need to work with flexible business models to remain agile and ready for the next disruption.

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