Author: Damian Tyler – Director of Business Development and Corporate Sales
As 5G becomes more widely available across the UK, and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, the connected car will soon be able to digitally connect and interact with its surroundings. This includes the potential of helping to detect other connected cars to improve safety and utilise connected networks to transform our vehicles into immersive entertainment spaces. As part of the IoT, connected cars can update mapping data, improve safety system performance, and implement updates to improve performance.2 The opportunities for the connected car seem endless and add fuel to the automotive industry’s focus on customer centric services. A Counterpoint Research study reveals that more than 286 million connected passenger cars will be added globally during the 2019-2025 period.3 Technological advancements are fundamentally changing the way that automotive brands think about the way they can engage with their customers. It also means that drivers’ attitudes will change when thinking about what their vehicle can provide for them.
Services can be divided into three broad categories:
- Infotainment (a combination of information and entertainment which is fed back to the driver, for example via a media player)
- Telematics (which allows the car to stay connected to the cloud)
- ‘Vehicle-to-Everything’ (or V2X, the communication between a vehicle and any other object that can be affected by the vehicle, enabling services such as automatic payment of tolls).4
A McKinsey study shows that 40% of respondents are willing to change car brands for better connectivity features.9 As the connected car continues to develop, the future looks set to enable vehicles to act more like personal assistants, allowing drivers to do more than just a call hands-free. Soon connectivity could enable drivers to acknowledge and react to vital signs through the connection of wearable technology, or through voice assistants such as Amazon Echo or Apple Alexa and understand commands such as ‘turn on the driver heated seat’. Google and Fiat are teaming up to take on connected cars. A variation on the popular 500 line of Fiats, the new Hey Google edition comes prepared for the rider who wants their journey to be fully connected and wired up.10
Chances are many drivers already have experienced some form of entertainment software in their cars. For example, CarPlay by Apple offers apps from iPhone that connect and function through the vehicle, including Spotify, Apple Maps and Siri. But as technology evolves, the immersive in-vehicle experience will continue to grow, as passengers shift from being drivers to riders, their connected-device time, including video-viewing, will increase. This new ‘passenger economy’ could be worth U$800 billion by 2035, according to Intel, and a staggering U$7 trillion by 2050.11
Rear View Entertainment (RVE) is set to upgrade using 5G connectivity, and the Tesla V10 already offers ‘Tesla Theater’ which engages with streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, as well as a variety of games to play. Other entertainment (known as Elastic Content) comes from software features by Tesla, like ‘Lucky’ which will allow drivers to go on a surprise adventure to a nearby attraction.12 Sol Rogers, CEO and founder of UK-based immersive content producer REWIND says, “Immersive technology offers a huge opportunity to turn the car into a new kind of stage.”13 Meaning we could see more connectivity based entertainment as software develops in connected cars.
Safety and Security
With connected cars becoming more advanced, the considerations about safety are of uppermost concern. The primary safety risk with connected cars is the possibility of them being controlled remotely. The most extreme risk would be crashing a car by taking over control of the steering, braking or acceleration. Other serious risks include control of the stereo volume, lights, horn, windscreen wipers, and other features.14 Other security issues include data protection and the risk of data on driving styles being hacked by unknown sources remotely, which could provide the opportunity for monitoring and control.15 Pre pandemic, there was an 82% share of cyber-attacks run remotely against automobiles,16 and this is set to increase as the popularity of connected cars grows.
Assurant offers a range of products and services to protect our customers’ safety when using connected devices. To read more on how we are tackling safety and security with Assurant’s Pocket Geek ID, read our blog ‘Cyber Security: A Post Covid Perspective’
Connected vehicles have four main cybersecurity risks for drivers:
- Privacy and security concerns – exposed/stolen data, malware infections, vehicle hacking
- Fraudulent transactions – takeover of service accounts connected to a vehicle
- Vehicle operational interfaces (safety-related) – brake, steering, engine functionality
- Vehicle operational interfaces (not safety-related) – radio, A/C, GPS, etc. 17
There are ways however to help minimise cyber threats these include:
- Apply software updates. However, be cautious of scams that mimic manufacturer software notices to avoid potential phishing sites and malware infections.
- Avoid modifying car software. Custom changes to a car’s software may create vulnerabilities in a car’s system that hackers can exploit.
- Be wary of connecting third-party services and devices to any internet-enabled vehicle. Remember that every connection is a data conversation. Make sure devices are up-to-date to avoid transferring harmful software to the vehicle.
- Contact the manufacturer immediately if issues are experienced related to the car’s software, or there is suspicion that the vehicle has been hacked.18