Completing the IoT jigsaw with trust in connected cars
With so much discussion over the possibilities of connected technologies, it can become easy to get lost in the haze of what could be. The truth is, however, much of the Internet of Things is already in place. Granted, in some cases, the technology is still evolving or being fine-tuned but most of what we envisage our connected future to look like is here, ready for us to embrace. Whether that’s an alarm clock announcing the time, the weather forecast and your daily appointments, the coffee machine recognising your coffee preferences or your lift greeting you by your name.
In many ways, IoT services can feel like a jigsaw, but once pieced together, they create a connected smart city. This IoT jigsaw is almost complete but, when it comes to connected cars, there are just a few more things that we need to figure out.
For instance, industry must come together as a collective group and agree to work towards the three pillars that underpin the future of IoT vehicles: telematics, infotainment services and vehicle-to-everything [V2X] communication. Failure to do so could lead to further delays to the benefits of our connected future.
Telematics is available today in the form of GPS services like travel re-routing and real-time accident updates, as well as in hands-free phone calls and maintenance alerts.
To further develop Telematics and offer new services based on car and driver behaviour monitoring – for example Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) - it is crucial that car manufacturers ensure always-on connectivity in their vehicles. This means that selected connectivity components should withstand extreme conditions, such as extreme temperatures range, vibration or moisture that can be experienced on the road. This also means that connectivity should be reliable beyond borders and support low latency for critical data sent from the vehicle.
Let´s take for example, the case of a serious accident where a driver is unable to make a phone call. It is crucial that connectivity be not interrupted, so that the smart vehicle can automatically dial emergency services and ensure rapid assistance.
Delivering Infotainment Services
With the onset of new connected technologies such as streaming via mobile phones, car radios and built-in DVD players have become a vehicular staple of the past. Mobile streaming provides a seamless transition from consumer living rooms to the driver’s seat that is now expected of the modern driving experience. It’s therefore a commercial imperative for industry to come together and agree to work seamlessly towards connectivity protocols that can truly enhance infotainment services.
Over the last one hundred years, the automotive industry has experienced piecemeal innovation. Now that the market is beginning to evolve quickly, we cannot allow division and regulatory uncertainty to impede efforts to deliver on the promise of connected cars.
By 2025, every new car should be securely connected with V2X; it will generate and transmit the data that will speed up the development of autonomous vehicles and improve the driving experience. Today’s driver-assistance systems, such as parking sensors and automatic braking, will pale in comparison. Full V2X will allow vehicles to communicate with all elements of the traffic system, from other vehicles and pedestrians, to street and traffic lights, lane markers, and parking meters. And it will enable the sharing of information on speed, direction of travel, braking and turning, as well as road conditions, weather, and traffic.
Standards are the bedrock of best practice and trust, and in this case, they ensure that data emitted from around the city, including from other cars, can be relied upon. As technology evolves, so must the standards, lest they hinder interoperability and security. Until recently, industry and governments favoured the dedicated short-range communication standard (DSRC), an existing technology based on Wi-Fi, but now there’s a cellular technology called C-V2X using 5G that is pushing for standards to be revisited.
Trust must underpin everything
All these innovations that lead to development in the industry must be underpinned by trust. Trust, be it in the security in connecting the vehicle but also in securing data transmission, while ensuring user privacy.
Moreover, securing the driver and passenger for a safe autonomous driving experience, is the basis on which the future of mobility can be built. Whatever the communication protocol selected for future V2X, a security-by-design approach, which puts security at the heart of every new product and component of the connected car, is a tried and tested method to protect users’ safety and privacy.
In fact, one key security component is to give a unique ID to a vehicle, which is strongly linked to a registered driver that can be securely authenticated. Another key element is to implement encryption and digital signature for any data transmitted. These advanced encryption-based security mechanisms leverage Public Key Certificates and encryption keys, which should be securely embedded into the roots of each vehicle, in factory. These protect the transmission of data and ensure the integrity of messages communicated by authenticating the source, in order that the driver, the car, and the infrastructure can trust each other. Every step of the data flow is protected, from over-the-air software updates to transmission from vehicles.
With this, the IoT puzzle is almost completed. With smart connected services blossoming, the onus is on the transport industry to catch-up with other sectors. By implementing security by design for automotive telematics, infotainment services and V2X communication, there’s no reason why industry cannot work together to establish the digital, connected future we all hope for.
Guest article written by Christine Caviglioli, VP Automotive & Mobility Services, Thales.