NO MORE parking accidents. No more traffic jams. No more drowsy driving. Major companies are saying that when they commercialize connected cars, most concerns about driving will diminish, making the public’s life much more convenient. Why is this car under the technology of IoT (Internet of Things) receiving all the attention? How will it make our life easier?
How will connected car change our life?
Imagine you are commuting to work, when all of a sudden, a car accident causes a major traffic jam. In today’s world, you would have to wake up earlier to avoid being late. But according to companies touting the connected car, even an early morning traffic jam such as this would not merit an early wake-up call, since your car would find a detour route. They say the connected car is capable of even more; while you are working, the car will automatically find the nearest and cheapest gas station and charge itself. If there is a task you need to handle while you are on your way home, the connected car can help you deal with it by recognizing your voice and following your commands; it can even send and receive e-mails, phone calls, and text messages on your behalf.
This, they say, is the future when the connected car becomes commercialized. It will make our life much more convenient by automatically handling many of the tasks we formerly did ourselves.
What are connected cars?
To achieve all the above tasks, the connected car does exactly what its name suggests: it connects, not only to the internet, but also to any devices near the car itself. This web-like connection depends on various technologies which operate the connected car, such as IoT, In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) and OS.
Internet of Things, or IOT, is a technology which allows a censor, attached to the car, to give and take the data from the Internet. When the IoT technology becomes commercialized, the devices connected to Internet will be able to share information to each other without a human’s help. Bluetooth, Near Field Communication (NFC), Censor data, and Network will be the guiding technologies of the autonomous communication of the devices.
In-Vehicle Infotainment, or IVI, is a technology which offers a mixture of information and entertainment by referring to connected software or media pools to offer. IVI funnels media such as music, audio content, and driving information into the car while also providing various information interlinked with mobile devices. IVI is like an artificial secretary─it allows people to search information using their own voice instead of typing. It can also link with your calendar and set a destination based on your schedule. Currently, IVI can only link with smartphones to provide customers with infotainment, but a future connected car will connect to offices, houses and other places. In the future, manufacturers say the cars will be able to examine fuel levels to calculate the distance to the destination and show the nearest and cheapest gas station and even work as a credit card to make payments. The field of IVI has infinite ways to develop and stretch out.
A blossoming synergy
Autonomous Driving, a technology that allows a car to drive itself without the control of a driver, is regarded as a final step to perfect connected cars. The ultimate goal of connected cars is to liberate the drivers from the task of driving and to make the car a new working and living space. Accordingly, officials are planning to link connected cars and autonomous driving and make a ‘Hyper-connected & Intelligent car’. This is a combination of vehicle and information and communication technology which is supposed to change the car into a ‘High performance computer,’ freeing drivers and allowing them to work mid-commute.
In an interview with *The Yonsei Annals*, Lee Ji-seung (Senior Engineer, Commercial Overseas Service team, Hyundai Motor Group) said they expect this synergy to affect transportation. They said the logistic system, the system of moving, housing and supplying necessary equipment to people who are in need, will likely revolutionize with the connected car and autonomous driving by cutting gas and labor costs. Another interviewee, Lee Jung-sook (Director, Intro Car corp.) believes the car will also prevent car accidents caused by drunk driving, increase in time efficiency amongst drivers and improve the mobility of disabled people.
Car companies are jumping into action
The connected car market is rapidly growing. According to BI Intelligence, in 2020, 75% (about 79 million) of worldwide automobile production volume will be connected cars, with an overall 92 million cars expected. Transparency Market Research (TMR) expected the connected car market to increase by $1,320 billion volumes by 2019. Because of this, major companies around the world are trying to carve out this field. From OS to IoT, each company is devoting themselves to commercializing their own connected car.
In the OS and IVI field, the Android ‘Auto’ of Google and ‘Car Play’ of Apple are the frontrunners. Google and Apple are using their powerful Android and iOS platform as a stepping stone; by stretching this OS, they can make the product widely available by providing easy User Interface (UI). Now, they are only compatible in the car OS fields, but later, it will be developed well enough and finally will be able to compete with current mobile OS.
LG U plus, a mobile carrier in Korea, launched a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) about commercial business cooperation using connected car with Shinhan Card, GS Caltex, and OWIN, the connected car Commerce. They say they plan to give digital IDs to cars’ payment devices and link the IDs with smart phone application or the Infotainment system inside the car. This would operate many convenient automatic payment systems and Online to Offline (O2O) service. They also signed an MOU with Volkswagen to develop a ‘Crossover Platform,’ which connects cars, offices, houses and drivers at the same time.
Samsung Electronics, the biggest conglomerate in Korea, entered in this battle by taking over HARMAN Company, an audio specialist company and producer of Infotainment, Telematics and Over the Air (OTA) devices for connected car. HARMAN is now occupying 41% of market share in the field of connected car; by acquiring HARMAN, Samsung Electronics are stepping ahead in the field of connected car. They are also starting the Samsung Automotive Innovation Fund, funneling $ 300 million into the connected car field. They are planning to fund the SBU (Strategic Business Unit) which is charging the auto driving and ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance System).
As front running connected car companies advance their technologies, the answer to the question of who will pull ahead falls to their manufacturing partners. As automobile manufacturers attempt to keep pace with their clients, they face the staggering task of economizing the future production of connected cars, and while they have already begun incorporating smart technology into their automobiles for years, the jump to connected cars is unprecedented. The stress on the companies could be greater should manufacturers outside the traditional automobile realm, such as generic digital manufacturers, enter the competition. According to Lee Ji-seung, engineer in the Commercial Overseas Service team, Hyundai Motors are working towards making the implementation of these expensive technologies more feasible by commercializing the Advance Emergency Breaking System (AEBS) and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS).
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Still, connected cars are a long way from being commercialized. While the theology behind the car is polished, the everyday logistics of the automobile still need to be worked out. Most importantly, connected cars as they are designed now still pose a risk to public safety since they are vulnerable to hacking. In fact, in July 2015, *Jeep Cherokee*, the beginning of connected cars from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), was hacked. The two hackers exposed that they could control the brake, engine and wiper and said that they were able to track the location of car using the GPS. After this event, more and more hackers started to hack the network of connected cars and were able to manipulate the vehicles. The public was shocked when these hackers revealed the video of car accident due caused by their remote manipulation, but the event raised awareness about the cars’ vulnerabilities. Needless to say, the security of connected cars is not yet perfect, but when this problem is finally fixed, connected cars will finally be available on markets and to customers.