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Securing the future of connected cars

Manoj Kumar Rai, Head of M2M Solutions, South Asia & Japan, Gemalto | Dec. 23, 2015
In this article, Manoj Kumar Rai, Head of M2M Solutions, South Asia & Japan, talks about the “3Cs” contributing to the boom of connected cars, growing security concerns, and best practices for overcoming security challenges.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

A new generation of connected cars is currently on a fast lane to popularity and availability. Boasting an array of onboard sensors and Internet connectivity, these automobiles are likely one of most disruptive innovations today, setting the stage for the impending arrival of fully autonomous vehicles. Thanks to the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, connected cars are also notably smarter and safer. This greatly enhances the overall in-car driving experiences - from infotainment to vehicle management.

According to a Business Insider report, Asia is poised to lead the connected car adoption. Home to the world's top automobile markets like China, Japan and India, consumers and businesses across the region are expected to purchase the most connected cars, accounting for more than 20 million units shipped in 2020 alone. The anticipated high demand has prompted most, if not all, global players in the automotive industry to develop their own smart offerings.

The 3Cs contributing to the surge in popularity

Superior connectivity, cost savings and convenience are often cited as the key advantages of connected cars.

With connected lifestyle becoming a given these days, many drivers are now demanding seamless 24/7 connectivity, both online and offline while on the go. This always-on connection can be used to provide real-time information, like traffic and weather updates, to an in-car navigation system for determining an optimum and safer route, potentially minimizing congestions and even fatal accidents on the roads.

By taking advantage of shorter routes and advanced IoT features, such as remote diagnostics function, drivers can enjoy a lower cost of ownership, through enhanced fuel efficiency and fewer breakdowns. Car makers, on the other hand, can easily fix software glitches and update critical services over the air (OTA), without recalling their vehicles, which is not only costly logistically, but also detrimental to the company image.

Businesses can leverage the wealth of data collected from connected cars to offer truly innovative services such as premium concierge and call center services, as well as automatic crash notification and emergency roadside assistance. In China, where the average age of car buyers is 33, the real battleground for this younger demographic is more on ensuring the best holistic experience, and less so about styling or horse power.

But first, automobile manufacturers need to address the potential hacking vulnerability, and growing security concern of these electronically wired and interconnected cars. 

Vulnerability and growing data security concern

Over the years, various car hacking incidents and studies have exposed the vulnerability of connected cars. For instance, a Jeep Cherokee SUV was remotely disabled on a highway in the US. This had Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, parent company of the Jeep, scrambling to patch the security lapse, and recalling 1.4 million vehicles. Intel even went one step further by outlining 15 of the most hackable car components, including the engine control unit and onboard diagnostic system.


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