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CES 2016: Auto industry faces challenges adopting connected car, autonomous driving technology

Colin Neagle | Jan. 6, 2016
Connected car and autonomous driving technology represent huge opportunities for the auto industry. They also come with huge challenges.

Carol Flannagan, interim director of the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, pointed to the mountain of data expected to come out of connected cars that will communicate not only with emergency responders, but also with other cars and infrastructure on a constant basis.

Flannagan said the best approach will be to encourage sharing data in the industry, specifically fostering a culture in which holding onto data does not give individual companies a competitive advantage. Flannagan explained that both private businesses and public infrastructure can benefit from analyzing this data. Automobile data will also be relevant and valuable in other industries. Flannagan used the example of linking car crash data with healthcare data to find correlations among victims in similar accidents. If companies in the industry withhold data from other organizations, they may not reap the full benefits of these technologies.

Of course, this open-data approach contrasts with how data is handled on the web, and is further complicated by the privacy and security implications of an auto industry that makes individual drivers' data widely available. Ingrassia pointed again to the role of the consumer when it comes to data, specifically how important it will be for consumers to know who can view and share their data.

Regarding connectivity, Ingrassia highlighted potential security issues if and when automobiles are connected to smart home products. If you loan your car to a friend, will they be able to remotely unlock your doors?

These are among the many problems the auto industry needs to solve before it can fully embrace these technologies. Regina Hopper, president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, stressed that these kinds of technologies have been available for a long time, but were only known among those inside the industry. If the challenges aren't addressed, it could stay that way.

 

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