Being serious about the connected cars

Notes from the TU Automotive Europe (München 2017)

How to cope with a key challenge of our modern urban world: too much cars in a too small space? And how to face the dilemma of reducing the impact and number of vehicles in the city without diminishing the roles and revenues of the car makers?

The TU-Automotive Europe Conference, hold at Munich’s MOC Veranstaltungscenter between 6-7 November 2017 has emphasized the potential of connected cars for tackling these problems. With over 750 attendees the conference and exhibition represents one of the Europe’s biggest events in the fields of telematics, autonomous car, and mobility — a rich source of information about the lasts trends and an important arena for deal-making.

The all-pervasive vision in the conference talks and exhibition is of software-defined, increasingly autonomous, connected, and intelligent cars. The ultimate goal is that the car as a new user-friendly device becomes similar in the usage to smartphones or tablets, says Philippe de Oliveira, IDEMIA. As result of the intensive movement of a huge amount of data, „being serious about connectivity is crucial“ maintains Martin Rosell, managing director of WirelessCar. There is a growing awareness that the current socio-technical systems as well as users ‘expectations and behavior converge into digitalization: „we expect: excellence in delivery, cashless world, automotive of tomorrow, smart society for everyone, smart shopping experience, closing the distance, smart sustainable transportation etc.” The key challenge is however to extract the spatio-temporal information that fits the best the users‘ needs: “we are very good in collecting information but very poor in decision models and the using of data. We have to improve here to add value to our applications“, stresses Rosell.

A translation of perspective from the “mobility as a service” to the “car as a service” is needed, with enhanced business value expected in terms of loyalty, innovation, personalization and mobility sharing. The „Car as a Service“ concept goes hand in hand with a high commitment for the individual mobility and the awareness of the high diversification of mobility needs and behaviors in western societies.

Being serious about connected cars implies some decisive actions and even changes of perspective about the definition and roles of cars. A selection of some requirements from the conference talks is presented below:

  • Invest more in connectivity (Rosell, WirelessCar)
  • Deliver speed and scale of data movement by supporting open protocols (Crispin Clarke, Solace)
  • Understand and use the enhanced capabilities of a 5 G Network (Johannes Springer, Deutsche Telekom)
  • Open the ecosystem towards shared economy (Sebastian Lasek, Skoda) and mobility mix
  • Be open for flexible ownership models, serious consideration of the deprivatized car use (Sebastian Lasek, Skoda)
  • Simplify  the in-vehicle connectivity (Peter Wagner, Valens)
  • Manage the cybersecurity challenge, secure the software-defined vehicle (Stacy Janes-  Irdeto, Ralf Schedel – G+D Mobile Security )
  • Make use of machine learning and predictive analytics
  • Provide best „in-car“ user experience
  • Provide hyperpersonalized mobility services (customer profile Management + authentificated driver/passenger identity + trusted digital identity of the vehicles)- Ashley Stevenson, ForgeRock

An important section of the conference and exhibition has been dedicated to ADAS & autonomous driving. A fully autonomous vehicle should have the capacity to drive without human intervention from the beginning to the end of the trip. Various prognoses foresee their coming in society in approximately 20-30 years. Up to this point several intermediary stages have been so far defined. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advances a taxonomy starting from the complete control of all functions of the car by the human driver (level 0), automation of one function (Level 1), automation of several functions plus compulsory attentive driver (level 2), enough automation enabling drivers to safely engage in other activities (level 3), and level 4 (self-driving cars without human driver). The nomenclature widely accepted in Germany  slightly differs from the US standard, including five levels: driver only, assisted forms, partial automation (the system takes over lateral or longitudinal control in certain situations), high automation (no need for continuous monitoring of the system by the human) and full automation (full takeover of lateral and longitudinal control by the system) (Schreurs & Steuwer, 2015)

TU Automotive Europe 2017 has strongly focused on the disruptive potential of autonomous driving, for instance for the auto insurance space. This requires research and development on the needs of insurers to access data about the technical dotation of the vehicles as well a common standard about ethics and morality of automated driving, resulting from debates among involved players. The regulation of autonomy is another important issue. As David Wong von SMMT stresses, a regulatory reform for AV technologies is needed. The highway code should be amended for instance in what concerns the use of driver assistance and distraction for motorway assist and RCP and the driving with both hands on the wheel for RCP.

As emphasized by Benedikt van dem Boom (FIA), the acceptance of autonomous driving in general features an “evaluation trilemma” defined by the expectations about the Internet of Things (new and intangible), the Autonomous Driving (recent and dynamic) and the users, stakeholder and society (multi-faceted and constrained). Hypotheses about the impact of IoT on the acceptance of autonomous driving have been formulated (with both positive and negative consequences expected). The results of the acceptance study of the User Acceptance Evaluation of IoT-Driven Autonomous Driving (based on large scale pilots coordinated by ERTICO-ITS Europe in Tampere, Versailles, Livorno, North Brabant, Daejeon and Vigo) are expected in 2019.

The exhibition space has offered a diversified view on the latest developments in the relevant domains:

  • Automotive cybersecurity solutions (Guard Knox),
  • Usage-based insurance (Scope Technologies),
  • Embedded SIM Management solutions (G+D Mobile Security),
  • Platform solutions for vehicle -centric and passenger-centric connectivity (transatel)
  • Big data analytics, AI connected car platform (REMOTO)
  • Identity and access management (ForgeRock)
  • Navigation, digital instrument cluster and Over-The-AIR software solutions for the automotive industry (EnGIS)
  • 3D Data for simulation applications, mobile reality capture (3D Mapping, Leica Geosystems)
  • Sensors for real-time information of winter road conditions (Teconer)

Contacts with these companies have been initiated. If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact us (oana.mitrea@silicon-alps.at)

Reference:  Schreurs, M., & Steuwer, S. (2015) Autonomous Driving – Political, Legal, Social and Sustainability Dimensions. In M. Maurer, J. Gerdes, B. Lenz, & H. Winner (Eds.), Autonomes Fahren. Technische, rechtliche und gesellschaftliche Aspekte (pp. 151-174). Heidelberg: Springer Vieweg.