OPTIS Webinar: Take the Lead on the HUD Revolution in Automotive

Involved in Augmented Reality development? Discover OPTIS virtual prototyping solution dedicated to the development of automotive Head-Up Displays.
Head Up Displays will certainly become fundamental in the coming years. Firstly because they are a major safety feature and above all, by inspiring driver’s confidence, they are essential to ease the adoption of Autonomous Driving.
As a new feature, HUDs, in particular Augmented Reality ones, require innovation in the design and optimization, with specific attention to Perceived Quality, as the image is permanently in the line of sight of the driver. Not to mention that you still have to face the traditional constraints of the automotive industry, from frequent design changes to cross-department collaboration.
OPTIS’ dedicated HUD Solution supports you during the virtual prototyping of your HUDs from entry to high-end models. From optical design, through analysis to dynamic visualization, discover how its unique simulation capabilities and ease of use support rapid HUD design iterations, automatic optimization and delivery according to your specifications and Perceived Quality targets.
Join our webinar and discover how to test and validate the HUD of your future vehicles with OPTIS Physics Based Simulation solution.

Webinar speakers:

Cedric BellangerCedric Bellanger

Product Marketing Manager
OPTIS

Ludovic ManillierLudovic Manillier

Business Development – Augmented Reality / HUD
OPTIS

Webinar time and date:

The webinar will be held 2 times on June 12th to give you the chance to join us when it suits you most.

June 12th, 2018 – 10 to 10:30 AM CEST

June 12th, 2018 – 5 to 5:30 PM CEST

Find out more about OPTIS' dedicated HUD solution:

Lite-On Technology Success Story: Lite-On accelerates the development process of HUD products with SPEOS.

OPTIS and EB combine their expertise in automotive solutions to provide a unique, commercial off-the-shelf solution that can be used by carmakers to develop and assess sensor fusion and augmented reality content.

In-Car Monitoring Technology for a New Level of Safety

Automakers are hastily working on new ways to monitor everything around the vehicle, but what about the driver sitting behind the wheel, or the passengers sitting in back? Thus far, car interiors haven’t received nearly as much attention.

That could change with the arrival of Tel Aviv-based Guardian Optical Technologies. The company is building sensing technology that will allow its potential users (such as OEMs) to take a closer look at what goes on inside the cabin. Its goal is to help manufacturers produce the first generation of automobiles that are “passenger-aware.”

“The data that our sensor can supply is very valuable to all sorts of applications inside the vehicle,” said Gil Dotan, co-founder and CEO of Guardian Optical Technologies.

While this technology could be applicable to other industries, Guardian chose to focus on automotive, which offers a number of possible use cases. For example, it can determine if a driver is drowsy, distracted or holding onto something, such as a smartphone. This information could be used to identify dangerous situations before it’s too late.

“And if you are an insurer, you would want to have this data so you can make sure that you optimize all your algorithms when it comes to charging for insurance,” said Dotan. “Both insurers and OEMs want to figure out what kind of behavior usually leads to accidents. Specifically if you’re an OEM you would want to optimize the safety systems inside the vehicle, whether they are proactive systems trying to avoid an accident.”

Could this lead to an autonomous driving mode that’s automatically turned on when drivers aren’t paying attention? It’s too early to say for sure, but it’s one possibility as manufacturers grapple with the rise in auto accidents.

“Saving lives is something we’re definitely interested in,” Dotan added.

Learning from the Road

Guardian’s technology has yet to be deployed, but early tests have revealed an interesting look at the way passengers behave when the vehicle hits a bump in the road. Dotan found that while objects jostle with the car’s movement, humans tend to come back to their original posture. This could be helpful in designing better, more supportive seats for tomorrow’s automobiles.

What about non-human passengers, such as pets? Dotan said it would be “very hard” to tell the difference between the various types of dogs, particularly those that differ in size. He believes that machine learning could help, along with the addition of 3D depth-mapping, which offers a greater level of in-car monitoring.

“Once we add the 3D aspect, you will find the outcomes to these algorithms are much more reliable and faster to provide an indication,” he said.

In December Guardian announced that it had raised $5.1 million in Series A funding from Maniv Mobility and Mirai Creation Fund. The company plans to use the funds to bring on more talent and to prepare its technology for production.

“We want to be in the assembly line,” said Dotan. “That’s our first go-to-market objective. Our sensor would also be very well suited for the aftermarket, but our first focus is OEMs.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

Has Smartphone Connectivity Missed the Mark?

Technology is expected to make our lives easier, but that isn’t always the case. If deployed too quickly, a new idea – even the best idea – can become a thorn in the user’s side.
This is particularly apparent when examining smartphone integration in today’s automobiles. It all sounds pretty great on paper: connect your phone (Android or iOS) to a properly equipped vehicle and enjoy the benefits of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Apps that were once exclusive to phones and tablets can now be used inside the car.
The problem is that their inclusion, while useful in some areas, is nowhere near the quality consumers have come to expect from modern-day devices.

Hands Off

The first thing you’ll notice when stepping into a modern vehicle is that the touch screens are absolutely horrendous. Poor color saturation can be forgiven and low resolutions can be ignored, but when touching the screen you’ll expect it to respond flawlessly, just like a smartphone. It doesn’t. In fact, there will likely be times when you will simply use the vehicle’s buttons (when possible) to avoid the clunky and unreliable touch screen.
It’s a good thing CarPlay and Android Auto offer voice recognition options; without them, some consumers may be too annoyed to use either solution.
The touch screen is only part of the problem, however. Both connectivity options are layered in menus, forcing consumers to jump through hoops to select the simplest of things. And while CarPlay comes pre-loaded onto all of Apple’s current phones, Google Pixel owners will have to download the Android Auto app separately.

Benefits Among the Chaos

Despite the imperfections, in-car connectivity may provide a significant benefit to society, even if the features don’t work very well.
“The nature of human beings is that they have to have their device and they have to be able to look at it,” said Dillon Blake, senior director of business at Runzheimer, a mobile workforce and software solutions provider. “It’s hard to find people who will put their phone down. They have to see their texts and emails.”
Blake said that CarPlay and Android Auto “take away the distraction of looking at the device, trying to type on the device, all those pieces.”
“The issue is, some of the technology is not there yet,” he added, noting the difference between generations of SYNC, a connectivity solution in Ford vehicles. “SYNC 3 is intuitive, absolutely nothing like SYNC itself. They’re two very different experiences.”
Blake would like to see additional solutions that help consumers keep their eyes on the road. He mentioned the concept to read texts that pop up in front of the driver’s view, along with those that are read aloud so the driver does not have to look at anything. These features could help improve road safety, but they may also widen the divide between vehicles, as not all features will be applied to all makes and models simultaneously.

Unavoidable Distractions?

Connectivity may prove to be beneficial to those who use it properly. But what about consumers who are just as distracted by the car’s bells and whistles as they are the smartphones in their hands?
Phil Moser, VP of Advanced Driver Training Services, said this poses another danger but emphasized the difficulty in determining how many accidents can be attributed to distracted driving.
“People will not readily admit, ‘Oh yeah, I was trying to program my radio,’ or, ‘I was playing with my GPS,’” said Moser. “If you reconstruct a crash and you realize a person could have stopped but they kept accelerating, then you know they were distracted.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

Report CES 2018: Automotive HMI Focus

This report covers the CES 2018. Focus of this report is on the automotive HMIs shown at the show. The information was collected by visiting the booths in the North Hall of the event location and booths in the other halls and location, that are automotive related. Besides analyzing the exhibits, discussions with booth personnel where held where possible und useful. This report reflects my personal and professional opinion on the technologies discussed. Please let me know your thoughts!

General Trends

The CES 2018 was located at Las Vegas, NV and opened the doors from January 8 to 12, 2018. It was, of course, the biggest ever. More than 4,000 exhibitors shared 26 million square feet exhibition space. 180,000 visitors, 58,000 from outside the USA, attended the show. This year’s show was the 50th. The massive attendance led to extended waiting times, the badge pickup was an exercise that took at least 30min. Restrooms, food stalls, and shuttle busses where occupied by long lines. The CES became too big to fail, but it also too big to be fun.

Automotive Trends

Until about 10 years ago the automotive part of the CES was out of the major focus. The North Hall, traditionally the location for automotive related booths, was occupied by aftermarket companies, selling massive amplifiers, speakers, and cables. Companies like Pioneer and Kenwood with a strong portfolio of aftermarket devices and OEM supply where present as well.
With the growing integration of electronics into vehicles and vehicles into networks, the character of the North Hall changed radically. Major OEMs like Mercedes, Hyundai, or Toyota and large suppliers like Continental, Delphi, or Denso displayed their technologies. In 2017 the suppliers had the most exciting and innovative booths, the OEMs kept a little lower profile. This year the major trends were:

Automotive innovations where also shown in Central Hall (Bosch, Sony) and in tents on the Central Plaza (Faurecia, NXP, Valeo, Here)
The aftermarket companies are back
The OEMs had more exciting innovations than the suppliers

Automotive HMI Trends

CASE: Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric

The CASE mantra as used by Mercedes, BMW calls it ACES, is supposed to reflect the major trends of the automotive industry. It stands for:

Connected: cars are connected with the internet, the cloud, the infrastructure, other cars and the users
Autonomous: vehicle automate more and more functionality. This basically happens since cars are developed and produced. Hardly anyone today knows how to fine tune an ignition or moves a windscreen wiper by hand. Automatic gearboxes, rain sensors, and automatic headlights are innovations of the past. The new step is the automation of the core driving activity. Lateral and longitudinal control of the vehicle is taken over by machines. This trend will influence the entire automotive industry, technology development, use cases, insurance policies, legislation and many more
Shared & Services: vehicle ownership will fade in the future. A few users will own their individual cars, but the majority will share vehicle and experience mobility as a service
Electric: the end of the combustion engine will come sooner or later. Burning fossil fuel for mobility has its limits. How soon we will reach these limits, first of all availability of fuel and CO2 emissions is unclear. But electric engines will play a prominent role in future vehicle concepts. Today’s electric vehicles do not reflect the full potential the alternative power train offers. We are where we were 120 years ago, when we removed horses from carriages and replaced them by engine. The overall vehicle design remained the same. Today we replace combustion engines by electric ones, but keep the vehicle concept as it is

One or more aspects of the CASE mantra was reflected on every automotive booth. From sensor companies like Valens to service providers like Elektro Bit, suppliers like Denso to OEMs like Mercedes this mantra steers thinking and acting in the automotive industry.

Displays Everywhere

Almost every showcase, seat box, and prototype car at the show included a high number of displays. Trend is a large display extended over the entire dash board, often combined with additional displays in the center stack or head up displays. The big open question remains: how do we use all this HMI real estate we create in cars? Is this a way to create real value for users? Or are we just packing all the technology into vehicle because it is available? Future will tell us. And beyond HMI///// will be a part of the answer.

Illuminated Surfaces

Illuminated surfaces where shown in a few concepts. First of all, this is a decorative element, creating atmospheres and environments for drivers. Ambient light is a trend in automotive interiors, illuminated surfaces are the next step.

These technologies shall be used as HMI components as well. They can transfer subtle information, small changes, reaching unconscious parts of our cognition and decision making. An additional way of information transfer will be activated. Blind spot warnings will be a core use case, extending the visual range of the driver.

Windows as Screens

Using window areas as screen will allow new ways of communication between car, driver and environment. From advertisements, delivery services to emergency warning use cases are possible. In the interior the use of windows to allow augmented reality, meaning the overlay of the real world with additional information or entertainment scenarios in high levels of autonomous driving are definitely use cases.

Personal Highlights

As every year Rinspeed showed a highly innovative, exciting concept. This year the SNAP was presented. The vehicle has two separate parts. The so-called skateboard is the lower part of the car. It contains the electric drive train and the driving related electronics. This part of the vehicle is supposed to be shared. The skateboards will drive around in streets autonomously, charge themselves when needed, and may be called by a smart phone app or a PC software.
The so-called PODs are the upper parts of the vehicles. They are personally owned, meaning, I have my pod, it is equipped with my favorite entertainment electronics, communication channels, my preferred leather seats, my artificial intelligence robot and so on. An HMI on demand was integrated. The interaction between user and vehicle is adapted to various use cases.
After a skateboard arriving at my premises the Pod is connected to the skateboard. The two build a complete, autonomous vehicle, carrying me to my destination. Arriving there the Pod is disconnected and used by another user to move his or her Pod.
This concept combines personal ownership of the components that I see and touch in a vehicle, with shared drive trains. The skateboards contain the components that out date quickly. Since they are shared and drive almost constantly, their life time will be limited to a few years. The Pods will have a lifetime of 10 or years, so the personalized part of the vehicles remains in the users’ ownership for much longer.
As all the concepts of Rinspeed: highly innovative. Completely out of the box. Exciting.

MBUX by Mercedes

The MBUX by Mercedes was explicitly not shown as a show case or a future concept, but as the HMI solution for the upcoming A-Class vehicle. The trend towards large display was reflected as well as a multi modal interaction. The concept includes the cluster instrument and an infotainment display attached. The impression of one large display is created. The HMI concept is fully integrated. Display content can be adapted and moved on the HMI real estate. Content and design of the cluster can be adapted to different use cases. The graphic design uses one common design language. The user may select his or her preferred version from a number of different design schemes.

Interactions are possible using steering wheel devices, a touch pad mounted between the front seats and a touch screen for the infotainment area. The steering wheel devices contain a few hard keys and two small touch devices on either side of the steering wheel. Voice interaction should be possible as well, but was not show cased, probably due to the background noise in the exhibition hall.
The concept picks up existing HMI trends and puts them into an innovative product. The fact, that this will be on roads is exciting on side but frightening on the other. Mercedes will have done many user studies and analysis, but I personally doubt, that the complexity of the interface will be fully understood by all users. The questions where and how can I control what will be permanently open while driving. Probably driver will select one way of interaction, ignoring the others to feel comfortable with the functionality.
But: a big step forward, showing the chances of HMI technologies smartly integrated.

Brain to Car Interface by Nissan

Nissan showcased a brain to car interface. The idea of controlling a technology by using brain waves exists since a few years. Up to now only a few laboratory prototypes have been developed. Technological hurdles like the measurements and interpretation of data, where too big to turn this HMI technology into reality. Nissan claims to pass these hurdles. They showed a seat box with a helmet measuring brain waves. These are used to predict driver intentions and support decision making.
Due to technical problems of the seat box it was not possible to see a demonstration. If it shall work the way promised, it may be disruptive in the HMI development, not only in vehicles!

The Byton: is that the Way into Future?

The Byton show car was discussed heavily before the show and the booth was occupied almost anytime with a large crowd. At first and from the out side this car seems to be just one more mid-size SUV with an electric drive train. The design is average, nicely done but far from exciting, outstanding, or unusual.
The interior is dominated by a huge screen covering the entire dashboard. This reflects the trends of this show, was presented by Rinspeed already in 2017, but here it is moved one step closer to reality. In contrast to this the poorly mounted screens for the rear seat entertainment indicate the front row focus of the car. Byton made one more step towards the integration of the consumer world into the vehicle. A certain focus is on the health status of the driver, connectivity to the smart home, and communication with external instances.
Open questions remain on the use of the large display in the vehicle. Is that really the way into future? What will it be used for? Plus, that we have seen many companies like Faraday Future, Mindset or Coda Automotive, that announced innovative vehicles, but failed to deliver. Let’s keep an eye on this!

Outlook

The CES is the number one show on electronics, communication, consumer devices, no doubt. The automotive part grows in importance, future trends beyond horsepower and torque become visible here. The world will be connected in the future, and the car will play a core role in this network. You will see me there in 2019. And I until then will learn to life with long waiting lines everywhere!

About Peter Rössger and beyond HMI/////:

HMI Guru. HMI Expert. HMI Punk. Speaker. Author. Visionary. Innovator. Inspirator. Creator. Peter Rössger is founder of beyond HMI/////. We focus on creating knowledge on HMIs, usability and user experience for the automotive industry, the Industrial Internet, mobile machinery, and software applications. We perform studies on usability and user experience. We use our knowledge to develop HMI concepts for our customers.
Until early 2015 Peter was Business Development Director at TES Electronic Solutions GmbH. During his 12 years with Harman Automotive he created HMI concepts for automotive OEMs like Mercedes, Porsche, Toyota, Hyundai, PSA, Ferrari, and Harley Davidson. For Daimler he worked 4 years in driver-vehicle interaction. Peter holds a doctorial degree in Human Factors Engineering from the Technical University of Berlin. He published various papers on usability, user experience, cross cultural HMIs, and autonomous driving. He lives at Böblingen near Stuttgart, Berlin, and at Port d’Andratx, Mallorca.

Car Infotainment: Beneficial or just distracting?

Distraction is one of the main threats in modern cars. According to a study by the University of Utah infotainment systems are particular dangerous in traffic. The researchers even brought into play the idea of prohibiting in-car infotainment.
Nowadays most modern cars have an infotainment system accessible via its cockpit. They provide features such as smartphone synchronization, navigation or music selection. And the industry is constantly thinking about how to improve them and make the controls more intuitive for the driver.
As long as we don’t have fully automated vehicles on the streets the driver will have to step in over and over again to manage infotainment applications.

Study on Car Infotainment Distraction

The University of Utah had already conducted research on driver distraction, but the recent results once more underline the assumption that infotainment increases the risk of accidents. For the latest project the researchers analyzed 30 different vehicle models built in 2017.
During the analysis test subjects were asked to use the infotainment system whilst driving one of the respective cars. The test persons should initiate a call, send a short message, tune the radio and enter a navigation destination. The drivers were allowed to use the whole spectrum of technologies from voice control to touch display. The organizers developed a scale to compare different distraction levels like weak (listen to music) or strong (do mental calculation).

Study Findings

The research team found out that all activities generally take too much time. Entering navigation data took the longest, both via voice or touch input. It took the test persons 40 seconds on average to finish the task. At a speed of 50 km/h this would mean 500+ meters with an inattentive driver in the cockpit. Second longest task was short text messaging with 30 seconds.
In conclusion there isn’t a safe infotainment system at all. Each one causes long distraction spans in traffic making infotainment a hazard for the driver that could be eliminated with the rise of autonomous vehicles. Read more about the study here.

About the author:

David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: http://www.autonomes-fahren.de

How Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will impact Automobiles

Autonomy is exciting, but it’s not the only futuristic technology that’s making waves in the auto industry. Augmented reality, which enhances real environments with graphical overlays, is expected to break new ground in vehicles deployed in the not too distant future.
“Augmented reality [could give] you information about the landmark or the street in front of you, info on where the parking spots are, or information about different restaurants in the area,” said Mark Boyadjis, principal analyst and manager for automotive user experience at IHS Markit. “It could be giving you information about the pedestrian in front of you and whether or not they’re going to cross the street. Those use cases are easily defined and could easily improve the driving experience”.
Many AR solutions, such as Google Glass and Microsoft’s HoloLens, were developed as headsets that could theoretically be used inside the vehicle. Navdy developed a car-specific head-up display that hinted at what might be possible when that technology is integrated directly into the windshield. “A lot of automakers are currently investigating and researching what’s going to happen in that space as it pertains to the use cases, supply chain, technical challenges and cost model,” Boyadjis added. “We think that augmented reality has a lot of opportunities in the automotive space.”
Lumus, a startup that develops optics for AR glasses, is currently working with a number of partners on the next generation of augmented reality. Marketing VP David Goldman could not comment on the specifics of what is being developed, but he provided a few insights regarding where the technology is headed.
“There’s two real ways that our partners are looking at this,” said Goldman. “One is to fix augmented reality content to the static real-world object. So I’m looking at the road ahead of me and I can see how fast I’m going, what direction I need to go and when I need to make a turn. Then there’s fixing the content to non-static items like pedestrians, other cars, adapting our position dynamically to real-world objects. That’s how companies we’re talking to are breaking it down.”
Thus far, the most intriguing AR features are those that could enhance the experience of driving. But they could prove to be equally valuable in autonomous vehicles as passengers look for more information – and, perhaps, more distractions – while commuting. Virtual reality, which masks the real world with virtual sounds and environments, may not be as useful inside the vehicle, at least not right away. However, Derek Kerton, founder and chairman of the Autotech Council in Silicon Valley, expects VR to help automakers build better vehicles.
“There’s a lot of things you could do with a simulator in terms of detecting user behavior, user interface and experimenting with HMI concepts that you could do in some kind of virtualized environment,” said Kerton. “That’s one aspect – strapping on goggles – and you can do eye tracking and see how a person uses a user interface. Instead of having a mockup of a fake console/dashboard, you could just completely do it inside of goggles. It’s not the real experience, but man it’s a lot cheaper.”
Kerton said this could be used to test consumer reaction times in traditional cars. For example, how fast do consumers react when a virtual deer jumps in front of the vehicle? VR could also be used in testing Level 3 and 4 autonomous vehicles to determine how quickly consumers can successfully transition between driving modes.
“[VR] is something you can use to see how people will react to machines without having to mock up a big system,” said Kerton.

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

Automotive Industry on the Hunt for Startups

Car manufacturers all over the globe are on the hunt for startups to drive the development of autonomous driving. Ford is also searching for partners and has declared Europe its hunting ground.

There are different ways to conquer the startups’ hearts

Initially companies or associations like the VDA (German Automotive Industry Association) organized Hackathons for young companies to demonstrate their skills. The participants were facing various tasks that they had to solve in a team.
Meanwhile the industry found new ways to attract innovative startups. Money is always helpful, but supporting the startups with developing new ideas is most appreciated. Several OEMs grabbed a big bag of money and scanned Silicon Valley for promising startup to cooperate with. Recently the industry also placed its focus on Israel where the startup scene is on a rise.
In February Ford spent over one billion dollars for the startup AI Argo. Ford also organizes Hackathons and is supporting startups in cooperation with the University of Michigan. The next project is called Ford Connected Vehicle and Services Team-Tour which took off in September. Ford invites startups based in large European cities working on new types of mobility – particularly those that can provide features for the infotainment system SYNC 3. The tour stops at Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris, Stockholm, Wien and also Tel Aviv in Israel. Companies can apply for the tour on https://makeitdriveable.com

A new strategy for Ford?

Ford seems to have a more urgent need for innovations and new sales opportunities for technology than others. New CEO Jim Hackett stated that the company is looking for new chances on the autonomous driving market, but won’t necessarily enter the robot taxi market. Many OEMs are planning to enter the market, besides there is a good amount of startups working on that topic. Studies confirm that the robot taxi market will be highly competitive hence it’s no great surprise that some companies like Ford are hesitant to enter the race.

About the author:

David Fluhr is journalist and owner of the digital magazine “Autonomes Fahren & Co”. He is reporting regularly about trends and technologies in the fields Autonomous Driving, HMI, Telematics and Robotics. Link to his site: http://www.autonomes-fahren.de

Infographic: Where next for car technology?

Here’s the thing about cars: they’re becoming smarter. A lot smarter. Some might say so smart that they essentially have a mind of their own, which autonomous cars do, really. But what about other technological features that we can soon expect to see in many motorists’ vehicles?
This infographic from Southside Motor Factors outlines 10 of the coolest motoring tech innovations, including the much-feted autopilot system. Tesla has a system which, while not giving the vehicle full autonomy, enables it to change lanes automatically, parallel park and warn drivers of probable side collisions.
Another step towards driverless cars is that of rotating seats which would allow all occupants of a vehicle to face each other. This would only come to pass once cars become completely autonomous, but it’s a feature that drivers would certainly appreciate, especially on long journeys.
Check out the infographic below to see plenty more cutting edge technological features set to take the motoring world by storm.

About the author:

Neil Tohill is the Director of Southside Motor Factors (http://www.smf.ie), an Irish car accessories shop. He frequently writes content about motoring issues and is especially interested in motoring technology.

Are Cars vulnerable to Smartphone Hacks?

Security is a hot topic at automotive conferences all over the world. Self-driving cars are the primary concern – if a hacker could break into and command one of those, the results would be catastrophic.
Automakers are searching for ways to prevent the worst from happening, and many IT security companies (including some specifically targeting the auto industry) are eager to assist. That’s great, but what happens if hackers choose to target the phone connected to the vehicle instead? Could smartphone connectivity offer a backdoor entrance for cyberattacks?
“The hacking that’s been done today has been relatively low-tech – completely organized, orchestrated and almost in a laboratory setting,” said Dan Murray, VP of research at the American Transport Research Institute. “The good news is, we don’t have autonomous vehicles out there today that represent anything beyond a level 3 at the best. It’s not something we’re going to be facing tomorrow.”
Murray said that if hackers were able to breach the CIA, hacking into a car or truck is “probably not rocket science.” “It can be done, certainly,” he said. “I don’t think the hacking technology is moving substantially faster than the security development behind it.”

Vulnerabilities are everywhere

Wallace Lau, team lead for automotive and transportation at Frost & Sullivan, said there are vulnerabilities from “pretty much every single part that connects to the car.”
“Even key locks,” said Lau. “The signal can be intercepted and people can hack it and open doors. From an autonomous car or truck perspective, you could hack in and take control away from the driver, which is a very scary thought.”
In addition to malicious attacks, hackers may also be interested in driver data. Lau believes this could lead to a new type of theft.
“It could be driver records in the trucking industry, [such as] freight routes,” Lau warned. “Once you learn people’s freight routes you can probably track them in specific situations and figure out their tendencies for their loads. It’s an upcoming topic that’s evolving every single day. We’ve seen, in some instances, carmakers and truck makers are telling people to try and hack into their systems [to test their security]. Some people have gotten in pretty easily.”

Security is a must

Sandeep Kar, global head of content transformation and global VP of mobility at Frost & Sullivan, said that automakers need to add “layers and layers of redundancy” to their security solutions.
“[New car] technologies are great but they need to be secured,” said Kar. “Otherwise you will not find much progress. I believe that is where a lot of these information technology companies, while typically not part of the ecosystem, they will become more and more important. They will be the partners for OEMs in securing trucks from cyberattacks and hacking and all these things.”
If a hack were to occur, it could severely damage the automaker’s brand name.
“If it’s a drunk driving case, people blame the drunk driver or the brand of alcohol,” said Kar. “When it’s a truck driven by itself, people will blame the brand of truck. That can cause irreparable damage to their brand. It’s in the best interest of the OEMs manufacturing these vehicles to partner with companies that can secure their systems from hackers and cyberattacks and from other forms of malicious intent. In doing so obviously there’s a cost involved, and that cost will eventually be baked into the cost of the vehicle and passed on to the consumer.”

About the author:

Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.

Webinar: The new Generation of Automotive Exterior Lighting – Excel in Pixel

The new generation of pixel beam marks a technological leap in automotive lighting to create significant safety bonus when driving at night. First by precisely adjusting to the corresponding traffic situations, it provides optimum lighting conditions at all times without dazzling other drivers. Besides high definition pixel technology turns lighting into an innovative Augmented Reality feature, displaying directly on the road useful information for both drivers and pedestrians.
However, fine tuning is required to ensure added comfort and safety. OPTIS set up a free webinar on how to master the new pixel lighting technology and provide stunning Augmented Reality features. Do not miss this unique occasion to experience virtual prototypes of pixel headlights in realistic conditions of environment, traffic and vehicle dynamics.
Do not miss this unique opportunity to learn more about OPTIS and how it enables companies to improve their developments in the field of lighting technologies and augmented reality – it’s free!

Webinar hosts:

Presenter
Cédric Bellanger
Marketing Communication
Host
Julien Muller
Solution Manager – Automotive Exterior Lighting