Elektrobit Webinar: Customer Feedback & Engagement Through the Connected Car

The benefits of the connected car are many and varied. For consumers, it offers enhanced opportunities for infotainment, communication, productivity, route guidance and convenience. For well-organised service providers, it can be a promising revenue stream and a major data source for customer satisfaction insights.

But how to collect customer insights in a way that is convenient for both you and your customers?

Elektrobit developed an automated service providing real-time feedback from spoken input by the driver. Watch the webinar session with EB Senior Software Engineer Ajay Rammohan and experience how the connected car can become a direct feedback channel between consumers and vehicle manufacturers – from customer input via speech to visualized feedback in your CRM.

Arilou Develops First-of-its-kind Technology for Automotive Ethernet

Dynamic technology makes it possible to securely control in-vehicle communication.
Arilou Information Security Technologies has developed a first-of-its-kind central management technology to enable dynamic and secure control of in-vehicle communication networks. The cyber security solutions supplier designed the Ethernet Security Hub – a cyber security tool – as a solution for connected and autonomous vehicles equipped with Ethernet networks.
Ethernet networks are increasingly being incorporated in vehicles to efficiently and reliably process the vast amount of data from complex new electronic systems, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and infotainment systems. Compared to CAN bus networks that have traditionally been used, Ethernets have a greater bandwidth to collect and transfer more data at a faster rate. They prevent security risks, and address critical safety vulnerabilities associated with integrating connected and automated systems into vehicles.
Security systems like Arilou’s Ethernet Security Hub allow for complete, real-time management of the interaction between a vehicle’s electronic systems. The technology works by opening and closing secured communication channels between components in an ad-hoc manner, thus ensuring that the highest level of security is always kept. This helps limit the number of areas vulnerable to attacks from hackers.
“With this new solution, we give automakers the ability to dynamically control the entire in-vehicle communication network, which was not previously possible” said Ziv Levi, founder and CEO of Arilou. “The Ethernet Security Hub acts as a translator to bridge gaps between various systems and allow them to communicate with each other in a secure fashion, even if they were not originally intended to do so. This provides not only comprehensive control of the communication channels, but also better identifies hack attempts, and allows drivers to maintain control in the event of an attack.”
With the innovative new solution, a GPS transmitter that used to constantly transmit a vehicle’s location over the cloud can now be programmed to only send location information when an accident occurs for added safety and driver privacy. In addition, while tremendously reducing the risk of an attack to the in-vehicle communication systems, the security solution does not interfere with the overall functionality of the Ethernet network.
Along with being dynamic, the Ethernet Security Hub is flexible and can be configured to fit the individual system architectures of any OEM vehicle. New electronic components can easily be added if automakers change suppliers or new technologies are introduced. This flexibility makes it a solution for heavy-duty trucks and buses, and other modes of transportation, such as trains, and in some cases, ships and airplanes.
Arilou first began working on the Ethernet Security Hub in early 2017 after receiving requests from OEMs for a solution to the potential security risks posed by Ethernet on vehicles. The company aims to set a security standard for Ethernet integration, and help pave the road for securing connected cars of the future.
The technology has already been recognized by the industry as Arilou was awarded with the Best Automotive Cyber Security Product Award by GDS Review in 2017.

About the author:

Ziv Levi is a seasoned cybersecurity expert with over a decade of experience in the field. He is a graduate in Computer Science, as well as a trained ethical hacker. He spent 6 years in the Israeli Military Forces in a technological cyber security unit. During these years, he took part in various R&D projects in the cybersecurity field, provided consultation and conducted penetration testing. He then fulfilled the role of Security Expert at Razel Group. With all the valuable experience gained, in 2012 he founded Arilou Cyber Security, a start-up focusing on automotive cybersecurity. As of 2015, he is the CEO of the Israeli-based company, that was acquired by global automotive navigation developer NNG in 2016.
Ziv was ranked in the Top 40 under 40 promising and influential managers of Israel 2015 by Globes Business Magazine. He is based in Tel-Aviv, Israel, and His free time is dedicated to sports, mostly beach volleyball, and playing the guitar.
NNG is a global automotive software supplier aiming to provide the best in-car experience for all. The company focuses on delivering solutions with exceptional value for the connected navigation, cyber security, and user experience markets. NNG is primarily known for its iGO Navigation software, with the majority of its work used in white-label products for major car companies. NNG’s navigation is currently installed on more than 50 million devices worldwide, with 38 car brands. NNG has local presence on all continents, including offices in the US, Brazil, Switzerland, Hungary (2), Israel, China, India, South Africa, and Japan, ensuring highly localized solutions and aggregation of the best content available on each market.
For more info, please visit www.nng.com/arilou-cyber-security

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.

Algolux Interview: Enabling Autonomous Vision

Dave Tokic
VP Marketing & Strategic Partnerships at Algolux

Dave Tokic
VP Marketing & Strategic Partnerships at Algolux

About Dave:

Dave Tokic is vice president of marketing and strategic partnerships at Algolux, with over 20 years of experience in the semiconductor and electronic design automation industries. Dave most recently served as senior director of worldwide strategic partnerships and alliances for Xilinx, driving solution and services partnerships across all markets. Previously, he held executive marketing and partnership positions at Cadence Design Systems, Verisity Design, and Synopsys and has also served as a marketing and business consultant for the Embedded Vision Alliance. Dave has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.
Dave’s Pop in the Job? Helping make cars safer by enabling the auto industry to provide next generation computer vision and imaging capabilities today.

The Interview:

As part of his presentation at the Auto.AI 2017 we had a chat with Dave about his vision of autonomous driving and its connection to Algolux. The company was part of our startup lounge showcasing applications and technologies for autonomous and connected cars.

When Car Trunks become Mailboxes

German car manufacturer Daimler plans to use car trunks for the postal distribution process. In the future letters and parcels shall be sent to the addressees’ car trunk. The postman will get a code to open the trunk and deliver the package. The idea of using a car trunk as a mailbox is not entirely new. Volvo is working on the concept since 2016 – therefore the Swedes are collaborating with the compatriot startup urb-it. Volvo just calls it the In-Car Delivery Service, while Daimler chose the name Smart Ready to Drop+.

Smart Ready to Drop+

The name already tells that the concept is not designed for every Daimler model but only for the Smart. Daimler implemented the Smart Ready to Drop+ system in Berlin, Bonn and Cologne together with its partner Liefery which is processing the deliveries. Apparently the concept was well adopted by the users and there are plans to extend the program to Hamburg. The city now sealed collaborations with Daimler and Volkswagen in order to develop and implement innovative mobility concepts. That’s why the famous ITS World Congress is going to take place in Hamburg in 2021.

How does the concept work?

When a customer makes an online purchase he will get the option to specify his smart HUB address – this is the area where the car is parking during the delivery. The exact location can be entered in a so called “Dropzone”. The delivery agent gets a one-time code to open the trunk and drop the delivery. As soon as the delivery is complete the customer gets a confirmation message via the Mercedes me App.

And the downsides?

The German Automobile Club (ADAC) is warning about such keyless access systems. Technical security is not guaranteed throughout as regular auto thefts of vehicles with non-analog closing mechanisms show. Therefore it is still questionable if keyless systems – and thus car trunks as mailboxes – will prevail.

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

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

Will Ransomware Invade the Cars of Tomorrow?

The WannaCry ransomware strike was a strong reminder of the dangers of connectivity – and, more importantly, the risk of lax security. No corporation is too large or too small to become a victim of ransomware when vulnerabilities are exploited. If a business is not properly secured, it could become a target at any moment.
“You don’t hear about it because they pay,” said Brian Balow, a member and partner at the law firm Dawda, Mann, Mulcahy & Sadler PLC. “They don’t want it publicized.” Balow said that if a company is being ransomed, it means two things: (1) its security isn’t very effective and (2) the firm does not have any backups. “Ransomware is a big deal and part of the reason it’s not going away is because people pay,” he added.

What does this mean for the auto industry, which is at the onset of connectivity?

“It’s like the whole idea of the Internet,” Balow explained. “If you want to use it robustly, then [you’re] giving up a certain amount of privacy. It’s kind of the same idea with vehicle technology. We want to install the latest and greatest technology, and we want to be able to update the vehicle wirelessly, right? So if [an automaker] improves something in the brake module or in the infotainment system, [it can] push that down to every one of those vehicles.”
Connectivity may be more convenient, but it could bring a new set of challenges. At the very least, passenger data could be at risk. In the worst-case scenario, the vehicle could be hacked with malicious intent. Automakers might be tempted to implement a five-star rating system to highlight why their cars are safe, but Argus Cyber Security’s Meg Novacek is concerned this could invite future attacks.
“That in and of itself could still be a challenge,” said Novacek, who serves as Argus’ executive director of business development in North America. “The minute you give a rating and say, ‘Here’s the test you have to pass to get the rating,’ it basically says, ‘Oh, these are the things you need to be able to hack.’”

Consumers may also be leery of any hype surrounding vehicle security

“Sometimes telling a customer that you’ve got the safest car on the road opens up a couple cans of worms,” said Novacek. “Why are you talking about it? And what about your product before you started talking about it? Okay, so your 2018 model is safe – what about 2016!?”
Gail Gottehrer, an attorney and partner at Akerman LLP, expects automakers to combat the risk of ransomware and other malicious threats by enlisting in the help of white hat hackers. She expects new bounty programs that invite individuals to test their systems, find vulnerabilities and contribute any and all creative solutions.
“I think it’s going to be more of that, more of an effort to get out in front and tell people, ‘You don’t need to go behind the scenes and deal with ransomware, come to us. In all likelihood we’ll pay you or hire you,’” said Gottehrer. “A lot of these white hat hackers are in demand. It’s really become quite an industry if you’re good at what you do. I think you’re going to see more of that – embracing help from wherever it can come and not being proud about, ‘It has to be someone who works in our company.’”

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.

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.