Connected cars are no longer a pipe dream that only exists in sci-fi movies, it’s very much a reality that will be omnipresent one day. In fact, the global connected car market is forecasted to worth as much as $219.21 billion by 2025 (growing at a CAGR of 14.8% from 2017 to 2025).
This rapidly growing market is driven by an increase in demand for vehicle legislation and industry compliances to make driving safer, efficient, and more convenient. There’s also an increase in demand for more features like remote diagnostics, navigation, and multimedia streaming.
Trends Fueling the Future
The primary focus of connected car manufacturers these days has been security (and I’ll explore this further below). They’re all striving to make vehicle data more secure from hacking and malfunctioning. This is also another factor that’s boosting the demand for smart vehicles.
At the same time, the absence of strong network infrastructure presents a major challenge to create and scale a connected car market in developing countries. This may end up being a significant hurdle for the automotive industry unless a new value chain ecosystem is established.
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The global connected car market can be divided as follows:
- North America
- Western Europe
- Central Eastern Europe
- Middle East & Africa
- Latin America
At present, North America boasts the most mature autonomous vehicle market. This can be attributed to its extensive infrastructure and the sheer number of companies investing heavily in the market.
The second hottest market that’s growing rapidly is Western Europe where government regulations like the mandate of eCall are attracting significant investments.
The following original equipment manufacturers in both North America and Western Europe now offer embedded solutions in their latest car models:
- Daimler (Germany)
- General Motors (US)
- Volkswagen AG (Germany)
- Volvo (Sweden)
Embedded connected solutions are also creating new opportunities by helping the industry analyze the data generated by Electronic Control Units. This technology is also enabled to provide seamlessly connected services through cloud platforms.
Going forward, the Asia Pacific region is forecasted to be the fastest-growing market for autonomous vehicles. The primary driver of smart cars in the region is the increased demand for navigation services and infotainment. This is particularly true for tech-savvy populations in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea.
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In China, they have already established some regulations for China's Intelligent and Connected Vehicles. Others are expected to follow suit in the months to come.
Facing Security Challenges
From day one, there have been significant concerns about connected car security. To achieve enhanced security, both governments and manufacturers have been working together to establish regulations that will help set the standard.
However, according to research, there hasn’t been enough collaboration among the manufacturers themselves to achieve enhanced robust cyber security. This can be attributed to the desire to be the first-to-market with several unique selling points.
While this is also important for automobile manufacturers, there’s a real risk in underestimating future cyber threats. As a result, it will be critical for the industry to actively share information and adopt best practices to adequately respond to potential cybersecurity threats.
At the same time, both self-imposed and government-led regulation shouldn’t impede innovation. So connected car manufacturers will need to find a way to effectively balance their commercial interests, societal interests, and security concerns.
Top Risks and Concerns for Connected Cars
While the threat of getting hacked has been on everyone’s mind, there also another risk that needs to be addressed. According to Matt Watts, data strategist, and director of technology at NetApp, you can access a wide range of personal information through the connected car app long after the car has been sold.
This is a serious concern and a violation of privacy that has to be addressed immediately. This is the direct result of connected car apps enabling remote control and interaction when you’re nowhere near it. All this information is also stored in real-time in your online account.
The problem comes up whenever the previous owner doesn’t take steps to specifically remove themselves from the account to allow the new owner to link up to it. So whenever people forget to do this, the new owner can be driving around while providing the previous owner complete access to the online account (with all the new owner’s information stored inside it).
Whenever this happens, the new owner will call the dealer or manufacturer. However, they’re powerless to help without written authority provided by the previous owner to remove them from the account.
While the new owner spends his or her time trying track down the previous owner, that individual will continue to have control over the car. This means that they can remotely control the climate, unlock the car, and even look at the sat-nav system without the new owner knowing about it.
Things like this are quite widespread when it comes to the Internet of Things development as manufacturers often forget to address these issues in their rush to get their product to market. If privacy and security are risked for the sake of being the first-to-market, the consequences can be dire.
In the near future, connected cars will certainly be the norm. As a result, it will be important to address these issues now to protect both the drivers and the industry.