In the next few decades, trends are pointing to an inevitable disruption to our mobility as new technologies, in particular autonomous driving become commercially viable. As the act of driving is taken out of the transport equation, our vehicles will change into versatile living spaces, enhancing our mobility experience.
In order for autonomous driving to fully take off in the future, governments and businesses must first work together to allow the foundations of vehicle connectivity.
The challenges surrounding vehicle connectivity were discussed at the recent symposium on Future Networked Car 2018 (FNC-2018), here are a some issues we must address for vehicle connectivity to take place.
- Holistic infrastructure development policies
During operation, autonomous vehicles will not only communicate with each other, but will need to “speak” to other entities for safe navigation – roads, buildings, public vehicles like busses and trams, cyclists, pedestrians, even manufacturers and car sharing dealers. Vehicles will need short range direct communication, and also networked communication for longer ranges.
For conventional transport to function, there needs to be roads, highways, crossings, parking areas, or bus stops. In the future, each of these elements will need to transmit unique data to the cloud, and this information will be consumed by autonomous vehicles to make key driving or navigational decisions. For example, roads need to transmit traffic, weather and road works information to the cloud to be consumed by vehicles operating on the roads for safe navigation.
- International Standards for Vehicle Communication
A major concern is the harmonisation of vehicle communication protocols. There is still heated debate among telco’s on the best protocol for vehicle communication – with standards such as 802.11p, 5G, DSRC being used across different regions around the world. International bodies such as the UNECE and ITU are currently working with global automotive players towards a harmonisation of communication standards for vehicle connectivity.
- Faster and Wider coverage of cellular networks
5G (fifth-generation) connectivity was a major buzzword at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The technology promises greater speeds lower latency – delays in data communication over a network – which is key to real-time connectivity of cars moving on the road autonomously.
However, business cases for 5G will be the key challenge for industry players and governments. Just like 4G and 3G networks depended on the economies of scale, a nationwide network will be key to allow autonomous transportation to reach more people.
Analysts say that major service providers are expected to provide mainstream 5G services by 2020. In Malaysia, this adoption is expected to be completed by 2023, and may be accelerated in-line with global rollouts.
Autonomous connectivity will link vehicles, manufacturers, data centers, buildings, traffic lights, the list goes on – each point of communication a possible vulnerability for cyber attacks.
In January 2017, the UNECE initiated a task force to address cyber security issues relevant to the automotive industry. As the architecture of connectivity, especially for vehicles will become even more complex, businesses and government efforts towards preventing cyber threats will be an interesting area of concern towards data protection, privacy and financial aspects for consumers.
- Improved data sharing and transparency
In today’s world, data is becoming more and more valuable. However, when it comes to connected vehicles, key data must be accessible to all stakeholders within the mobility ecosystem.
Car makers are generally in agreement that data pertaining to safety information should be openly available to all stakeholders to ensure that the improvement of safety in continuous.
Apart from a complete lifestyle change, a key promise of autonomous driving is the potential of eliminating road fatalities, as driving is taken over fully by the vehicle.
Since modern safety came into vehicles, it has been saved many lives through through advancement of safety technology such as safety restraint systems, electronic stability control and automatic emergency braking.
More than 600,000 lives have been saved through this technology, explains Jean Todt, President of the FIA and the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, at the Symposium on the Future Networked Car 2018 , held today in Geneva in conjunction with the Geneva Motor Show 2018.
The National Automotive Policy 2018 (NAP2018) is expected to address the rethinking and long-term planning needed in enabling the commitments, awareness and business cases for future mobility to take place.
Watch this space for more developments!