Connected Vehicle

According to many leading automotive industry experts, the future of mobility will be increasingly automated, electrified, and connected (see, for example, Keynote at Bosch ConnectedWorld 2014 by Dr. Denner, Chairman Bosch Group). These three trends are not independent of each other; as we will see throughout this chapter, connectivity is a key requirement and is at the very core of both automated driving and electric driving.

A good insight into the future of mobility was provided by major car manufacturers at 2015’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Instead of talking about the latest innovations in consumer gadgets or Internet TV as showcased at CES, most of the buzz centered on the connected, automated, and electrified vehicle. Automobile integration is being touted as the next great frontier in consumer electronics. In today’s young urban circles especially, there is considerably more interest in connected services than there is in raw horse power.
However, the market is still considered to be in its infancy. In the following, we will provide an overview of the most important use cases for the connected vehicle and the ways in which they relate to the IoT.

The connected dashboard and car infotainment are becoming increasingly important, not just in their own right but also as a data source for other advanced vehicle functions. Connectivity will pave the way for new services such as eCall and bCall, fleet management services for leasing and rental companies, and field data analysis for OEMs and suppliers. Another major IoT use case will be electric mobility, which encompasses connected charging services, roaming, and cross-energy management. Intermodal services will be central to the “smart city” of the future, and car sharing is already a reality today. Other services such as usage-based insurance (UBI) will create new business models for insurance companies.

The Holy Grail for those that follow developments in the connected vehicle space is of course automated driving. However, there is still some way to go before fully automated driving will be widely available. Until then, other topics such as automated parking and connected driving assistance will play an important role.

Overview: The connected vehicle and related services

Overview: The connected vehicle and related services

One obstacle to these new business models is the level of heterogeneity found in car technology today. A modern mid-range car comes with approximately 60-70 embedded electronic control units (ECUs) that control the different subsystems of the car. Because there is no widely established method of sharing Internet connectivity with these different subsystems, many of today’s connected services still rely on their own telematics control unit (TCU) for remote communication. The expectation in the future is that Internet connectivity will be an integral part of every vehicle’s electronic architecture, and that greater standardization will be achieved in terms of the technical protocols required for data transmission and remote vehicle identification, authentication, and management. Obvious challenges along the way will include the issue of data security, i.e. who exactly will be permitted to access and use each type of data?

Take the usage-based insurance example discussed earlier. Instead of the cumbersome process of having to install an additional piece of hardware, people expect to able to download the approved ACME insurance app onto a secure application sandbox in their car, and then follow a series of prompts in which they are asked if they want to allow ACME insurance to access their personal driving behavior profile. The initial recommendation to download the ACME insurance app will come from the cloud-based backend which, leveraging big data analytics, will have decided that it might be an interesting car app for the user based on their previous driving behavior.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning and address this fascinating application domain for the IoT step by step.