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June 4, 2015updated 22 Sep 2016 11:51am

10 exclusive experts’ tech-aways on smart cars

CBR gets expert opinion on smart cars as the industry goes through a wave of partnerships.

By Joao Lima

In last few days car manufacturers have unveiled several partnership ventures with software, chip, and security companies to develop the smart car of tomorrow.

For example, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Tesla have all adopted Nvidia’s Tegra X1 development kit to be installed in their smart driving solutions.

CBR went out and about to understand the movement and spoke to ten industry experts on smart connected vehicles.

1. Software AG

Dr John Bates, CMO

"The next step for cars is smart cities and smart road networks. When all cars communicate with smart roads and smart cities, it will be possible to optimise the whole system. With prototype projects starting now, self-driving cars will evolve to become mainstream in ten years, along with prototype smart cities.

"Combined with data from smart cities, the sheer volume of data generated by sensored roads, cars and even planes and trains would create a computational explosion of data complexity relative to moving objects, weather conditions and other currently unforeseeable scenarios.

"If this complexity were to be conquered with apps that harness the rich, real-time data, in the future, it could be possible to manage traffic jams in smart cities, allow haulage and cargo companies to proactively manage logistics and predict maintenance. For manufacturers, it may also bring unprecedented visibility into supply chains, helping them to avoid both production and transport bottlenecks."

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2. IEEE

Dr. Kevin Curran, Senior Member

"A crucial barrier to smart car success is the lack of trust and collaboration between the major auto manufacturers. Ford, General Motors, Toyota, BMW and all the other leaders are all part of the Vehicle Infrastructure Integration Consortium which is striving to deploy the infrastructure of tomorrow. However in reality they all go back to their workshops and continue to promote their own proprietary products.

"Car to Car (C2C) connectivity will play a large role in the future. For instance, if a crash happens, on-board C2C technology could automatically send vital details to the emergency services such as time of collision, GPS location, vehicle description, vehicle licence number and registered owner. This might save crucial moments in life-threatening situations. C2C can also help reduce fuel costs for fleet management. "

3. Cognizant

Prasad Satyavolu, Head of Innovation for Manufacturing and Logistics

"Despite the majority of European automotive companies having confidence in their in-house competencies to develop connected car solutions, they are also aware that they may not be able to implement solutions and services exclusively on their own.

"Consequently, automotive manufacturers and suppliers are undertaking product development in partnership with external service providers. The findings of our recent ‘Connected Car in Europe’ study suggest that this is the case for 69% of automotive companies. The most requested services include software development, security and testing services.

"This is the perfect time for car manufacturers and technology providers to come together and explore how telematics systems can enhance the driving experience in the years ahead, and lay the foundation for seamless urban mobility in the future."

4. RealVNC

Tom Blackie, VP of Mobile

"The Automotive industry has seen a hive of activity in recent years, for example the merger of Chrysler and Fiat, Tata’s acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover, and the close cooperation between Renault and Nissan. This comes alongside heavy acquisition activity amongst suppliers.

"Component manufacturer, Continental AG, recent purchase of Elektrobit’s Automotive division (a supplier to the likes of BMW, VW, Ford, Daimler and GM) just goes to show how focused the industry is on connectivity.

"Harman is highly acquisitive, having recently spent nearly $1bn on the purchase of software and service companies Symphony Teleca and Red Bend, and also Bang and Olufsen’s high-end automotive audio business unit. We can expect to see further concentration across the industry as vendors jockey for position and look for scale and breadth to win business and gain operational efficiencies."

5. Sierra Wireless

Olivier Pauzet, VP Marketing Strategy

"Partnerships between wireless solution providers and car manufacturers are enabling a new level of value-added connected services for customers. A few years ago, the only devices that were installed in cars were using communication devices to notify about accidents. Now they are going a step further and using devices to collect other data that can be useful for other services like insurance and maintenance.

"Partnerships are becoming a vital source to allow OEMs to make the most of evolving wireless technology and build in flexibility to adapt their solutions to future generations of technology and to services that may grow and change over time.

"LTE is clearly the technology of choice for connected cars, and it is still very much an evolving technology. Attention is already beginning to turn to the next generation of LTE technology, such as LTE Advanced, to deliver even faster speeds."

6. TEOCO

Steve Bowker, Head of Strategy and Technology

"Operators need to properly prepare their networks for the effect of support increasing numbers of connected vehicles. They can do so with the help of advanced geolocation network tools that identify where the connected car traffic is within cell coverage areas: and also where the traffic characteristics are becoming dominated by the dynamic effects described above.

"Data mining and analytical tools that leverage automated "machine learning" and which provide service-centric analysis will also play a key part, by providing a picture of the end-user experience of these new services being used.

"With this knowledge and insight, operators can use new design paradigms and advanced self-optimising algorithms to adapt their network configurations so as to accommodate the localised surges in demand that connected cars can generate."

7. Nuance

Fatima Vital, Director Marketing Automotive and Consumer Electronics

"Cars are becoming the next key component of our digital lifestyles, which for us means that when we slide into the driver’s seat, we don’t have to kick our world of applications, content, and services to the curb.

"Establishing what we want in our cars is a crucial first step, but it pales in comparison to actually delivering the needed solutions. This is when automakers and technology companies need to gather at the same table to break some bread and cross a few wires.

"The way that we stay connected in the car cannot be the same way that we stay connected via our phones, computers and TVs. Finding the right solution is an industry-wide initiative, encompassing many of the world’s leading automakers and technology companies."

8. Transport Research Laboratory

Nick Reed, Academy Director

"The speed of adoption of smart cars will be dependent upon a number of factors including overcoming technological challenges, establishing road safety implications, enabling the infrastructure to support connected vehicles, and clarity over legal and insurance requirements.

"However, it will certainly require a greater dialogue between vehicle manufacturers and operators, so the formation of partnerships in these areas is certainly a step in the right direction.

"Over the next couple of years’ it’s inevitable that our vehicles will become more connected. Vehicle manufacturers and technology/communication providers alike are seeking better, safer ways in which drivers can interact with communications technologies which in turn is driving the industry towards greater vehicle automation. The next step is truly autonomous vehicles."

9. Synchronoss

Chris Halbard, EVP International

"Connected cars in particular will play a key role in what Synchronoss calls an "integrated life" of interconnected devices, content and data. Connecting different devices opens the door for breakthrough new applications and services in which end-users move their data and content via the cloud between their smartphone, their home and their car.

"At the heart of the Synchronoss "integrated life" vision is a "digital profile" for each end-user, which is stored in the cloud by your mobile operator and contains everything from pre-saved apps and settings, to stored media and personal preferences such as your favourite internet radio stations.

"Because it’s cloud-based, this profile is completely portable so that you can take it with you and access it from any screen – not only your smartphone, laptop, or smart TV at home, but also now the dashboard of your car."

10. DWF LLP

Caroline Coates, Head of Automotive

"The increasing prominence of connectivity features in new vehicles has the potential to transform the car-making industry.

"As telecoms companies, networking hardware firms, and peer-to-peer communications providers get in on the act alongside traditional automotive manufacturers, it will only become more difficult to establish liabilities, apportion blame, and secure restitution in the event of an accident.

"As vehicles become more technologically sophisticated, the manufacturers’ old ‘ship and forget’ sales model will have to give way to ‘ship and update’, as seen in the consumer technology industry.

"We may even see a scenario unfold in which manufacturers or vendors assert as a condition of sale the right to disable a driver’s vehicle in the interest of safety if a critical software update has not been installed."

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