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Connected Cars: Data On Wheels

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No longer a topic of science fiction novels, net-connected cars are here to stay. According to Business Insider Intelligence stats, 75% of cars shipped in 2020 will offer internet connectivity. As with all new technologies, initial costs are still slightly prohibitive for the average buyer. While cars may offer the tech, not everyone is activating those services. It isn’t just price that governs consumer adoption rates for connected cars. In the realm of IoT (Internet of Things) as well as in auto-tech, security is a chief concern for both makers and buyers. Hackers have already demonstrated where vulnerabilities lie. As connectivity increases, car companies are looking at the full life cycle of a vehicle in order to encourage adoption while reassuring the customer about security.

There are various stages to focus on when it comes to the life of the connected car.

Design: Tech features will need to be viewed according to the lifetime of the car so that future options (in-car video capture functions, as one example) are built directly into the vehicle’s design. The manufacturer’s choice of connectivity partner and the types of platforms used will also be important. If such features and concerns aren’t properly integrated at the design stage, security risks are likely to arise later on.

Manufacture: The actual on-the-floor manufacture of automobiles is an important element in the connectivity process. More efficient manufacturing, as aided by the tools of connectivity (sensors, analytics) increases the safety and security of the car as it is being built. The carmaker relies continuously on data gathered by connected users for an increasingly more effective product.

Testing: Ensuring that connected vehicles offer safety and functionality before they leave the factory is a key step in the process. Carmakers always want to reduce the number of defective vehicles and testing is crucial. Those functions offering real-time services (GPS, weather, traffic updates) are tested with rigor, as they can seriously impact the safety of the driver during real-time operation of the vehicle.

Shipping: Connected vehicles would be most vulnerable to hacker sabotage and interference during the shipping process. Therefore, it is essential that connectivity functions be automated to allow them to be disabled during transport from factory to dealership.

Demo stage: Once the car hits the showroom, the sales team needs to be able to share the wonders of connectivity with drivers. Reactivating the connectivity functions needs to be possible, yet security continues to be a concern at this stage. In order to prevent theft, remote control of vehicles or high-jacking situations, the car’s connectivity functions and VIN must be protected.

Aftermarket: Connectivity services that follow the consumer off the lot raise additional security concerns, yet these services are increasingly desirable, offering as they do a range of features including predictive maintenance updates. Post-purchase security providers will play an important role in keeping connected vehicles safe from data breaches while also keeping the consumer (literally) connected to the carmaker through subscription services and updates.  

Are you looking forward to seeing your next car as a data center on wheels? 

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