It is fair to say that 2019 has been the year of Connectivity in India. OEMs started launching plenty of connectivity features, which brought awareness among the masses that the “Internet” is now “Inside” the car, as they started experiencing features like Navigation, Remote control, Safety, Convenience and Vehicle Management. Here’s what Harman’s Connected Car India VP Prathab Deivanayagham had to say about connected cars and their future.
So what does the future hold for Connected Cars?
Most of the carmakers thought of connectivity as the first step towards effective life cycle management and that is where Over-The-Air update has truly helped. Instead of bringing cars to dealerships for the update, the software could now be pushed Over-the-Air remotely to all vehicles in the field.
While most car makers have used OTA till now as a tool for “Fix the Issue”, the potential for OTA in the future goes truly behind bug fixes into really making the infotainment system a living and breathing product where both the UI\UX as well the functionality can be updated with the push of a button. With delta updates such as the ones offered by Harman OTA, the size of these updates can truly be a fraction of their overall software sizes, thereby enabling them to push farther and faster and incurring lower data costs for the end-user.
Communication with Vehicle
The recent Connected Car launches in India have enabled consumers to locate vehicles, track its live location and get alerts in case of stolen vehicles etc. While these are the initial footsteps in the journey to a fully connected car, the real potential in the future lies with vehicles communicating with each other (V-2-V) and communicating with infrastructure (V-2-X).
This would give rise to use cases where the information of a car crash happens in front of you, would be relayed by the vehicle to other surrounding vehicles so that appropriate decisions can be taken to save lives and time. Vehicles communicating with the Infrastructure can keep transmitting live driving conditions so that authorities can understand better Traffic conditions and take real-time decisions to enhance the commuting experience.
While most cars are mass-produced with very limited options for customizations, the prevalence of connectivity enables manufacturers to truly personalize the vehicle for the end-user. Understanding the user interactions with the car, and collecting this data in real-time to create a data lake allows for a better understanding of the user wants and needs. Based on this, companies can truly push a better experience, be it in the form of learning models for their voice engines to enabling the right online content which the user desires.
Understanding and storing these preferences – be it the optimum vehicle temperature to listening preference in a cloud profile, allows the end-user to have a seamless movement from in-home to in-car and this revolution is driven by the ubiquitous connectivity around him.
Bringing the Online Onboard
Given the rising amount of users of OTT platforms in India, user expectations of content in the car is undergoing a sea change. With few OEMs launching Premium music services onboard in the vehicle Infotainment, more and more car manufacturers are trying different methods of bringing Connected Apps into the car be it through the user’s smartphone or Onboard their infotainment system. Be it their favourite music service or their social interactions or the weather and news updates, these features are already available in some form or the other in today’s cars.
Going forward, users would expect to take conference calls and buy their favourite products online as they are driving to really enhance their productivity while on the move and this could be a real game-changer.
While there are a lot of connected cars can do to change the way we interact with our cars, there are still some challenges that remain. Though 4G penetration has increased exponentially, the speeds and coverage still leave a lot to be desired. This would truly hamper the overall experience and hence OEM’s are evaluating the features they can provide in a connected car.
The growing amount of Connectivity in the vehicle is a potential risk to Cyber-security and this is where Tier1’s like HARMAN can truly add value with their exhaustive set of Cyber Security and safety solution. At HARMAN, we believe in defence-in-depth and that along with OTA allows us to identify potential threats and mitigate those threats with suitable updates Over-the-Air.
Though the challenges of connectivity remain, the growing needs of a population fed on Smartphone Apps and OTT platforms will need to be satiated. Going forward, consumers will be less willing to compromise or find other alternatives to bring the content of their liking into the car.
At HARMAN, we feel that this paves the way for bringing both cloud features as well as Advanced – Driver Assistance (such as Driver monitoring systems) so that the customer delight and road safety can co-exist.