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Automotive Industries

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Issue: Oct 2011


Connectivity is greening transport



by Alan Tran



Transportation is at a crossroads, where the pace and challenges of modern life are creating an urgent need for change. Almost 70% of the world’s population resides in urban areas, and increasing traffic has produced congestion problems, safety concerns, noise pollution and an unprecedented increase in CO2 emissions.

The good news is that innovation and advancements in automotive, energy and wireless technologies are converging to provide solutions to relieve traffic congestion, improve road safety and reduce environmental impact. Field-proven telematics solutions are being applied in new and inventive ways to reduce the impact.
Green, Clean, Intelligent Transportation

Intelligent M2M communication technology, in all its forms, has the power to change the future of transportation. With the rise of hybrid and Electric Vehicles (EVs) such as Toyota’s Prius, Nissan’s Leaf and Mitsubishi’s MiEV, the opportunities for positive transformation are remarkable. But how does it all work? 




…Imagine driving in your new electric powered car along a curvy stretch of road on a cold night when the dashboard screen and voice activated prompt simultaneously deliver a warning message: “Icy road conditions ahead next 2 miles, reduce speed and proceed with caution or choose one of the following alternative routes.” 

The vehicle is equipped with the latest M2M telematics system, which is always-on and continually gathering and delivering information vital to safe and efficient travel. In this case, your car automatically received data updates from embedded road sensors that indicate weather and road conditions and suggested alternative routes based on an embedded GPS navigation solution. 

As you approach your final destination, a list of potential charging stations is displayed on the screen along with service station descriptions, estimated wait times, directions and a list of local restaurants and other attractions for each location. You select a renewable-powered recharging station with fast charging capabilities and a nearby Italian restaurant. You pull into the charging stall, plug in your vehicle, receive a text with walking instructions to the restaurant and head off for a meal. M2M technology invisibly and securely manages all charging station tasks including vehicle and user authentication, start and stop commands, transmission of usage data, payment procedures and more. No need to dig through a purse or pocket for the credit card and no need for interaction with a display screen - all of the charging station tasks are achieved automatically with M2M. 

Just as you are finishing your last bite of pasta, you receive another text that says your car is fully charged and ready for travel. Unfortunately, several miles down the road, your vehicle runs over a sharp object, punctures a tire and spins off the road inflating the vehicle’s airbag. Your vehicle automatically sends a message to the nearest Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), communicating vital information such as time of accident, location of vehicle, vehicle description, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), registered owner, etc. Emergency roadside assistance is dispatched within minutes to get you on the road as soon as possible… 

The Future Is NOW

Sound futuristic? Not so, says Holger Lenz, Director of Business Development at Cinterion. “All this technology exists today and is being integrated in many places around the world. The three main challenges to wide scale adoption and a seamlessly-connected intelligent transportation system are interoperability, security and infrastructure development.”

Government agencies and global industry coalitions such as ERTICO, Europe’s Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) organization, ITS Russia and others are working together to define industry standards for open-ended technology platforms that can connect our world in unprecedented ways. The European eCall initiative and Russia’s ERA-GLONASS projects are good examples of successful programs that are promoting transportation safety and efficiency by enabling vital cellular communication across international boarders and different wireless networks. 

As the “Internet of Things” proliferates and society moves toward interconnected transportation and smart grid systems, Gemalto and Cinterion are meeting associated security challenges head-on with the industry’s first Machine Identification Module, or MIM technology. MIMs serve the same basic functions as SIM cards. They define subscriber identity and information, they are personalized and updated over the air, they ensure security via user authentication with mobile network operators and they provide a secure environment for software applications. However, MIMs are ruggedized and offer M2M optimized features to ensure an extended lifetime even under the severe environmental conditions of extreme temperature, excessive vibration and high humidity often associated with automotive M2M applications. 



Gemalto’s new MIMs are available as a removable plug-in component or a fixed solderable chip embedded in telematics solutions during manufacturing. Since soldered MIMs can’t be removed and replaced, new provisioning services, or ‘Last Stage Personalization’ (LSP), are now available to simplify the integration and manufacturing process for OEMs. LSP occurs when mobile network operator (MNO) subscription information is securely transferred to the MIM during the last stage of the manufacturing process. LSP gives customers full flexibility in choosing a carrier because the device is not MNO-specific until LSP occurs, even when the MIM is already integrated in a closed device. 

The development of a widely-distributed intelligent transportation infrastructure has picked up tremendous momentum in the last two years as technological innovation, network ubiquity and MNO motivation have converged to offer an undeniably strong business case for implementing M2M. Cinterion is working with customers around the world on solutions such as RWE’s award-winning Smart-Station, an EV charging infrastructure that provides convenient charging at six times the speed of traditional electric outlets and three times faster than competing charging stations. RWE’s Smart-Stations are powered by Cinterion’s award-winning M2M modules and are already deployed in public spaces, parking lots, homes and businesses in 14 European countries. 

Cinterion – a Gemalto company since 2010 - is a global leader in Machine-to-Machine (M2M) modules - the embedded component that allows vehicles, traffic signs, curbside electric charging stations and more to communicate with one another over cellular networks. Cinterion (formerly Siemens Wireless Modules) works with partners around the world to develop next-generation M2M solutions. 

Automotive Industries (AI) asked Holger Lenz, director of business development at Cinterion, how the company’s vision of M2M-enabled technologies help reduce the impact of traffic on the environment. 

Lenz: M2M is a crucial enabling technology in the deployment of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In addition, M2M technology is the foundation of smart meters, a crucial component of smart grid solutions that can seamlessly integrate sustainable energy sources like solar, wind and hydropower into the traditional electricity grid. EVs and associated technology are the most obvious ways M2M is greening up the auto industry, but if you look at many different types of M2M solutions at work in the transportation industry, most of them also have a positive environmental impact. For example: M2M-powered fleet management solutions help fleet managers optimize routes. They cue drivers in real time to maintain consistent and safe speeds and cut out idle time. The same is true for onboard telematics solutions and GPS systems that help drivers optimize routes and speed. Solutions like M2M-enabled road signs give drivers real-time updates on road conditions so routes can be altered to shorten time on the road. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the use of M2M technology and complementary ITS solutions that help guide driving behavior can save up to 20% in fuel consumption overall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each American driver travels about 12,000 miles a year, combining to spread approximately 5.48 metric tons of CO2 pollution into the atmosphere. A 20% reduction in fuel consumption means 2.4 pounds less CO2 in our atmosphere per person, which is significant. 



AI: How do your products help the global automotive OEM and transportation industries meet current challenges?

Lenz: Cinterion has an entire portfolio of automotive-grade products specifically designed to meet the special requirements of the industry, and they are all manufactured according to TS16949 and VDA2 quality standards. Our sixth generation of dedicated automotive modules, including AC75i / AC65i and AGS3, offer advanced telematic features and are prepared to meet the requirements of the European eCall initiative. AGS3 was the first automotive module with Land Grid Array (LGA) technology for flexible soldering and process manufacturing precision. All Cinterion modules are fully type approved including global mobile network operator pre-approvals. They are the ideal building blocks for applications such as electronic road tolling, telematics and fleet management as well as emergency call, breakdown or roadside assistance. Cinterion’s 7th generation of automotive-grade products is currently under development and will bring HSPA+ broadband communication to the connected cars of the next generation. 

AI: What are some of the challenges automotive telematics systems face?

Lenz: Telematics systems for automotives are designed and manufactured to meet rigorous quality standards and ensure product longevity even under harsh environmental conditions and on rough roads. Unfortunately, these devices are equipped with the same SIM cards specified for mobile phones and consumer connected devices, which often don’t meet the specific needs of telematics systems. Gemalto is meeting this challenge with dedicated MIMs cards. 

AI: What are some of the innovations made to Gemalto’s MIMs?

Lenz: OEMs and device vendors are now able to select the feature set best suited to individual solutions, value chains, industries and customer requirements. MIMs are standalone innovative products – the first identification security modules that were specifically designed and ruggedized to meet the special requirements of M2M solutions. Due to the wide variety of telematics systems with varying vertical market requirements and value chain specifics, a “one MIM fits all” offering is not possible. Instead, individual MIM features and advantages are packaged for different categories of use to increase customization and flexibility. 

MIMs are available in two form-factor families – as plug-ins or as solderable quad flat components. Both families are standardized and compliant to the ETSI 2FF or the ETSI MFF specifications. M2M Plug MIMs have the same dimensions as traditional mobile phone SIMs, but offer additional M2M-specific features. The M2M Plug version is based on a highly durable M2M security controller chip, which is resistant to extreme conditions of temperature, high humidity and shock. The M2M chip offers a long lifespan with an extended number of write cycles and improved endurance of non-volatile memory. In addition to the M2M chip, a dedicated Java operating system handles and controls all the MIM tasks and provides software features to extend the life of the MIM and the longtime availability of stored data such as authentication keys. 

The M2M Quad MIM has the same ruggedized M2M chip and the extended temperature ranges of the plug version. The difference in Full M2M Quad is the standardized ETSI MFF2 form-factor with a much smaller size of only 5x6 mm compared to the 15x25 mm footprint of a plug-in card. With the solderable MIM, the telematics device printed circuit board - PCB - can be smaller and the plug-in SIM cardholder can be eliminated, which reduces hardware costs. In addition, automated assembly by machines is possible, eliminating inadvertent damage during device handling. Telematics devices no longer need to be opened by field people to plug-in the SIM card, and instead, are sealed at factory and shipped as a complete unit. And since the solderable MIM stays with the same telematics device through its lifespan, the need for PIN codes is eliminated, increasing ease of use for both OEMs and system integrators alike. 

AI: What makes MIM technology particularly suitable for automotive use?

Lenz: M2M-optimized embedded MIMs and complementary provisioning services offer OEMs increased durability to expand the lifespan of telematics systems. They also enable new opportunities for device manufacturers to offer related services. Traditional SIM cards are personalized by the card manufacturers on behalf of a mobile network operator. Specific SIM information - the MSISDN and IMSI numbers for instance - are mapped by the MNO to individual customers and used for identification and monthly billing. 

M2M optimized MIMs operate in a similar way, but offer new provisioning services known as Last Stage Personalization, or LSP, that allow personalization to occur when the device is shipped. LSP can be integrated in an assembly line manufacturing process, or existing inventory can be personalized for a specific customer or project just before shipping in a three-way collaborative approach between telematics OEMs, MNOs and Gemalto-Cinterion. And LSP is just the beginning of a whole new category of complementary provisioning services to optimize and simplify specialty wireless device design and development.

AI: What are some of the new technologies your company will be launching soon?

Lenz: Cinterion has recently launched its 7th generation of dedicated automotive modules – the AH-series. The new modules are Cinterion’s first automotive-grade HSPA+ product for OEM customers and Tier-1 suppliers. The AH-series will offer broadband connectivity with speeds up to 14.4 MBit/s for downlinks and up to 5.76 Mbit/s for uplinks. Designed with a common board-to-board connector scheme for forward compatibility, automotive customers currently using AC65i or AC75i modules can easily migrate to the AH-series by reusing most parts of their existing hardware designs. The AH-series meets specific automotive temperature requirements with its thermal optimized design and large heat dissipation area on the backside of the module. Additional features such as integrated A-GPS, eCall inband modem, advanced antenna diagnostics and SIM Access Profile (SAP) are included to meet all requirements of current and future automotive applications. To support worldwide implementations and global roaming, the AH-series supports five 3G frequency bands as well as quad-band 2G coverage for EDGE and GPRS connectivity fallback.
For more information, please visit www.cinterion.com, www.facebook.com/cinterion, or follow @cinterion on twitter.

 



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