Much of the automotive “technology of the future” is available today. Connected and driverless cars are already on the road as vehicles evolve from being a means of transportation to entertainment and information hubs, communications centers and mobile offices.
In 2013 Gemalto enabled the industry’s first LTE connected car with leading edge Cinterion® automotive-grade Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology. The award-winning “Audi connect” service leverages a customized LTE M2M module to provide simultaneous voice and data communications plus multimedia streaming and downloads directly to the vehicle. The Audi system features high-speed, low latency 4G connectivity powering embedded infotainment, a mobile hot spot for up to eight devices, advanced GPS navigation with street level 3D imagery, Internet radio, Web services and eCall capabilities that enhance roadside security.
In June 2015 Gemalto announced that its Cinterion Automotive MIMs (Machine Identification Modules, an M2M-optimized SIM) are being used by Flaircomm, an automotive technology provider in China, for an advanced telematics control unit called the T-Box. The Flaircomm T-Box informs the driver of car conditions including oil pressure, car speed and engine status, and provides information on nearby amenities like gas stations and convenience stores. If the car breaks down or is involved in an accident, an emergency call (eCall) is triggered automatically for real time assistance and medical help when needed.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Lars Thyroff, Global Head of Automotive at Gemalto to share his views on the security issues facing connected car technologies.
Thyroff: The data and communications in our smart vehicles need to be just as secure as IT networks, mobile payments, e-IDs and online banking services. Designing an end-to-end security architecture right at the start of the development phase is the key to leveraging passive, reactive and active security measures that allow people to trust in connected car technology.
AI: How do Gemalto’s M2M solutions support connected car technology?
Thyroff: Cinterion Automotive M2M Modules enable wireless connectivity and communications. Auto-grade MIMs link vehicles to mobile network operators and provide authentication, encryption and ciphering while helping to manage various aspects of connected car communications. Our Trusted Service Management platform, NFC technology and On-Demand Provisioning Service enhance security while simplifying design and development of innovative next-generation technology. These secure solutions and services have been used successfully in sensitive industries such as banking and finance for many years and, combined with Gemalto’s ruggedized M2M solutions, are ideal for the automotive industry.
The On Demand Provisioning Service completes the circle of support by allowing remote wireless service provisioning from a single solution design. Connected car solutions no longer need to be custom designed for each individual mobile network operator (MNO). This greatly simplifies manufacturing, distribution and service logistics for automakers which can deliver the same embedded connected car solution to all global dealers, no matter which MNO or service package ultimately is selected for the target market.
AI: How does the Cinterion deal with high-speed mobile connectivity?
Thyroff: A longtime challenge facing automotive M2M applications is the need to operate reliably for up to 10 years and more versus typically just two or three years for consumer devices. This is a tall order when wireless networks standards are constantly evolving and progressing, providing faster speeds and higher bandwidth opportunities. Cinterion solutions are designed for backward and forward compatibility so that one application design can be used across 2G, 3G and 4G networks, maintaining reliable functionality even as wireless networks progress. Cinterion also provides the industry’s only multi-mode 4G M2M solution to ensure high speed communications anywhere in the world across 3G, 4G, LTE and CDMA networks. This not only keeps component costs down, it also simplifies design and speeds time to market.
AI: What role does NFC play in connected car technology?
Thyroff: NFC technology represents an exciting new horizon for automotive technology and connected cars. Two NFC chips in close proximity can communicate securely, which opens up a world of exciting application possibilities including drive-thru payments, keyless entry and ignition, and much more.
For instance, in a connected car sharing scenario, a person opens a smartphone app, selects a car from a list of available vehicles and immediately receives walking or public transportation directions to the vehicle. The driver receives a text message indicating that a digital car key has been securely sent to her phone. When she arrives at the vehicle she simply taps the smartphone near the windshield to authenticate identity via NFC and the door opens. Another tap authorizes ignition.
The vehicle’s embedded infotainment system provides navigation instructions to her destination and voice recognition technology provides weather for the day, local points of interest and the nearest open parking spot at her destination. En route, the driver receives an audio alert that about a road closure. The smart car recommends a new route which includes taking public transport from an alternate parking area. The driver accepts the new route and when leaving the vehicle, the smart key is disabled. She then receives a text message with a bar code for her train ticket. Simultaneously, the smart car solution sends car sharing data including the distance traveled driver ID and billing information to the car sharing enterprise.
AI: What is your prediction for the future of the fully connected car and driverless car?
Thyroff: Years ago, there was a TV program called Knight Rider with an intelligent supercar that could drive itself, give advice to the driver and go off on all sorts of amazing adventures. Today, many features in this “fantasy car” are available, and others are just around the corner.
The possibilities for in-car infotainment are very exciting, but when you apply connected car technology to the engine, we see some amazing improvements. Two-way M2M communications can improve engine efficiency, and fuel economy while reducing CO2 emissions. Data from the “smart engine” can be integrated with navigation systems, car cameras, smart road applications and even other cars in vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems that alert drivers when hazardous road conditions or traffic congestion are expected.
Advanced eCall solutions continue to roll out worldwide allowing vehicles to automatically connect with the nearest emergency call center when emergencies occur.
Ultimately, connected cars will communicate with smart traffic lights and other stationary objects and notify drivers of hazardous roadway conditions including icy curves, active school zones, workers on the side of the road, and audio prompts that inform drivers when traffic lights are about to change. Connected cars can also integrate with smart home systems to turn on lights and heat or air conditioning before arriving home. The possibilities are endless!
AI: What role do you see Gemalto playing in this future scenario?
Thyroff: Gemalto is already a global leader in supplying automotive M2M connectivity solutions and we are dedicated to helping integrators and automakers continue to develop innovative connected car technology. We have been actively involved in ERTICO, HeERO, VDA and several other industry organizations and coalitions that are working to help develop universal standards for some time, and I see this becoming more important as M2M and the Internet of Things (IoT) expands.
AI: Tell us a little about Gemalto’s M2M offerings.
Thyroff: We’ve talked a lot about our technology but another key component of Gemalto’s offering is consulting. We work closely with integrators and OEMs to develop security architecture from the ground up and match the best M2M technology to new applications.
AI: What impact has your technology had in overseas markets such as China?
Thyroff: China is a very competitive and innovative market with great cost consciousness. We are proud that our solutions are well accepted throughout the local M2M industry and are widely adopted. Gemalto supplies China with solutions for all major verticals, including automotive, metering, tracking and tracing and point of sale (POS). In addition to our global portfolio we feature dedicated products tailored to the Chinese market which can be supported by our local R&D site in China. Being considered a local player that is driving innovation is a key factor in Gemalto’s success in this important market.