Of all the recent innovations and industry visions, nothing has captured the public’s attention and piqued its imagination like the autonomous vehicle. While some love the idea and others fear it, most experts agree that the road to autonomy will be bumpy.
There are a number of other related trends which are shaping the future of the motor industry. In this feature Automotive Industries (AI) takes a look at security, the savings offered by over the air updates, the connected car and additive manufacturing.
AI asked Oren Betzaleli, EVP, Redbend Product Strategy, Harman, how security concerns with firmware over the air (FOTA) are being managed.
Betzaleli: We have seen a growing concern for automotive cyber security with the rise of the connected car. It makes sense because the connected car is a pretty new phenomena that the market is still in the process of digesting and, as such, it is facing all sorts of “growing” issues like cyber security. But when it comes to Over-the-Air the situation is different. OTA is a not a new phenomenon, but rather a technology that has existed for more than 15 years. As such, it already handles many of the cyber security concerns. More specifically, there are several things to worry consider it comes to OTA cyber security:
Securing the connectivity and transport between the vehicle and the FOTA server - this is done through leveraging TLS (SSL in the past) secured connectivity, which is a common method in secured systems
AI: Does FOTA help avoid direct and indirect costs?
Betzaleli: Usually people associate OTA updates to elimination of recall costs. However, OTA software management (above and beyond firmware), can reduce direct and indirect cost at any stage of the vehicle lifecycle. Here are some examples:
OTA can shorten time-to-market. The process of designing and engineering the vehicle electronics involves many cycles of software reflashing done with development and test cars (mules and such). Each cycle today involves a large number of people physically getting into a car, plugging in a computer or some form of hand-held device, and wasting time installing a new version of the software before the next round of testing can start. This manual process can be eliminated almost completely with OTA distribution of revised software at the engineering site, which can be done over Wi-Fi.
The growth in the quantity of software in a vehicle is causing concerns on the production line. At present loading software into a car on the production line is limited to a specific “station” on
the line, in which a physical cable is connected to the car. We have heard from our customers that the time window allocated for software reflash is many times not sufficient, and in some cases even causing bottlenecks in the plants, and even to a complete halt of the line in order to catch-up with delays (they call it “reflash parties”). OTA technology can simplify this process dramatically. Software flashing can start as soon as the battery is plugged in the car, and even afterwards when it is driven to the parking lot.
Further to the production savings OTA can simplify the software supply chain, where the factory simply install a generic, while the localization can be done at a later stage, over-the-air, when the vehicle arrrives at its destination. This is done in many cases today by manual labor, which is yet another cost element that can be saved.
Many people think OTA threatens the dealers’ business model, but I think dealers can use OTA technology to save costs, as well improve the customer experience by shortening customer waiting time. Think about a scenario that when software recall is declared, the drivers will be invited to the dealer, they will get into kind of “drive through” lane at the dealer, where the software will be updated automatically from the dealer’s system, and the customer can be back on the road in a matter of minutes, rather than hours.
This is where most people understand the cost savings, mainly around elimination of recalls and replacing them with OTA updates over a cellular network. But on top of that, leveraging a delta technology such as Redbend’s, can also save cellular connectivity costs. Such savings can reach hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
AI asked Michelle Avary, Vice-president, Automotive Product & Strategy, Aeris, what the connected car can offer in terms of safety features and how soon they see these features being implemented in cars.
Avary: Connectivity allows critical information to get to the people who help save lives when an accident happens. Connected vehicles with embedded telematics systems already offer safety features, including automatic collision notification and
Software flashing can start as soon as the battery is plugged in the car, and even afterwards when it is driven to the parking lot.
geo-assisted roadside support, which are more reactive safety and after the fact. With systems such as Toyota’s Safety Connect rolling out on more models, and GM’s OnStar standard on all U.S. models and rolling out globally, drivers will soon see more embedded connected safety systems once the European eCall mandate goes into effect in the spring of 2018.
Connectivity can make advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) better in several ways. By obtaining more data sooner from “the field” on how systems and parts are performing, OEMs and Tier 1s can conduct analysis and make improvements. They can change designs and implement factory changes faster.
Eventually, descriptive and diagnostic analytics will lead to predictive and proscriptive analytics, resulting in updates to safety systems that are already on the road, over-the-air. This is already happening at Tesla, and it’s safe to say that nearly every OEM wants connectivity for analytics and OTA updates of their vehicles. While introducing OTA capabilities will take time, the economics are powerful motivators. It’s no longer the case of something we’ll see “sometime in the future.” It’s happening now, and we expect to see connectivity fostering improvements in vehicular safety very soon.
As a global connectivity provider to several OEMs, including Hyundai, Honda and Chrysler, Aeris also provides secure OTA updates to connected devices and is at the forefront of creating automotive grade OTA capabilities. Combined with global connectivity, connected vehicle management platform and analytics, Aeris offers OEMs a truly global solution for OTA.
AI: Software update discussions have primarily been focused on bug fixes, recalls and security patches. However, with so many of the car’s capabilities being provided via
software, AI asked Matt Jones, President, GENIVI Alliance & Head of Future Infotainment, Jaguar Land Rover, whether he sees updates providing flexibility that the industry has yet to fully realize.
Jones: The future of In Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) is based upon feature additions via software over the air (SOTA) updates. The customers expectations have been well and truly set by the smart phone ecosystems, and not just the apps stores but also the frequent feature additions to the base platform.
AI: How has over the air software updates changed the way automotive companies can offer the latest in-vehicle features?
Jones: Going forwards SOTA solutions, such as GENIVI’s free and open source project, will enable the next generation of companies to more easily join the automotive supplier ecosystem. Each will depend to the economies of scale and being able to rapidly and easily deploy to a range of OEM vehicles; and finally fulfilling the customers desires for the latest features.
AI asked Justin Fishkin, Chief Strategy Officer, Local Motors, how he sees manufacturing technologies evolving over the next few years.
Fishkin: Since the days of Henry Ford the automotive industry has defined efficiencies based on economies of scale — limited product mix, high volume production, low profit margins, and amortization of product-specific tooling and productive capacity over many years due to high upfront tooling costs. Local Motors is defined by our economy of scope — we generate higher profit margins on fewer units of more models, because we don’t need to re-tool to produce new products.
We are a tool-less manufacturer which designs and delivers at the speed of digital. We achieve this through our proprietary process called Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM), which is the fabrication of components in a seamless manner from computer design to actual part in hand. Often synonymous with “3D printing” or “additive,” “rapid,” “instant,” “on-demand” manufacturing, DDM uses 3D computer-aided design (CAD) files to drive the computer-controlled fabrication of parts. Unlike traditional machining methods, which involve working from a rough mold and then cutting away to achieve the desired complex shape, DDM creates the shape precisely using mostly additive fabrication.
In the same way we rapidly commercialize vehicle innovations, Local Motors leverages the power of community engagement within the digital domain to provide rapid product development and innovative manufacturing techniques in other relevant industry verticals. We call this white label platform “Open.io.” Our approach in offering Open.io combines micro-production with online co-creation to identify ideas, develop prototypes, and bring innovative products to market faster than traditional commercialization processes, and at lower costs. Today, the majority of companies in hardware industry verticals are stuck in a mid-20th century product development model – therefore there are many opportunities to be a leader in hardware using this rapid commercialization method.
By combining our ideas, concepts, and designs with a strong set of core competencies in 3D-printing, Direct Digital Manufacturing, and additive manufacturing; Local Motors has developed a product
development process that is unequaled in industry.
Strategic benefits of our Open.io platform for businesses in other industries include:
AI: How has your open platform, FirstBuild, changed the manufacturing scenario?
Fishkin: Our partnership with GE’s appliance division, FirstBuild, has co-created nearly a dozen products in its first year, uniting Makers, University of Louisville students and other local partners. FirstBuild is the first example of our collaboration with GE and other large-scale manufacturing partners, illustrating success of rapid innovation through co-creation and micro-production