The Big, Hidden Questions of Connected Cars

There are questions around connected cars that many engineers and experts aren't considering.

Last December, the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a rule that would make vehicle-to-vehicle V2V connectivity a requirement for all new cars. Data from the DOT states this widespread connectivity could reduce non-impaired crashes by up to 80 percent, underscoring the great promise of this automotive advancement. Automakers and data providers are already on board, and will push such rulings forward because there’s benefits in this data for both companies and for consumers in terms of safety and convenience.

There's no doubt that adding connectivity to cars has its benefits. According to a 2016 study from global management consulting firm, McKinsey, data from connect cars could reach a revenue potential of $1.5 trillion by 2030 . This connectivity will have a transformative effect on both consumer and commercial vehicles, well beyond previous advancements such as on-board diagnostics or airbags. Employers such as cable companies and delivery firms are very eager to further implement connectivity to monitor drivers and improve safety.

In the coming years connected cars will be a standard, acting as both hotspots and sending out information to other vehicles, toll booths, and various other sensors. But managing all of this data and the related technology poses a considerable challenge for automakers. They must design durable and sophisticated systems for an audience that is used to a smartphone’s simplicity. While there is great promise with connected cars, there are additional challenges, even beyond the technical and storage-related issues, that will need resolution before widespread adoption:

1.) What About Network Strain?

Connectivity in modern cars will be updated through firmware, with the car’s computers updating information and processes in the background, similar to a mobile device. For example, refinements to a car’s self-parking capabilities could be sent through firmware-over-the-air (FOTA).

OEMs manufacturing cars are putting in place sensors to collect and share vast amounts of information about collisions, warranties, maintenance, and dozens of other metrics. As they start sending this data to the cloud instead of internal storage, there will be further strain placed on networks and cloud storage providers. There will also be demands from consumers who want access to this information, since it is their vehicle and their behaviors that are producing the data. Companies will need to navigate these demands and find ways to present data in digestible formats to consumers while still leveraging value from all of this information.

2.) What About Privacy?

Connect cars have already been hacked to take over their control systems. But what about the data being stored and transmitted as well? For example, one of the touted advantaged of connected cars will be access to collision data. This information is typically held on a SIM card, and can provide insurance companies or law enforcement with critical information about the car’s speed and other metrics. Will privacy standards and security be enough to safeguard connected car data, especially as consumers continue to use their personal devices in ways intertwined with their vehicles?

3.) Can the Development Cycle Be Satisfied?

Automotive products are also on a long production and development cycle compared to mobile devices. With


So someone hacks into their own car, grabs information from a nearby car (V2V Connectivity, you know?) and suddenly they find out additional information, such as owner, address, phone, etc. This could lead to a lot of problems... How will that be prevented? Hackers are pretty ingenious and finding ways to get into systems and get information.

Worse than that, one could spam false telemetry to make someone else think collision was imminent, making them slam on the brakes, causing them to create a possibly fatal rear end collision from the cars behind them. This could easily be used to commit murder.

There is no question that some people with the old fashion drive it your self cars will "game" the self aware cars. Teenagers come to mind but you know it will be worse than that. And what about organized crime? How will they use this new technology.

The question on network strain depends on which, when and how data is transmitted. Position data and vectoral speed may be transmitted rather often to allow external systems to guide traffic or help crash prevention by inter-car communication. External systems may help guiding traffic, by knowing the final target at beginning of the cruise. General collected data may be transmitted when reaching free or dedicated WLANs. Given todays video streams, car telemetry data is really SMALL.

That is wrong because first of all, video streams often glitch due to not enough bandwidth already. And that is with expensive dedicated 4D cellphone technology. But even more important is you forget that there may be thousands of vehicles all in close proximity. Even if you had the bandwidth, there is no way a cpu can track them all at the same time.

I would venture to say that many accidents are from speeding in excess and the victim pulls out in front of a car that they would have no way of seeing if they are traveling at over 120 feet a second. This device will prevent the wrong blame. Who will pay for the device? The privacy and automobile control will be compromised. I like the car to car communication as it would prevent most accidents but keep control in the correct hands. It wouldn't cost the car owner any extra fees.

Since everyone speeds, everyone will simply disconnect their system. Nor is a machine capable of being used in court as a witness, since there is no way to guarantee maintenance, accuracy, or cross examine the accusing machine. No will such devices be cheap, or reliable in the harsh environment of a DC vehicle.

No one will ever tolerate or accept networked cars. It would be the end of privacy, speeding, and safety, as there will be a public record of everywhere you went, how fast you got there, and any hacker can easily cause you to die. Besides, networks are always unreliable and go down due to things like sunspots, tunnels, or excess packets.

So you take a system that does not even work very well at home with dedicated fiber optic, and try to put it every where with wireless transmission, with hardware on the harsh environment of 12 volt automobile, and expect that to be reliable enough for your life? Not on your life.

And what about my 5th amendment right to avoid self-incrimination? If the DOT requires my car to broadcast its telemetry, then they are effectively telling me I must incriminate myself immediately should I violate the speed limit laws.


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