The automotive industry is consistently driving forward the digital revolution surrounding the automobile. This digital revolution needs cooperation with partners from ICTICT stands for “information and communication technology.” and state players, in order to meet infrastructural and technical challenges, and to create a legally secure framework.

Alongside the Broad-based strategyThe broad-based strategy is the German automotive industry’s strategy for raising efficiency. for raising efficiency with electric mobility as one important component, connectivity is the second major future trend in an ever more mobile world. It supplies answers to the rising volume of traffic all over the world, greater safety, and reduction of the burdens on the environment and the climate.

Automotive manufacturers prepared for the future

The success story of German cars stretches back 125 years. One fifth of all cars sold anywhere on the globe bears a German badge. The huge popularity of German vehicles is due not least to the continual development of innovations, coupled with the demand for high quality.

German automotive manufacturers and suppliers are well prepared for the innovation requirements in the area of connectivity. Every day they produce with ten patented ideas. By further expanding research activities and investment in connected mobility, the German automotive industry will maintain its position as a driver of innovation and a trendsetter, thus safeguarding value-creation and jobs in Germany.

It will however be a massive challenge to connect traffic in general. Individual players on their own will not be able to develop a new, efficient and future-proof overall system of mobility. This shift can only be realized when all those involved act in concert.

These challenges need solutions

Reliable connections

Connectivity requires a powerful data network. The new mobile telephony standard LTELTE (Long Term Evolution) is a new mobile telephony standard that will further accelerate the expansion of mobile Internet use in particular. LTE allows data transfer rates of between 100 and 300 Mbps, and can be used to rapidly download HD movies to a car, for example – even while the vehicle is in motion. (Long Term Evolution) can provide the necessary link between data traffic and road traffic. So far roughly 13 million households in Germany are using the powerful LTELTE (Long Term Evolution) is a new mobile telephony standard that will further accelerate the expansion of mobile Internet use in particular. LTE allows data transfer rates of between 100 and 300 Mbps, and can be used to rapidly download HD movies to a car, for example – even while the vehicle is in motion. standard for mobile telephony. It is expected that in 2012 a total of 100 towns and cities in Germany will be on this system.

Yet new masts will be needed all over Germany and Europe to connect all road traffic effectively.

Whereas there is no problem installing WLANA wireless local area network (WLAN) denotes a local radio network, usually one that operates to a specification from the IEEE-802.11 family. In some countries the term Wi-Fi is commonly used for this narrower meaning, although it is frequently regarded as synonymous. hotspots for wireless Internet access in urban areas, universal coverage including more sparsely populated regions will be expensive: optimistic estimates for Germany alone put the necessary investments at four to five billion euro for the further expansion of the LTE network. Various partners, e.g. mobile telephony providers, the German Government and municipalities, are wrestling with the question of how the costs are to be divided up.

It will not be possible to network road traffic without a reliable and fast data network that provides total coverage. But with such a network, society and those involved would benefit in equal measure from is consistent expansion.

Elaborating standards

The development of common standards is a mammoth task caught between competition and high costs of innovation. This is because only when all the players have been searching independently for the best solution will a common standard crystallize out following the most innovative and practicable solution.

At this time there are several different approaches to the connected car. An initial attempt at synchronization and development of common standards can be seen in the simTD field trial. The automotive and communication industries, the Hessian State Government, universities and research institutes have joined forces to develop and test practicable standards for control units and data transfer which can be used throughout Europe.

To date this project remains unique. Alongside automotive manufacturers also mobile telephony providers and IT companies are working independently on developing control units and data transfer. Establishing cooperative projects and bundling the relevant specialist knowledge will help speed up development and drive it forward effectively. simTD is an exemplary step on this path.

Researching and implementing new controls

Numerous new in-car functions are being introduced. It will be imperative that they can be operated both intuitively and safely – because the driver must not be distracted. Additional functionality cannot simply mean having more buttons to press.

The competition to develop user-friendly controls and human-machine interfaces is running at full speed. Many manufacturers and suppliers have already developed new ways of controlling their systems. They include new display technology moving in the direction of augmented reality and control by gesture or voice commands.

Gathering data

For the connected traffic of the future to be safer and more efficient, connected vehicles will access large amounts of infrastructure data such as traffic light changes, the closing of barriers at railroad crossings, and the location and scope of construction work. Using this and similar information the car’s GPS navigation system will guide the driver along the best route to the destination.

Synchronizing these data with vehicles is, however, an organizational and administrative challenge. Each municipality manages the installation, switching and maintenance of its own traffic lights, for example. So for all vehicles to be able to take the optimum route through the town, it will be necessary to coordinate with every single municipality. And the situation is similar concerning other infrastructural data. For use by connected vehicles, data generation must be permanently anchored in a uniform manner in each federal state, since municipalities and the German states have a general interest in aspects such as making traffic more fluid and reducing its emissions and noise levels.

Recording connected traffic legally

Connected vehicles send and receive personal data relating to their drivers. This could theoretically provide information about who caused an accident. In the case of company cars, employers could check the routes and breaks taken by the employees, using the vehicles to monitor their staff. A comprehensive legal data protection framework is required for handling such sensitive information. The situation is similar regarding automated vehicles: who will be liable for damage caused in an accident, if the vehicle was being steered without the driver intervening?

Connecting the road traffic requires an extensive revision of the legal framework before further innovations are made.

Defining how far vehicles are to open up

Another challenge is thrown up by the question of whether future automotive applications should be based on open systems. As with open source software, numerous innovative ideas could be incorporated into cars and the development of applications would then be more effective and cheaper. However, high safety and security standards apply in the automotive industry, and every new application has to comply with them right down to the last detail. That is because data security also means product security. There is also a legal dimension: in the case of open source software, a number of different players are involved in the development of applications. But here, in the case of faulty codes the automotive industry would be liable. Manufacturers therefore have to maintain control at all times over all systems used in the vehicle. Extensive certification is one option for allowing space for many ideas in combination with absolute security. Ford and Bug Labs are already planning an open source development platform for in-car connectivity. The project promotes the researching of secure open source tools in order to push forward in-car connectivity more rapidly.

Developing new business models

Connectivity opens up completely new, joint business models for vehicle manufacturers, for IT and telecommunications companies, and for public transport operators. These new partners are already getting together in initial joint projects such as car clubs, but this type of cooperation is still in its infancy. In this field a huge potential is emerging for developing new, viable business models. IT companies, mobile telephony providers, manufacturers of consumer and Business electronicsBusiness electronics refers to electronic devices used in companies, such as printers, large format displays and large format projectors. – all of them are sensing massive opportunities in a market that until now has been unknown territory.

In the race to find the best and most profitable business model, today there is already tough competition surrounding future mobility systems. The automotive industry is therefore faced with new challenges that it is tackling with experience, quality, new partners and a disproportionately large amount of work poured into R&D in comparison to other industries.

Managing various lifecycles

Automobiles are products with a relatively long life cycle that can be 10 years or more. Application software, by contrast, is replaced after one to two years, and mobile devices are replaced on average after two to three years. In the future there could be updates for vehicles. Ensuring safety and security has top priority in this challenge. Cybercrime, for example, must be prevented at all times despite the further development of technical possibilities.

Thanks to connectivity, vehicles can also communicate with the infrastructure. This in turn has an average lifetime of around 30 years. Here, too, the lifecycles have to be coordinated such that smooth operation can be guaranteed over decades.

Developing new occupations

Intelligent connectivity increases the proportion of IT elements both in the vehicle and in the traffic sector as a whole. Bundling IT competencies is becoming more and more important for the automotive industry. This is not just about development, but also the maintenance, integration and securing of systems. In the future the work of IT experts and engineers will therefore be even more closely dovetailed and multidisciplinary. The development processes within the automotive companies will evolve accordingly. New specialists will have to be trained and recruited in specific fields.