Few breakthroughs have the societal and economic impact of the automobile. When Henry Ford brought us the assembly line, the automobile entered a new wave of consumerism. Now we are challenging these old paradigms by shifting into electric, self-driving, and connected cars. The future is changing rapidly.
Today’s car has the computing power of 20 personal computers, over 100 million lines of code, and processes up to 25 gigabytes of data an hour. As connected automotive applications and autonomous driving become standard features, the complexity of the automotive computing platform greatly increases.
The connected car will interact with more cloud-based systems using on-board sensors, predictive intelligence, vehicle-to-vehicle, and vehicle-to-infrastructure (v2x) communications, and artificial intelligence.
For as long as there have been highways, the automobile has represented the ultimate symbol of mobility and independence. But today’s drivers expect more from travel — from backseat entertainment to personalized, intuitive controls.
Infotainment is revolutionizing the way we view transportation by delivering streaming music and entertainment to drivers, and passengers of private vehicles and ride-shares.
The infotainment system increases driver awareness. By integrating devices into the vehicle console, the driver is able to make hands-free calls and navigation, manage and play audio content, and listen to incoming text messages without being distracted.
The advancement of the infotainment system has allowed premium auto manufacturers to remain competitive. Today’s best infotainment systems rival the functionality of tablets and smartphones, offering automakers the opportunity to differentiate themselves.
Infotainment is also important for shared mobility applications such as busses, taxis, and ride-sharing vehicles. For these applications, providing entertainment options like video content for passengers while in transit can help increase passenger satisfaction.
We now drive vehicles run by software, and with that comes the need for a level of cybersecurity that greatly challenges the auto manufacturing industry.
Mobile application security
As more automobile manufacturers release mobile apps that communicate with cars, these applications are quickly becoming a major target for malicious behavior. In one instance, security researchers were able to breach a popular electric car’s controls via a poorly secured app. All in all, more than 80% of Android and IOS apps experience cryptographic issues.
Unauthorized vehicle entry
Car thieves now have a new way of entering locked vehicles. Many automakers have opted to replace physical ignition systems with keyless systems using mobile applications or wireless key fobs. As a result, today’s vehicles are susceptible to illicit entry by intercepting the wireless communication between the vehicle and the mobile app.
Theft of personally identifiable information (PII)
Today’s connected cars collect a significant amount of data and interface with multiple after-market devices. Financial information, personal trip information, location information and entertainment preferences are increasingly at risk of being accessed through a vehicle’s telematics or infotainment system.
Manipulation of a vehicle’s operation
Catastrophic incidents resulting in personal injury and lawsuits may well be in the near future. Cybersecurity researchers have demonstrated several proof-of-concept attacks where they were able to control the braking and steering of a car by accessing the adaptive cruise control system.