WEEK

Connected people, connected cars

smartphone

Unlike the future of autonomous vehicles, the one related to connected car is more evident, at least from the users perspective. By 2020 there will be 200 million of them on the roads. Already today millions of drivers take benefits from connected cars and solutions proposed by carmakers are set to improve everyday life, such as navigation, access to a car, parking, and a lot more useful facilities. That convenience is a credit to technology that today raises more and more questions, mostly about safety and privacy.

Behind connected cars stands the Internet. Already today vehicles are equipped with sensors sending information to the onboard computer. That creates an ocean of data. The car can gather information from the outside, for example, as it records system activity, or “memorizes” users’ behavior. The connected car is also the more sociable device. It is able to communicate with other vehicles on the road, exchange information, for example, about hazards and impediments on the road. It would appear that it is a pure benefit to road users. Improvement of safety, and, in a big picture, transposition into better transportation in cities. The smart car can move around smartly. However, the more elements connected to the Internet, the more often one asks questions regarding security. What would happen if hackers decided to get access to the car? Could such vehicle transform into a big remote control car?

Carmakers and tech companies as well understand how important appropriate safeguards are for the automotive industry. However, cybersecurity will never be giving absolute security in a car as well as on the computer. Nonetheless today already cars can have the software updated in a real-time, like computers and smartphones. Thanks to that, one can remove bugs in the software quickly, and remotely. Development of 5G network will accelerate this process. Security is also a concern in another context. All data collected by the car can become a target of a hacker attack. All information will then fall into the wrong hands. It could be data not only about oil level and state of car’s brakes but also personal information. It may relate to our driving habits, including speeding, and usually traveled routes, apps installed on the smartphone (today already one integrates phones with car systems).

An enormous amount of data collected by the car is causing concerns not only about leaks but also about who will possess data and for what the owner uses it. Car manufacturers will naturally have access to the information, but questions remain about possibilities of trading that data, and providing it to other companies. Will it become the norm to pay an insurance depending on our driving style?

We can see now that connected car means a lot of information, questions, and opportunities.