If you’ve purchased a new vehicle in the past decade, chances are it is connected in some way. Interfaces like Bluetooth allow drivers to pair their smart phones with their vehicle’s entertainment system, and GPS mapping provides the quickest route to their destination and information about traffic.
As the automotive industry refines existing technologies and embraces new ones, like artificial intelligence, the driving experience will soon become more connected than ever before. Technologies like vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) will allow cars to communicate with each other and the existing infrastructure, like traffic lights.
According to Gartner, there will be more than 250 million connected vehicles on the road worldwide by 2020, which translates to one in every five vehicles with wireless connectivity.
One of the biggest challenges is that automotive companies are designing their own in-vehicle operating systems, while others are using commercial platforms. Each commercial platform provides its own connectivity both inside the car, and outside. As a matter fact, connectivity between head units and devices brought inside the car are currently closed silos. Similarly, data generated by cars (connected vehicles’ location, driving patterns, routing, and even information about the car itself) are all communicated out to the cloud in proprietary manners.
Open Connectivity Foundation’s mission is to build a well-accepted interoperability framework for the diversity of the Internet of Things, including smart home, smart cities, and e-health. As a consequence, it is no surprise that the Open Connectivity Foundation’s Automotive Project was formed two years ago to explore the business and technical opportunities for OCF in the automotive IoT space. Its goal is to enable device and auto makers to securely interconnect and offer new functionality and services to improve the driving experience.
OCF Automotive Working Group Chair Don Dulchinos of Eonti is focusing on ensuring in-vehicle entertainment centers and devices interoperate, regardless of manufacturer. Streaming audio and GPS navigation already come standard with most cars, but OCF is working toward a more seamless interconnection between smartphone and tablets brought in the car. Beyond just connecting devices, the group is also working to ensure a seamless transition between home and car, and to create a scenario where your home gets warmer as your car arrives closer to your home.
Security is another focus of the OCF Automotive Project, and mapping the OCF security model into the automotive space is another major task. The automotive industry has not yet agreed on an interoperable and reliable security framework, while OCF has been working hard to deliver a security model where devices can be authenticated and authorized, as well as a model accepted by the largest consumer electronics manufacturers.
A typical security challenge occurs when connected vehicle ecosystems overlap. One example of a security issue is a public charging station for electric cars; that charging station exists in both the automotive and the electric utility domain, which may be covered by different security models. If the station is not adequately secured, hackers could use it to steal credit card information as drivers charge their vehicles. The OCF security model insures cross-domain interoperability and trust.
Automotive IoT is a rapidly changing environment as cars become increasingly connected. Beyond the above described scenarios of collaboration between connected car, and on the other side, smart home and smart grid, there are many more that OCF can improve, such as communicating with smart cities to lower traffic congestion. That’s why OCF’s standards can contribute solutions to ensure devices and vehicles can connect securely and reliably to the internet and each other.