Monday 26th August 2019

How remote access technology will transform the automotive industry: Part 2

Published on November 1st, 2017

As we saw the first 3 points in Part 1 yesterday, the remaining points of the article continue below.The automotive market is increasingly saturated and competitive, compelling car manufacturers to find new ways to differentiate themselves through the connected ‘experience’ they can offer, says Tom Blackie, head of Automotive at RealVNC.

Here are the remaining three of six ways in which we predict that remote access technology will transform future vehicles over the next decade.

  1. Vehicles will ‘talk’ to smart cities

Cities are becoming increasingly congested. The proportion of the global population living in urban areas will reach 70% by 2050, and with growing car ownership, many cities will quickly approach gridlock.

This will spur a dramatic shift towards the development of cars that use cloud computing and remote access technology to communicate with ‘smart cities’ that collect and analyse data about transport movements to move people and goods more seamlessly, efficiently and smoothly.

Cars will exchange data with city infrastructure such as ‘smart’ traffic lights that will change their sequences in response to the size of the vehicle or the amount of traffic, prioritising ambulances and bikes ahead of lorries. Cars could also exchange live data with police, highways agencies and local authorities to predict and avoid hazards.

Location-based hazard forecasts from nearby vehicles, traffic lights, police forces and weather agencies could be superimposed onto the drivers windscreen through Augmented Reality Head Up Displays.

Truck fleets will be run by all-inclusive control centres that draw on real-time data feeds on everything from speed and acceleration to fuel load, constantly rearranging vehicle movements to avoid hazards ahead, pick up unexpected loads or compensate for breakdowns.

Future remote access technology could enable the sharing of real-time audio, video and images between cars and dealerships, highways agencies or control centres, with drivers receiving audio instructions to change direction or images of approaching hazards.

This would create ‘intelligent’, responsive vehicle fleets that communicate with external agencies and infrastructure to predict and prevent gridlock or accidents and dramatically improve delivery times.

2. Cars will be remote-controlled from call centres

We could see the first ever cars with no steering wheels or drivers on the roads of California by the end of 2017 and Britain is already testing driverless shuttle buses and cars. Yet it is unlikely that cars will be fully driverless for some time. Instead, the absence of a human at the wheel will necessitate a new way for cars to be ‘driven’ through remote access technology, known as ‘teleoperation.

To manage the emergence of driverless cars, remote human intervention will be required, in order to avert accidents caused by software faults or cyber-attacks. As Nissan’s R&D chief recently admitted: “We will always need the human in the loop.”

Future advances in technology will give driverless vehicle operators unprecedented real-time control and oversight over vehicles. This could see buses and cars being remotely guided around cities from call centres while repair services ‘remote in’ and fix issues or re-route them to nearby service stations.

New technology will see driverless vehicles ‘ping’ a control centre if they encounter obstacles while an operator will remotely view the car sensors, from cameras to radar, and issue remote guidance. High-speed, low-latency screen-sharing technology could even enable autonomous vehicles to be remotely steered around cities by operators in control centres.

3. ‘Cyber security ‘help-desks’ for cars

Cyber security vulnerabilities in cars have recently triggered the mass recalls of vehicles and seen security researchers demonstrate how to hack vehicles, leading to increased consumer scepticism towards the connected car. For example, research from McKinsey found that 37% of consumers won’t even consider buying a connected car, due to fears over data privacy and security.

Tom Blackie

In the US, a solution to this is being discussed. The Senator Markey report said that automotive firms needed to do more to provide remote support and ‘over-the-air’ security updates for their vehicles, similar to how IT helpdesks can ‘remote in’ to an offsite worker’s laptop to address a virus.

In response to this, we will begin see cyber experts log in to car dashboards to fight cyber-attacks or patch critical vulnerabilities in real-time, on the road. Teams of IT experts at control centres and dealerships could help remotely diagnose automotive software faults, advise drivers and even issue remote software upgrades from anywhere in the world.

The author of this blog is Tom Blackie, head of Automotive at RealVNC

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