Work Remains To Enable Connected Cars, Automotive Security

There is progress with connected cars, and automotive security, but we’re not there yet.


The automotive industry continues to chug along, evolving constantly with focus on a number of technology areas including ADAS applications, electric vehicles, infotainment, and security. And thankfully, there is still time left on the fully autonomous roadmap for these issues to get worked out.

As part of this time of significant changes, the automotive OEMs are continuing to adjust as well. From the perspective of a Tier 3 IP supplier, Ron DiGiuseppe, senior strategic marketing manager, in the solutions group at Synopsys is seeing automakers acknowledge that they can’t do it all, and as such, there are very few OEMs that are designing their own chips. “I certainly see a lot of partnerships occurring, especially with these more complex applications such as autonomous driving. A lot of partnerships are being announced, and that indicates that there isn’t one dominant supplier in the whole supply chain because everyone is engaging.”

He pointed to the BMW, Intel, Mobileye autonomous driving collaboration, as one example. “No one said, ‘BMW is going to do it all,’ or ‘Intel is going to do it all,’ or ‘Mobileye is going to do it all.’ It’s a collaboration.”

At the same time, while the electronics portion of the automotive evolution is progressing very well in many different areas such as ADAS architecture, new vision algorithms, the road towards autonomous driving, DiGiuseppe believes there is still a bit of the waiting game happening in the security realm. “A lot of these ADAS processors that have security features built in such as secure boot or different encryption, but I wouldn’t say that there is any sort of industry alignment in terms of adopting specific standards.”

“We’re still waiting for the industry to coalesce behind some kind of security mechanisms that are standards-driven, and broadly adopted. We still have a way to go in terms of adopting some common standards for security so the handshakes that occur — not just in wired but in wireless, the future 5G — that we have aligned security mechanisms in all those communication standards,” he added.

There is also work to be done to prepare for ADAS, to be sure. In order to deliver ADAS features, one of the essential needs is to provide connectivity in the car. Semico Research Corp. noted that the number of connected vehicles is expanding. In 2015, they project that 17.5% of U.S. manufactured vehicles were connected, expanding to 88% by 2020. On a worldwide basis, 20% of vehicles were connected in 2015, and this is expected to grow to 92% by 2020.

Semico observed that many manufacturers are incorporating 4G and will eventually add 5G connectivity into their vehicles. “Audi claims to have been the first to include connectivity in 2013. Most GM vehicles are connected via OnStar. It is a standard feature in most luxury models and an option in others. Many of the lower end cars use a smartphone and its data plan to be connected,” a new report stated.

Another important point is that while newly manufactured vehicles are rapidly becoming connected, vehicles remain on the road for many years and usually have more than one owner, and even by 2020 the connected vehicle compared to the vehicles on the road will only approach 33%, Semico said.

All told, the market research firm estimates the current average semiconductor value per car is approximately $385 for a total value in 2016 of $41.3 billion. As vehicle sales continue to grow and the semiconductor content increases, the automotive semiconductor market will reach $49 billion by 2020.

With such a healthy market projection, it’s no wonder there is a frenzy of activity as companies across a wide swath of technologies clammer to play a role in the automotive space, both today and in the future.

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