As part of the digitisation process, more and more everyday objects are being linked to the internet. This so-called Internet of Things (IoT) – a term to describe everyday objects that have been networked through the internet – increasingly includes vehicles, in which numerous processes are now carried out electronically. The term connected car refers to vehicles that can communicate with their surroundings and exchange data.
The digitalisation of cars
As yet, there is no legal definition for ‘Connected Car’ or ‘networked vehicle’. Generally a connected car is one that can simply communicate through the internet.
Telematics is a related term, which describes the transfer of information via telecommunications from a connected car to an external server and, therefore, a user. The information gathered from a connected car can be be shared with users within a business, with car manufacturers or with other vehicles.
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Collecting and sharing data
From head-up display and tyre pressure analysis to seat belt tensioning sensors and key-less unlocking, modern vehicles have a plethora of electronic functions, and today networking has extended beyond the vehicle itself. Innovative technology can now identify when a vehicle is in a driver’s blind spot or when a driver is threatening to nod off. Advancements such as these provide greater levels of safety for everyone on the road. This data is usually collected by a plug-in OBD tracker.
This sort of data is crucial, especially when more and more hope is being placed on autonomous driving.
After all, autonomous driving will only have a future if cars can reliably perceive, and quickly analyse both others on the road – including cyclists and pedestrians – and infrastructure, such as traffic lights and road signs. In this way, connected cars are usually associated with driverless cars.
Some examples of data that can be collected by a connected car include:
1. Environmental data
- Road users (other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians)
- Traffic situations (accidents and traffic jams)
- Infrastructure (traffic signs, traffic lights and the condition of the road)
- Weather (fog and precipitation)
2. Vehicle-related data
- Basic data (vehicle model, identification number and registration plate)
- Consumption data (battery levels and fuel consumption)
- Operating data (mileage and speed)
- Technical data (error analysis)
3. Driver-related data
- Driving behaviour (breaking behaviour, vehicle distance and reaction times)
- Journey details (location of the vehicle and journey times)
- Entertainment media (radio, CD and smartphone)
- Settings (temperature and seat settings)
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Is your data protected?
As with all data-sharing innovation, protection and privacy is key. You should always make sure that your data is not shared by unwanted third-parties, is well guarded against hackers and thieves and storage of data is compliant with standard legal regulation.
Fleet managers, for example, dealing with sensitive business data and data of their employees should, therefore, inform themselves thoroughly about how to best handle such data. Installing fleet software with a good track record on data security is paramount.
What connected cars mean for fleets
For commercial vehicles especially, the potential to save time and money and improve operations is huge.
For example, with a GPS live tracking you can check if all your vehicles are where you expect them to be, send the nearest driver to a new customer request and provide customers with precise arrival times. Thievery of vehicles and unauthorised activities can also be monitored.
Users also get an overview of all of their vehicles’ route history and the duration of each job – making sure each route is as optimised and efficient as possible.
By exporting the data shared by a connected car, companies can create timesheets, or verify proof of delivery to customers.
All in all, connected cars are becoming essential to run a business. Demand for connected cars show no sign of diminishing in this age of digitalisation.
Why choosing your connected vehicle provider wisely is so important
While connected vehicles offer endless conveniences to consumers, car manufacturers and their vendors need to consider what a connected vehicle means to consumers’ privacy and physical safety.
As more and more connected vehicles reach the streets, software vulnerabilities arise, and malicious hackers may use mobile networks and wi-fi to exploit these weaknesses.
The opportunity for hackers to gain unauthorised remote access to the vehicle network means that they can compromise sensitive safety systems or misuse personal data. This endangers users’ privacy and physical safety.
Fleet suppliers need to use a cybersecurity system that covers vulnerabilities in their car software and the hidden vulnerabilities that an open-source [or third-party component] may introduce to the connected vehicle system.
Cybersecurity vulnerabilities of connected vehicle systems
Because of the vulnerabilities posed by connected vehicles, it is vital to choose a supplier with credible data protection and cybersecurity credentials. It is those providers who will offer a very safe service.
If you choose a provider that does not offer a safe service, you
- Data theft: With the many interfaced systems in these cars, there is a chance that hackers will steal personal identification information from the car’s systems. Data most at risk include personal and local travel data, entertainment choices, and financial information.
- Manipulation of systems: There is a risk of cybercriminals controlling critical aspects of vehicle safety systems over WIFI or mobile network. For instance, they might disable braking systems or manipulating the navigation control system.
- Third-party risks: Cybercriminals can exploit errors in third-party apps and components. Sometimes suppliers fail to prioritise security in the design of connected vehicle components. This leaves room for hackers to exploit the loopholes through physical connections, mobile networks, and wi-fi.
- Data privacy compliance: Under ePrivacy guidelines, a connected vehicle is regarded as a terminal device. Permission must be provided by all car users when personal information is collected. The provided consent must comply with the GDPR. Connected vehicle system manufacturers and software providers are in a rush to meet these requirements.
It is advisable to buy car products connected to reputable companies such as Vimcar. Vimcar is a German fleet tracking solutions company that follows strict German-certified data regulations and cybersecurity procedures.