Laird’s MAX Connected Car Platform Offers Linux Security

British technology company Laird is expanding its footprint in the connected vehicle market with the launch of a scalable module for secure Internet connectivity inside and outside of the vehicle.

The Modular Automotive Connectivity Solution (MAX) platform comprises an open software concept, a Linux-based security module and Laird’s integrated antenna system.

The platform can be integrated into a Laird system, including the control unit and antenna, and used for external service providers as the basis for a back-end connection or for app development.

“Services are critical and convenient for the driver and the auto ecosystem,” Cristina Cipriani, Laird’s product marketing manager for connected vehicle solutions, told The Connected Car.

Cipriani explained connectivity and network coverage are basic challenges to be considered with connected vehicles, noting that in areas with no mobile network coverage a satellite-based connectivity is required, which is expensive in terms of product cost and data plans.

Applications that could be implemented on MAX include Internet gateway functionality, a remote diagnostic tool, a remote-control system, location functions and driver statistics, Cipriani said.

“The car should serve as a WiFi hotspot, should guarantee a safe use of the mobile phone by travelling and a good video streaming for passengers and children during a long drive to that loved vacation place,” Cipriani explained. “We believe that with the implementation of the 5G network even more possibilities will be at disposition of the driver.”

The platform could also enable a range of services including advanced diagnostics for maintenance, theft protection, over-the-air software updates and vehicle location services.

With platforms such as MAX, any potential mishpaps on the road — accidents, road work, other unpredictable events — could be easily communicated on the fly by real-time alarms, Cipriani said.

Those alarms could also involve the ability to offer the driver alternatives by switching to public transportation, including the search of the related parking place, paying for it directly by the car.

“This set of services should be at disposition of any driver, now, or in the very next future,” Cipriani said.

She also pointed out that for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) connectivity there are different technology solutions resulting in a slow adoption rate due to uncertainty about what the technology will be the winning one.

Worldwide sales of connected cars are expected to reach 72.5 million in the next five years, according to a recent report from industry analyst IHS Markit.

The company forecasts total global sales of self-driving cars will reach 21 million in the year 2035, up from nearly 600,000 units in 2025, meaning that in only over eight years, almost 70% of passenger vehicles sold will be exchanging data with external sources — bringing new services and business models to bear in automotive markets.

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