Weekly Brief: Product and services news from TU-Automotive Detroit 2017

The annual connected car bonanza that is TU-Automotive Detroit is behind us. Andrew Tolve reports on the biggest product announcements from the show.

More than 3,300 connected car experts and enthusiasts from 30 countries descended on Novi, Michigan, for TU-Automotive Detroit 2017. There were self-driving cars in the parking lot, 150 companies demonstrating the latest solutions for connected vehicles in the exposition hall plus keynotes and breakout sessions exploring future trends and challenges for automotive mobility.

Safety and security was a hot topic at the show. IBM and Harman demonstrated a joint solution for automotive security analytics. The combination of Harman’s cybersecurity suite and IBM's QRadar security platform offers automakers on-board detection and mitigation of a range of security events like ransomware, SMS spoofing, compromised dongle and multi-step wireless attacks. It also provides a backend analysis and forensic system so carmakers can manage and resolve the threats across all susceptible vehicles.

BlackBerry launched an automotive monitoring system meant to curb the threat of cyber hackers. The QNX Hypervisor 2.0 creates virtual software containers so that any breach in a single car functional domain can be isolated and does not impact or create vulnerabilities in other domains of the car. If a hacker breaks into an infotainment system, for instance, they wouldn’t be able to take control of the digital instrument cluster.

Qualcomm is the first major automotive supplier to adopt QNX Hypervisor 2.0 as part of certain digital cockpit solutions. The company said that it will integrate BlackBerry’s security solution into its Qualcomm Snapdragon 820Am operating system, enabling carmakers to cut down on hardware costs and complexities.

Despite their potential, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-anything (V2X) technologies represent a new threat vector for vehicles, with unfamiliar cars and roadside units on untrusted public networks able to communicate with a vehicle's on-board unit (OBU). Enter Green Hills Software, whose new Platform for Secure Connected Car separates critical software components and offers a V2X OBU Security Toolkit. Green Hills showed off the solution with its first two partners,Autotalks and Commsignia.

The need to improve mapping was another recurring theme. TomTom announced that it will now be updating its maps weekly for TomTom business customers. That's four times faster than previously and twelve times faster than the industry standard of quarterly updates. More up-to-date maps means better, more accurate automotive applications, which is crucial for the safe operation of self-driving cars.

TomTomand Bosch unveiled an HD map that allows self-driving cars to determine their exact location on a road down to a few centimetres. The Bosch Radar Road Signature map will replace video-based data from vehicle sensors with radar-based data that can be used and generated reliably at night and in conditions of poor visibility. As an extra bonus for carmakers, the Bosch Radar Road Signature only transmits five kilobytes of data to a cloud per kilometre, which is half the bandwidth necessary for video-based mapping.

A second alternative to video-based data emerged at the conference: Caruma Technologies and RoadBotics unveiled a platform that uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to identify road damage and other anomalies. Caruma's artificial intelligence-based connected-vehicle platform will incorporate RoadBotics' algorithms, data collection engine and the processing to deliver advanced information on road surfaces, features, object detection and analysis.

Excelfore announced the eSync Alliance, a global community of automotive suppliers working cooperatively to provide standardised and interoperable over-the-air (OTA) and diagnostic-data solutions. The goal is to allow carmakers to develop and deploy fully connected cars in less time and money and with fewer risks owing to interoperable software-driven sensors and controllers. Automotive suppliers Molex and Alpine are the first to join the Alliance.

Ridecell announced that its technology is powering Omni, a new car-sharing network by carmaker Skoda in Poland. Omni allows customers to pick up and drop off Skoda vehicles at parking stations throughout the Warsaw metropolitan area, all via a simple app-based registration process and remote lock/unlock capabilities.

Away from Detroit, Honda announced that it plans to have Level 4 self-driving cars on the road by 2025. That would mean that autonomous Hondas will be trundling off the factory floor in just eight years, fully capable of navigating highway and city driving without driver intervention. Honda has already committed to a deadline of 2020 for Level 3 self-driving cars that can handle highway driving autonomously.

Finally,Reuters has reported that the UK’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover said its mobility services business, InMotion Ventures, would invest $25M (£19.6M) in US ride services company Lyft to help develop and test technology for self-driving cars. InMotion will also supply Lyft with a fleet of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, the automaker said on Monday.

The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU-Automotive analysis with information from industry sources.

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