Weekly Brief: TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 grabs the connected car headlines

In this week’s Brief: TU-Automotive Detroit, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Octo Telematics, State Auto, Movimento, Sierra Wireless, Qualcomm, INRIX, PayByPhone, Symantec, Nissan Airbiquity, Infiniti, VoiceBox, INRIX Open Car platform, TomTom, Volvo, Uber, Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.


When TU-Automotive Detroit launched in 2000, the connected car was little more than a concept, its devotees a fringe group of techies with a passion for cars. Fast forward 16 years to last week’s 2016 conference, where more than 3,000 industry experts and analysts descended on an exhibition hall with 300 booths and 150 presentations devoted to the connected car.

Talk about the power of an idea whose time has come. As always, a raft of announcements and product releases coincided with the event. Let’s take a look back:

The director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Mark Rosekind, was on hand to quell concerns that the US is not doing enough at the federal level to regulate the research and testing of self-driving cars. Rosekind said NHTSA will introduce guidelines for regulations this July but he also cautioned that these guidelines will need to be flexible because the technology could evolve beyond what regulators may be able to imagine.

"We need new safety metrics," Rosekind said. "We also are going to have to broaden our view on the data sources for what those metrics might be. We have laboratory work. We have simulations and real world data."

Octo Telematics launched its insurance telematics solution for fleets in North America. OCTO Fleet provides vehicle and driver intelligence to both the insurer and their fleet policyholders; it’s part fleet management platform, part usage-based insurance suite. OCTO Fleet has already found solid traction in Europe. State Auto is the programme’s first insurance partner in the US.

Movimento partnered with Sierra Wireless to launch a software management system that allows carmakers to update all in-car software simultaneously over-the-air. The idea is to allow a connected car to stay up to speed with current technology, no matter how many years have passed since it first trundled off the factory line. When an automaker needs to upgrade a vehicle’s systems, they just log into the dashboard and select an update campaign. Powerful stuff.

Qualcomm debuted a new Connected Car Reference Platform that makes it easy for carmakers and their suppliers to explore, prototype and commercialise different types of connectivity designs in their vehicles. The platform scales from a basic telematics control unit up to a highly integrated wireless gateway connecting multiple electronic control units. It also enables over-the-air updates so carmakers can future-proof their designs.

INRIX revealed that its popular off-street parking service, which pinpoints available off-street spots and navigates users to them, is set to debut in the US before summer is out. It also announced that it is beefing up the on-street parking component of its product with historical and real-time parking transaction information from PayByPhone. The PayByPhone partnership covers North America, France and the UK.

Symantec launched a cybersecurity solution for the connected car. Dubbed “Symantec Anomaly Detection for Automotive,” the solution uses machine learning to provide passive in-vehicle security analytics that monitor all controller area network bus traffic without disrupting vehicle operations. The solution learns what normal behaviour is overtime and flags anomalous activity that may indicate an attack. It works with virtually any automotive make and model.

Four more years! Nissan extended its partnership with Airbiquity infotainment services through 2020. Airbiquity helped Nissan launch NissanConnect Mobile Apps and Infiniti InTouch Apps back in 2013.

VoiceBox announced that it’s landed a spot in the INRIX Open Car platform. Open Car offers the automotive industry a portfolio of standardised, brand-name automotive apps to create next-generation infotainment experiences.

VoiceBox also launched version 5.0 of its popular VoiceBox Automotive Software Development Kit. The update integrates deep neural networks technology, which enables cars to process complex, contextual conversations. Version 5.0 also allows for the simultaneous processing of user queries in both embedded and cloud systems to optimise the delivery of results.

The 2016 TU-Automotive Awards winners are:

OEM of the year– Volvo Car Group & Ford Motor Company

Telematics Service Provider of the year– Wireless Car

Best Telematics Product/Service– Movimento for Movimento’s Over-The-Air platform

Best Insurance Telematics Product/Service– AXA Global Direct France forYouDrive

Best Active Safety or ADAS Product/Service– Volvo Car for Pilot Assist

Best Auto Mobility Product/Service– Veniam for Veniam

Best Auto Cybersecurity Product/Service– Security Innovation for Aerolink

Best Aftermarket Telematics Product/Service– MagellanGPS for Magellan eXplorist TRX7

Newcomer of the year– PolySync (previously Harbrick Technologies)

Influencer of the year– Julia Steyn, Vice President of Urban Mobility, General Motors

In the 2016 TU-Automotive Hall of Fame are:

Fred Blumer– Co-founder of Hughes Telematics (2006-2011)

Jon Bucci– Vice-president of connected vehicle technology division Toyota (2000-2013)

Francis Dance– ConnectedDrive manager at BMW China & BMW North America (2003-2013)

Chet Huber– President and CEO at OnStar (1995-2009)

Charles M. Link II– Co-founder of Hughes Telematics (2006-2012)

Kevin Link– Co-founder of Hughes Telematics (2006-2012)

Scott McCormick– President of the Connected Vehicle Trade Association (2004-present)

Outside of Detroit, TomTom scored a major win as the provider of all location and navigation content for Volvo’s new infotainment platform. The platform will launch in 2019 in Europe, North America, China, Japan, Korea, Latin America and Africa.

Uber raised eyebrows and some serious funds in Saudi Arabia. The country’s main investment fund, the Public Investment Fund, dropped $3.5Bn (£2.45Bn) into the ridesharing giant, bringing its total fundraising to $11Bn to date. Uber views Saudi Arabia as a springboard for growth in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia wants to decrease its dependence on fossil fuels while providing citizens, and women in particular who are banned from driving in the strict Islamic state, an easier way to get around.

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *