Automotive News

Challenges as Cars Start Talking to Each Other (and Everything Else)

Our VP Automotive Strategy & Products, Michelle L. Avary was featured in Automotive IT News! Read below on Michelle and Jim Motavalli’s conversion about IoT and automotive.


Original article by Jim Motavalli, Automotive IT News

Aeris calls itself  “the complete machine-to-machine communications provider,” which translates as a crusader in the vanguard of cars talking to each other and making The Internet of Things a reality.

Michelle Avary is vice president for automotive products and strategy at Aeris, and therefore the perfect person to talk to about vehicle-to-vehicle communications, also known as V2V. We talked during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but the lessons are about where cars are headed, not where they were yesterday.

V2V is critical to making self-driving vehicles happen, because your car is going to need to know where every other car is, and where it’s going. “We work on making sure V2V transmissions are secure, that data integrity is maintained during over-the-air downloads, and that cars are safe, with a lower cost of ownership,” Avary said.

Before self-driving cars are realized, the over-the-air downloads Avary mentioned—standard now at Tesla Motors—will become common practice across the auto industry. Drivers won’t even necessarily know their software has been updated, because the download will happen in the background through the car’s Wi-Fi connection (soon to be 5G). As Avary points out, this will become a big part of recalls—some cars will be “fixed” without ever going to the dealer’s garage.

A potential bottleneck, Avary said, is the need to trace cars through what may be a succession of owners to get permission to download new content. “They want to tell the owner that the update is coming, what it is, and how long it will take,” Avary said.

She points out fundamental differences in phone and car updates. On the phone, if the update moves your app around or changes its look, no harm done. But when the change is to the car’s visual display—and you’re driving—it could be dangerous. “You may have to relearn your muscle memory,” Avary said.

Avary notes high rates of buy-in for Apple CarPlay among car owners, and wonders how they’ll react to regular updates. “It’s an interesting over-the-air experiment,” she said.

And once V2V is enabled, the billions of daily transmissions will have to be kept secure. The ability to hack into cars was graphically demonstrated on a Jeep recently, but a hacked V2V signal could cause fatal accidents. Security issues have led to auto companies partnering to make sure it’s done right, Avary said.

Finally, Avary said, 2016 will be the year technology determines car-buying behavior. “We’re starting to see that,” she said. “The availability of CarPlay can be a deciding factor. And the quality of a navigation system can date the car. There’s a lot of technology that can’t be installed retroactively.”

That brings to mind all those cars with tech once thought state of the art—CD changers, DVD-based navigation systems, cassette players—does their presence lower the value of used cars? Avary says yes, and I agree with her.

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