Transforming Vehicle Technology Through Collaboration

Technology is radically changing the way vehicles are manufactured and operate. It is a transformation that requires increased collaboration between industry members to stay ahead of challenges like cybersecurity.
By Karen White

The vehicle industry is undergoing an incredible technology-based transformation that is picking up speed. Consumers tend to just accept today's technology advances that deliver features like self-parking cars and geo-analytical capabilities, but behind the features are sophisticated technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data analytics. The opportunities for innovative startups and suppliers are endless because vehicle technology is still in its earliest stages.

The challenges are also endless because issues like cybersecurity can derail progress. Suppliers, manufacturers and technology companies need to collaborate in order to overcome the challenges while continuing to

transform the industry.

Presenting the Future
One of the most transformative industries today is the vehicle industry. Though new designs have enthralled consumers for more than 100 years, the industry is undergoing a change unlike any other seen in the past. This is all about the future which is presenting itself now. Technologies like AI, machine learning, the IoT, big data and big data analytics are changing the way vehicles are designed, manufactured, operate, and secured, and supply chain processes. As more vehicles are connected to the internet, cybersecurity has become critical, and the only way the industry can progress is by overcoming the cybersecurity threats.

What this means is that the opportunities are endless in the end-to-end vehicle industry. Vehicle production is changing from concept to supplier processes to manufacturing to tracking usage to the advanced technology-based features rapidly becoming common. The integration of the internet and wireless technology into vehicles also created a new challenge – vehicle cybersecurity. Industry members – OEMs, suppliers, commercial dealers and carriers – realize that the only way to fully and securely integrate the various technologies in the vehicles is to collaborate on things like cybersecurity because the challenges are too broad and complex for a single solution. As a result, the Auto-ISAC was formed.

Collaborating to Minimize Risks
Auto-ISAC is the acronym for the "Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center." It is a voluntary group of companies that share intelligence about vehicle cybersecurity risks and strive to collectively make continuous improvements in vehicle cybersecurity capabilities in the global automotive industry.

The nonprofit Auto-ISAC only allows light and heavy duty vehicle suppliers, light and heavy duty vehicle OEMs, and commercial fleet and carrier companies to join at this point, and companies must be privately owned. Members get access to a portal for real-time intelligence sharing, best practices webinars, intelligence summaries, workshops, an annual summit event, crisis notifications, and member contact information.

Security vendors, industry associations, government agencies, researchers and training companies cannot join. However, the Auto-ISAC does have a strategic partnership program that enables collaboration with for-profit companies that sell cybersecurity-related vehicle products and services, industry associations, government and educational organizations, and companies interested in engaging the vehicle industry. Suppliers can join the strategic partnership program and get the ability to participate in monthly community calls, become a sponsor to the annual summit and get a priority booth selection, attend webinar and other events, and network with the auto community. Partners also get website branding on the Auto-ISAC website.

Shooting Points of Light
The formation of the Auto-ISAC reflects the complexity of connected and autonomous vehicles and the challenge of developing secure systems and minimizing risks. AI is fully expected to lead to autonomous vehicles becoming mainstream within a couple of decades, if not sooner. AI is rapidly impacting the entire vehicle production process from beginning to end. What is difficult to understand is the full extent to which AI will transform the automotive industry and ancillary companies like insurance companies.

One of the most recent advances that offers a clue as to the power of AI to change vehicles is the Lidar. The unit shoots millions of laser points at the area and its objects surrounding the car, measures how long it takes for the laser points to return, and determines the distance between a vehicle and an object. Technology then enables the vehicle to process the information and take the right action. Currently, driverless cars are still being tested in the real world, but self-parking vehicles with geo-analytical capabilities are already available to the general public.

The Lidar is just one example of the technology that is transforming vehicles. The industry offers suppliers myriad opportunities. The magazine Wired published the article "Luminar's New Lidar Could Bring Vision to Every Robocar in the World" in April 2018. New technology is expensive, but technology suppliers like Luminar are already working on new enhanced versions of the Lidar that can be mass produced to lower the per-unit cost.

Hitting the Accelerator
Vehicle manufacturing processes will be further enhanced by AI and machine learning. Robots that learn already do a lot of the vehicle assembly work today. AI algorithms can "manage" the expensive equipment via data collection and analyzation produced by sensors, and detect and diagnose anomalies.

Other technologies include 3D printing, voice command responses, and predictive vehicle technology. Predictive vehicle technology is the application of algorithms that manufacturers can use to automate the vehicle setup process to personalize the vehicle in terms of the buyer's application preferences for an entertainment system and connectivity or that predicts safety hazards or performance issues for owners based on an analysis of the vehicle.

It is expected that AI and machine learning will enhance supply chains, too, by enabling more accurate demand forecasts. Predictions are that AI and machine learning will soon enable fully automated systems that self-adjust and make supply chain decisions, made by managers today, to adjust volumes ordered and routes to meet supply.

Harnessing the power of data collection and data analytics is key to the vehicle industry's transformation and transformation of ancillary industries. For example, IoT enables the collection of data for insurance companies and is leading to new services like Cars-as-a-service in which people hail a vehicle via smartphone. One day the car hailed will be a robocar.

It is the tech start-ups, entrepreneurs and existing suppliers that are bringing many of the innovations to market. The vehicle industry's transformation is clearly getting ready to accelerate.