Telematics West Coast; day 1 of connected car data, discussion, apps and new concepts

slidshotIf you were a car maker, analyst, developer or journalist and wanted to find out the state of in-vehicle connected car technology, you could learn everything in two days of intense information sessions at Telematics West Coast in San Diego. There was a plethora of information about car apps, infotainment systems, product development, sales tools, data, security and car maker’s legal responsibilities. Here is a summary of what happened on the first day. Day two will be published later.

Open Source Software for Car Makers

Jaguar Land Rover’s Matt Jones, Senior Technical Specialist, Infotainment, showed how they are working to develop open source software, Automotive Grade Linux and GENIVI, to allow over-air updates, and all the latest in connected infotainment.  When car makers share the core code, they can have a faster development cycle.

Data Helps Ford

Dr Michael Cavaretta, Data Scientist and Manager, Ford was interviewed by Liz Kerton, Executive Director, The Autotech Council. He explained that cars generate so much data, car makers have to know what data to look at. Ford uses collected data for production planning,  sales forecasting,  product development, safety and energy management. Ford is open to innovation and the mobility of the Internet of things.

Many Ways to Make $$ with Data

Praveen Chandrasekar, Automotive Market Analyst, Frost & Sullivan, gave an in-depth presentation  of case studies and data around big data in vehicles and how they can be profitable.  Data offers value to the driver, dealers, OEMs, and environment.  For example, data used to smart parking, uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions.  A smart parking pilot  reduced parking congestion in peak hours by 22% and off-peak by 12%.

Another ways data can be profitable is the Mojio system where an OBDII port device is building a marketplace that will give ad offers such as Jiffy Lube. OBDII devices are also used for insurance apps. With 20% of new car leads for dealers are digital, car data can be used to predict new sales leads and advanced warranty notices, diagnostics, personalized service and in road charging

The challenges to monetizing big data are there’s a shortage of talent, data privacy, security and services may involve a third-parties. BMW reduced  warranty repairs by 5% and reduced repeat repairs by 50% through data analysis.  Data can also be used to predict recalls or for commercial fleet analysis.  In order for data monetization to be deployed,  hardware should have fire walls and digital certificates

AUPEO! Offers API for Simple GUI IVI

David Taylor, Managing Director and CTO, AUPEO! GmbH, pointed out that most auto infotainment frameworks are very complex and confusing to users.  AUPEO! is compatible with many car systems. Smartphones are also too complex to operate while driving can be used but not as a core service in the car.  Bluetooth is major favorite use of in-car systems by drivers. Consumers are frustrated, car makers have been putting too much in the car infotainment systems. Both the car and the infotainment system have to start in two seconds or the drivers become frustrated AUPEO! is easy to use and lets car makers create a personal, safe, contextual and Quality of Service. The interface has simple buttons for traffic and like/dislike.  The API offers low overhead for head units.

No More Bad UX – Make it Contextual

Rick Kreifeldt, Vice President, Research & Innovation, Harman envisions “The Car That Knows You Best” with an HMI (Human Machne Interface) that does not “suck”. He suggests that OEMs spends hundred of hours in development and pray that J.D. Power does not pan the system. He suggests A/B testing using crowd sourcing from the public for feedback.  He also likes the idea of the content delivered is in context with what the driver is doing such as flight information when near an air port and better maps that know a road is dirt road and not the best way to get out of town.  The head unit can play music according to the driver and what mood the driver is in. He especially likes real-time traffic with alternative route suggestions. Other suggestion include larger displays, voice controls that work properly and information that is proactive and helpful.  If advertising is offered it has to match the personality of the driver.  For example, Kreidfeldt does not like it when streaming audio plays single dating ads while his wife is in the car.

Weather is Better When You Get the Forecast Early

Chris Carr, Director of Business Development, Baron Services showed how Baron’s weather data can be used to help drivers in the cases of severe wind, snow, flooding, patching ice and other extreme weather. Baron offers accurate data that used by most TV forecasters. Weather conditions can be delivered before the driver hits the fog.  The weather forecasts from this company are very accurate, when I asked their meteorologist about the impending rain on Saturday, he said it would rain between 3:00 am and 9:00am in the morning. I awoke at 3:30 am to the sound of rain.

Afternoon of Discussion of Discoveries

The afternoon sessions focused on panel discussions among pundits in the automotive business.  Unfortunately, the current state of infotainment systems is fragmented and there is room for improvement.  Technology is moving faster than the car makers can keep up with it. Cars have a much longer life cycle than smartphones.  Voice commands are more difficult in cars because of the car noise. If there is a problem with the connection or integration of smartphones the car maker gets sued. Connecting devices with a cable is not the answer, people don’t like to connect cables, noted a panelist. Turning infotainment over tho Apple of Google is not the best solution for drivers. There is also a threat of government mandates noted one panelist.

“The bigger threat is when drivers don’t use systems designed for cars. There are too many people holding devices in their hands while driving with earbuds in their ears, ” said Ted Cardenas, Vice President, Car Electronics Division, Pioneer Electronics.

Security and Openness

Many panelists were mum on security of in-car systems Scott Burnell, Global Lead, Business Development & Partner Management, Ford  which has a huge fear factor for some.  noted that Ford takes security very seriously. OBDII devices can only read data and can not write to the Can Bus. Ford has open apps system and hosts hackathon. It donated code to Automotive Grade Linux and GENIVI to share with other car makers. He suggests that car makers band together to share code.  Android is successful because it is open source and shares code.

It may not be in the best interest of OEMs to create a standardized interface because car makers use the HMI as a way to differentiate models and from competitors.

Tim Streck, Director, Sales Engineering Team, INRIX showed how INRIX real-time traffic data can be very useful for drivers.  INRIX developed the app for BMW 3/8 that shows not only traffic but battery level and closest charging stations.

Contextual help was also suggested in later panels, such as looking for hotels, restaurants, parking and delivery in a way that is with distraction such as stopping text messages while the car is driving at high speeds, offering messages like “I’m driving now, I will contact you later.”

Panelists note that if advertising is not contextual it is annoying.  People don’t trust the  Apple, Google or the government but they do trust car makers.

Cars have more codes of software than a fighter jet. All systems are separate ECU modules.  It is very difficult to get infotainment systems to work quickly because of the safety measures needed between the systems noted João Silva, Ph.D, Senior Systems Architect, General Motors.