By 2027 there will be 367 million connected cars on the road, up from 192 million today. At the core of this growth is 5G’s high speed and low-latency capabilities and the ability for this technology to be both built-in to vehicles and retrospectively added.
Soon, we expect connectivity to be as important to drivers as electric charging is to electric vehicles (EVs). The promise of connected cars is a massively elevated driving experience through features like remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance, and personalized infotainment services. But as with how low fuel range was a criticism of EVs, if most connected vehicle features stop working when they reach international borders, it is no exaggeration to say that poor consumer experience will erode the business case for a connected car industry.
For Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) looking to capitalize beyond providing the hardware for connected cars, they need to be clear about where they stand between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) who are providing the connectivity and the GAFAM companies – Google (Alphabet), Apple, Facebook Meta), Amazon and Microsoft – providing digital services. For instance, a JD Power survey found that nine out of ten (89%) of customers are willing to pay a subscription for improved safety features – something OEMs have full control over – but will spurn such options that too closely resemble what they already have on their phones.
The idea that a vehicle is the best it can ever be on the day of purchase is also set to change – and with it, the traditional customer lifecycle. Over-the-air (OTA) updates can transform the customer/OEM relationship, making it a lot more direct. And that direct relationship can extend far beyond the first owner of a vehicle. In a world where sustainable vehicles will spend a lot longer in circulation, especially when they’re usable abroad, that’s a genuinely transformative development.
Connectivity Can’t Cease Between Countries
Cars exist to get us places and the breakdown of functionality across borders should not but sadly often is an impediment to continued connected car take-up. As the European Commission highlighted: “Cross-border connectivity is essential for the deployment of connected and automated vehicles, as it enables vehicles to communicate with each other and with the infrastructure across borders.”
CBC is fundamental to supporting the growth of the automotive industry by ushering in the era of the software-defined vehicle. OEMs need to work together with adjacent industries to eliminate barriers to adoption and investment in the technology infrastructure and rules and regulations that ultimately decide whether connected cars will be worthwhile of widespread adoption among consumers.
At Cubic, we think CBC is the cross-border connectivity helps solve many of the following challenges:
- Regulatory compliance: In the past due to different countries having differing regulations around areas such as safety, emissions and privacy, connected cars have been limited to specific countries, communities and corridors. But CBC technology helps manufacturers and service providers ensure compliance with these regulations by allowing software to adapt the alerts and functionality of a vehicle to meet specific regional requirements as it crosses borders.
- Globalized automotive supply chain: CBC will play a critical role in managing the complexity of co-ordinating operations across countries. Automatic updates will ensure a vehicle made in the USA will comply with local regulations and content on arrival in a foreign market.
- Telematics / data exchange: CBC enables the transmission/receipt of data wherever the vehicle is in the world. This will allow OEMs to monitor vehicle performance, gather diagnostics and deliver over-the-air (OTA) updates. The ability to manage these systems remotely through cross-border connectivity reduces the complexity of vehicle maintenance and improves the overall user experience.
- Customer experience: CBC allows seamless access to services and data regardless of location. Navigation systems, in-car entertainment, and emergency services all rely on cross-border connectivity to ensure no drop or change in service thereby reducing complexity for users and enhance the overall driving experience.
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