Last week at SAE World Congress, I had the opportunity to discuss with fellow automotive and telecommunications colleagues the challenges we face around connected vehicles and the transition to 5G. It was a great panel session that generated a lot of questions and dialogue.
How much data should they collect? How much should they transmit to the cloud? Is it more cost effective to analyze data locally at the edge of the network? How can they future-proof their vehicles in an environment where computing technology advances every day but vehicles might stay in use for 10 or 15 years or more? How can they give their customers the reliability and availability that they expect at scale?
And while the answers to the questions will continue to evolve as the industry does, I see three trends which make me more optimistic than ever about the connected future.
First, connected vehicle technology is finally going mainstream. One of our customers announced by the end of 2019, 100 percent of the vehicles they produce will have an embedded data modem. Additional OEMs are also ramping up their connected vehicle production. This new connectivity opens an opportunity to create new services and applications for vehicle owners, but only if manufacturers can effectively address the outstanding questions.
For organizations that have been slower to deploy connected vehicle technology, that challenge might seem daunting, but Aptiv has a head start and can help. For more than a decade, OEMs and suppliers have been using our platform for pre-production validation and testing, and that process has provided us with a tremendous amount of valuable experience that will be useful as the technology expands into the production market.
Second, I’m excited about the flexibility that 5G connectivity offers. A lot of the hype around 5G has focused on the increased bandwidth and lower latency that the next-generation of networking will offer, but it’s really the flexibility that is critical because it will enable so many new applications.
5G is an evolution of all the networking standards that have come before it, and it encompasses many different technologies. While previous network generations each relied on a single network, 5G utilizes the existing, 2G, 3G, and LTE networks, as well as new 5G radio-access technology and millimeter-wave technologies.
The really interesting part is that this diverse network architecture will make it possible to support a wide variety of different connected vehicle applications with different networking needs. If you want to build an app that relies on real-time, high-definition video, 5G can support that. If you want to build a simple car locator app, 5G can leverage earlier technologies to support the application cost effectively as well.
This approach will make it possible to offer a host of new consumer services and new applications that we can only imagine now. Today, the Aptiv Connect platform is already enabling logistics and fleet management applications for commercial vehicles, as well as warranty and maintenance reduction applications. We expect that list of applications to grow rapidly over the next few years as 5G technologies come online.
Eventually, this technology will also help usher in the new era of smart cities, where vehicles will communicate with each other and with municipal infrastructure to enhance safety, optimize traffic flows, and improve efficiency on a city-wide scale.
To translate these trends into new business models, the industry requires a couple key elements.
One of the most important is the development of standards. These standards will require cooperation among all the major stakeholders so platforms can work across the diverse range of transportation options available – today and well into the future. The automotive industry has developed standards before and I’m confident that we can do so again — especially when the potential benefits for everyone involved are so great.
Capitalizing on these trends will require the powerful combination of deep automotive knowledge, coupled with an understanding of data analysis, edge computing and the cloud — all areas where Aptiv has established itself as an expert.
The Aptiv Connected Services team is committed to delivering connected vehicles to the mainstream, ultimately making the world safer, greener, and more connected.