How should we connect Vehicles to the Internet?
I believe there are a few key ideas, (which I've encountered at several companies while working with map data providers, traffic data providers, vehicle manufacturers, and software service providers):
- There is a complex ecosystem of hardware, software, and services, involving:
- vehicle manufacturers, such as GM
- in-vehicle information system manufacturers, such as Hitachi
- phone manufacturers, such as Samsung
- phone OSs, such as Android
- phone-car connections, such as Apple CarPlay
- many service providers, such as TomTom Traffic
- many vehicles have their own data connections , via cell or WiFi, used primarily by the manufacturer
- vehicles have unreliable data connections, because they are moving
- phones have become personal identity
- security is paramount
- in-vehicle map and navigation systems:
- require fresh data, and must have their data updated constantly, such as:
- in-vehicle information systems must:
- be personalized with the user's data, such as contacts
- have dealer upgradable system software
- have user upgradable application software
- connect to cell phones, to acquire personal data (contacts, phone, whatever else the user wants)
- still function without the phone connection, so they must cache data
- be modular and upgradable because of the fast pace of hardware evolution
- have carefully designed UI/UX for safe in-vehicle use
- The car is a platform, similar to, but distinct from mobile phones
- Most vehicle manufacturers are starting to work with and contribute to open source.
Infrastructure Fragmentation follows Market Fragmentation
Smartphone OS Market Share, Q3 2014, according to IDC
Other than email and text,
most services only work between people who have the same smartphone OS.
Some Google services are open,
but most services from Apple, Microsoft, and BlackBerry are closed.
Vehicle Market Share, 2011, according to OICA
Top global OEM parts suppliers with Information Systems, 2009, according to autonewsAuto News
Using Parts Suppliers as a substitute for Information Systems
A possible solution:
- Open Standards and Open Source Software
I would like to see a system in which the phone and the car can sync data with each other, following open standards, and respecting security requirements from manufacturers. This can only be done with open standards and open source.
- Data Ecosystem
I imagine a data ecosystem in which services, phones, and vehicles can all talk to each other whenever they have a data connection. Further, mobile platforms should prioritize data exchange by connection cost, saving high bandwidth,
low priority communication for low cost connections such as WiFi. Eventually, we will be able to treat code as data, and push it around these systems as well.
- Data Exchange and Caching
We need a general purpose data sharing and synchronization service, that supports data caching to support the disconnected experience. This service should be as similar as possible for phones and vehicles. This supports the disconnected
experience. I believe there are different classifications of data, each requiring their own specialized data services. Some examples are: contacts, calendar, maps and map overlays, as well as ordinary SQL-DB type data. I also think
that a git-like versioning service may help manage manage secure data.
- Common Computer Language and Presentation Language
The current evironment is fragmented and has led to development thrashing.
HTML5 appears to be the only choice for common presentation. Almost all types of code and UIs can be written with these tools, with exceptions being made for high performance or specialized software.
I think this is simple: Manufacturers and other interested parties approve packages for use on their systems, and publish the SHA1 codes. The receiver can verify the SHA1 with a trusted service before using it.