The global pandemic has hit the automotive industry (and almost everyone else) hard. Recent projections suggest that the global automobile market is on track to rebound. Connected vehicle sales are a major component of this. Growth is expected to exceed 270% by 2022. This will be further accelerated by 5G’s arrival and the widespread adoption of connected cars in Europe. According to market research, 96% of all new vehicles sold globally will be equipped with connectivity by 2030. This means that the industry can expect a twofold increase in sales since 2020.
What is the driving force behind this?
It is changing how we choose and buy a car. Consumers are now more influenced by entertainment, in-vehicle safety and security features, as opposed to traditional aesthetics and performance. All the hype surrounding new bells and whistles can distract users from more important issues like digital security. However, they should be at the heart of everything.
There has been a steady stream lately of announcements about strategic partnerships with car manufacturers and mobile OEMs. These include phone-based digital keys for cars and plans to develop in-vehicle payment schemes. As automotive manufacturers strive to improve the in-vehicle experience, the 5G era generates excitement. However, the harsh reality is that connected vehicle technologies will need to be able to provide robust cyber security to prevent any brand damage or long-term losses.
It is well-known that smart car keys can pose security risks. There is now a strong focus on the mobile app-based digital key for car opening, starting or summoning the vehicle using a smartphone. This innovation can lead to new attack vectors, making it easier for hackers to gain illegal entry to vehicle systems. Many of these hackers have extensive mobile experience. Although there are strong standards for the Digital Car Key experience and other mobile-to-vehicle experiences, they are not subject to formal cyber security requirements. This can confuse consumers as they may not know which experience is protected.
Therefore, vehicle manufacturers must balance the desire to provide new mobile features with the danger of opening the door to attackers. Security is often a low-level concern as companion apps are often outsourced. They will need to be central to the platform of a manufacturer and considered a key part of overall cyber security architecture.
In-vehicle payments systems are another emerging security concern. This area is expected to see significant growth, with OEM innovations and partnerships with Visa and Mastercard enhancing the customer experience. Vehicles may store highly sensitive information, such as passwords and usernames for payment systems or credit card credentials. It is important to ensure that financial and personal information are kept safe. It is attractive to be able to pay for tolls, fuel, parking, and even your coffee right from your dashboard, but it shouldn’t come at any cost.
2021 will mark a significant year of change. Combining new industry regulation, increased competition, and learning how to deal with the new reality created COVID-19 and its impact on consumer needs will drive a wave for new innovation.
Companies must ensure that their platforms are secure as they create new partnerships, offer new services and establish new revenue streams. It is crucial to provide customers with the necessary investment and consideration to ensure their safety and to drive industry revenue growth.