TU-Automotive Detroit 2016: The future of connectivity and the user experience

How connectivity affects and is affected by trends and technology



TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 exhibition floor
TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 exhibition floor

 The TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 conference was held from June 8 through June 9, 2016, in Novi, Michigan, U.S. The conference hosted over 3,000 attendees and featured presentations on automated vehicles, connected vehicles, and mobility. The theme of the 2016 conference was, “Collaborate to put Auto in the IoT (Internet of Things) Driving Seat”. As the automotive markets integrate more technology into vehicles, systems that collect and transmit data become more important. Connectivity is essential in both V2X communications and providing information for the vehicle.

 This report focuses on presentations given at TU-Automotive Detroit 2016 related to connectivity and the user experience within the vehicle. Topics in this report include the role of connectivity in future automotive technologies and the ownership experience, technologies with the potential to influence the future of connectivity, and changes in user interface and user experience systems. This report is the third of three reports which details the discussion sessions held at TU-Automotive Detroit 2016. Previously released reports highlighted presentations on autonomous vehicles and technology, and mobility perspectives.

Related reports: TU-Automotive Detroit 2016
Perspectives on autonomous vehicle development
Advancement of Mobility Drives Automotive Changes

Importance of connectivity for the automotive market

Connectivity as a cornerstone of future automotive development

Session: We’re Connected! What Comes Next for Automotive?
Company Speaker Title
INRIX Bryan Mistele CEO
Diagram of automotive trends and specific examplesSource: INRIX
Diagram of automotive trends and specific examples
Source: INRIX
Survey results showing usage and interest of connected services based on purpose
Source: Accenture
Survey results showing usage and interest of connected services based on purpose
Source: Accenture

 In the session titled, “We’re Connected! What Comes Next for Automotive?” Bryan Mistele outlined the importance of connectivity in the automotive industry. He mentioned that the industry was currently at an inflection point based on four automotive trends: the autonomous vehicle, the connected vehicle, the electric vehicle, and the shared vehicle. A common theme in all four trends is the importance of data. Connectivity allows vehicles to gather and transmit data, which is then utilized to support the other three trends. Bryan Mistele believed that the combination of connectivity with the market’s tendency to solve issues such as congestion and convenience, created this inflection point of technology.

 Bryan Mistele stated that there are currently between 200 and 400 sensors on the connected car collecting data. In order to emphasize the amount of data available for connected cars, he presented a visualization of data for a case study of how INRIX is providing information to the connected car to help drivers in Cologne, Germany. The study demonstrates how information such as real-time traffic, road weather conditions, and on-street parking can be delivered to the driver through the connected car. The importance of connectivity can also be seen by the positive perception that the general public holds in regards to the technology. According to a 2015 Accenture survey, the majority of people are interested or already using connected services for productivity, entertainment, or information.

 One current issue facing the connected car is the fact that there is no common platform or standards for connectivity. Additionally, the platforms that are developed are not optimized for the automotive market. As such, software developers often need to develop multiple versions of their programs to fit on different platforms. INRIX suggested its Open Car platform as a possible solution, as it provides a framework and development tools for automakers to design their own software and implement their own features.

Impact of the connected car on the ownership experience

Session: A Fixed Ops Platform: Transforming the Connected Car Ownership Experience
Company Speaker Title
XTime Mir Baqar Vice President, Product Solutions
Cox Automotive David Liniado Vice President, New Ventures
Survey results regarding ownership experienceSource: Cox Automotive
Survey results regarding ownership experience
Source: Cox Automotive
Categories of opportunities provided by connectivitySource: Cox Automotive
Connectivity opportunity categories
Source: Cox Automotive

 The presentation titled, “A Fixed Ops Platform: Transforming the Connected Car Ownership Experience” highlighted the importance of the ownership experience in business, and explained how the connected car would affect the ownership experience. Mir Baqar presented a series of statistics showing how a customer’s service experience at a dealership affects business. For example, 85% of consumers stated that their service experience influenced the future chances of purchasing another vehicle from the same dealership and brand. As consumers interact primarily with the dealer, the dealership represents both itself and the OEM. If a dealership is able to provide value and a worthwhile experience to the customer, it can gain future benefits through customer loyalty and retention.

 David Liniado presented the results of a study, which showed that while 14% of the general public understood what the term “connected car” meant, 62% were receptive to featuring new technology in the car. The connected car represents technology that can provide a variety of opportunities to improve the ownership experience. These connected opportunities include providing information about the vehicle through sensors; improving the driver experience by sharing navigation information; providing entertainment to passengers with music, videos or other media; and establishing a connection to the world by showing nearby locations of interest. In order to optimize the ownership experience, the connected car has to provide services that are personalized, convenient, contextual, and integrated into the vehicle.

 There are also opportunities to impact the ownership experience outside of driving through items such as services, roadside assistance, and providing recall information. Notably, David Liniado mentioned a statistic in which 15% of people believe information from the dealer, compared to 85% who believe information provided from the vehicle itself. This shows that customers are more inclined to treat information from the car as data and view information from the dealership as a business transaction. Mir Baqar mentioned results from a study where the connected car created a 10-14% increase in customer retention based on how the connected car assisted with service issues. OEMs and dealerships need to work together in order to provide an optimal ownership experience for both parties to reap the benefits derived from the connected car.

Enhancing connectivity through technology

Kymeta antenna technology enabling connectivity applications

Session: “Fiber to the Car”: Making the Cloud Work for Cars
Company Speaker Title
Kymeta Tom Freeman Senior Vice President, Land Mobile
INRIX Joel Karp Senior Director, Product Management
VoiceBox Technologies Rich Kennewick President
Roof of Toyota Mirai indicating Kymeta antenna installation areas
Roof of Toyota Mirai indicating Kymeta antenna installation areas

 When discussing the connected car experience of the future, Tom Freeman made the comparison of bringing a modern smartphone back in time to the 1960s. While the smartphone has the capability to make phone calls, it can also send text messages, track location, play music, and more. Similarly, while the car of the future will have the capability of moving from point A to point B, it will also contain a number of additional features beyond basic transportation. Kymeta’s newly developed flat panel antenna features two aspects that will enable further connected car applications. The first is the large amounts of data that the antenna can carry. Kymeta’s antenna is capable of delivering a terabyte of data per month for an individual car. Secondly, the antenna is small enough to be easily installed on a vehicle. The antenna operates on the basis that there is much more spectrum available for fixed satellites than for terrestrial mobility applications. Additionally, the spectrum dedicated for satellite frequencies is more efficient at transmitting data.

 The second half of the presentation focused on applications that could utilize the large amounts of data collected through Kymeta’s antenna. Rich Kennewick mentioned that bandwidth is the driver for next-generation AI systems, and presented a third-generation voice recognition system that could take advantage of large volumes of data. The system utilizes deep neural networks and machine learning in order to analyze, anticipate, learn, and understand verbal expressions outside of preprogrammed phrases. Another application is INRIX’s real-time connected driver services. Specifically, INRIX’s Autointelligent technology combines machine learning with connectivity to integrate the in-car and out-of-car experiences. This enables highly personalized experiences by providing information about anticipated trips and preferred routes based on driving habits, as well as proactively alerting the driver on changing road conditions.


Impact of the transition from 4G to 5G on the connected car

Session: Connectivity on its Path from 4G to 5G – Consequences for the Connected Car
Company Speaker Title
Ericsson Juergen Daunis Sales Director, Automotive
Telecommunication standard historySource: Ericsson
Telecommunication standard history
Source: Ericsson
Performance requirements for 5G deploymentSource: METIS
Performance requirements for 5G deployment
Source: METIS
Roadmap for 5G deploymentSource: Ericsson
Roadmap for 5G deployment
Source: Ericsson

 Juergen Daunis opened the presentation by demonstrating the growth of connected devices in the world, from 13.5 billion connected devices in 2014 to an expected 26 billion devices in 2020, with most of the growth coming from machine to machine (M2M) devices. This not only corresponds to a shift in growth in the Internet of Things but also represents the first time that industry segments hold influence over the development of networks. As such, 5G is more driven by industry requirements than consumer requirements. Juergen Daunis pointed out that a new generation of cellular technology is developed approximately every ten years. Notably, the transition from 4G to 5G is unique in that 5G doesn’t require a new infrastructure system as opposed to previous generations. Rather, the shift from 4G to 5G is an evolution of the LTE technology that currently exists.

 In regards to the connected car, the implementation of 5G allows for a variety of use cases:

  • Ubiquitous use of sensors, both within the vehicle and outside the vehicle
  • Media (HD audio, video) delivery across all locations
  • The operation of smart vehicles, both in vehicle communication and data gathering
  • Communications, monitoring, and control of infrastructure
  • Remote operations of various devices
  • Interactions between people and the Internet of Things

 The requirements for the implementation of 5G can be divided into two categories based on the nature of its usage. Critical communications which require minimal latency represent one end of the performance range, where reliability needs to be maximized, and communication speed is essential. The other end of the performance range encompasses cases where large amounts of information need to be transmitted. In this case, data rates and efficient data transmission become more important. 

 Finally, Juergen Daunis presented a development roadmap for 5G wireless communications. Notable timings include trials by both AT&T and Verizon before 2017 and a large trial during the PyeongChang Olympics in Korea in 2018. By 2019, Ericsson expects that 73% of operators will have ongoing trials for 5G, with first commercial deployments occurring in 2020 during the Tokyo Olympics. Juergen Daunis reiterated that industry requirements are driving 5G standardization and as such, the connected car plays a role in both the transformation of the automotive industry and in being a significant part of the value chain.

Drivers of change in the user experience

Automotive-grade assistant leverages technology range to assist drivers

Session: Delivering the Intelligent, Contextual Automotive Assistant
Company Speaker Title
Nuance Eric Montague Senior Director, Product Marketing & Strategy Automotive

 While personal assistance systems can currently be found in devices such as smartphones, Eric Montague described three objectives that an automotive assistance system needs to be able to accomplish:

  • The system needs to be able to assist the driver throughout the entire journey. The system should not only provide assistance during the trip, but should also help plan and prepare the trip, manage any parking needs, and if necessary, assist the driver to the destination from where the vehicle is parked.
  • The system needs to be able to perfectly meet any driving-related needs that the driver has. This includes being able to provide navigation information, provide entertainment, notify the driver of any vehicle issues, and give contextual information on potential locations of interest.
  • The system has to be able to think for the driver and help the driver stay focused. Ideally, the system should have the capability to reduce the mental burden on the driver by making decisions and solving problems for the driver.

 Eric Montague explained that in order for an automotive assistance system to provide these capabilities, it would need to utilize three types of technologies: interaction technologies, AI, and knowledge-based systems. Interaction technologies provide the interface for the driver to communicate with the system and includes tools such as speech recognition, voice biometrics, and natural language understanding capabilities. The AI gives the assistant the capability to think and make decisions and includes machine learning and contextual reasoning. Finally, the system uses knowledge-based systems as an information database to base its decisions on. The assistance system gains data from sensors, the cloud, contextual clues, and even driver preferences.

 An example of how the automotive assistant could work was shown, based on a request to find a parking spot. The assistant provides a suggestion, to which the driver responds by asking for something more specific. This process is repeated until the driver agrees with the assistant’s recommendation, upon which the driver can issue another request for the assistant to manage. A flowchart illustrating this example is shown below. Eric Montague also presented Nuance’s Dragon Drive Automotive Assistant, which was announced at CES 2016. The Dragon Drive Automotive Assistant combines the company’s voice, cloud, and connectivity components to provide a range of features. The Dragon Drive platform is already deployed in over 140 million vehicles.

Flowchart detailing interaction process with automotive assistantSource: Nuance
Flowchart detailing interaction process with automotive assistant
Source: Nuance

Volvo user interface development and future connectivity opportunities

Session: Inside the Volvo Showroom of Tomorrow
Company Speaker Title
Volvo Car Group Petter Hörling Director, US R&D Tech Center
Telecommunication standard historySource: Ericsson
Volvo user experience pyramid model
Source: Volvo Car Group
XC90 interior innovations Source: Volvo Car Group
XC90 interior innovations
Source: Volvo Car Group

 Petter Hörling opened his presentation by emphasizing Volvo’s philosophy of customer-centric design, focusing on the customer’s needs and perspective. As such, Volvo has developed a pyramid model for improving user experiences. According to Volvo, the foundation of a positive user experience is based on first removing dissatisfaction by creating a reliable, functional system. Once that has been accomplished, development can then focus on enhancements that generate satisfaction and emotionally appeal to the customer.

 Volvo’s philosophy can be seen in the interior design of the new XC90. In the XC90, the driver has three primary sources of vehicle information: the HUD, the instrument cluster, and the center display. Information that the driver requires immediately, such as speed and safety alerts, is displayed on the HUD, as that system is typically closest to the driver’s line of sight. The instrument cluster shows information that is not immediately important such as navigation and autonomous features, while the center display is used for deferrable information, such as entertainment options or comfort controls. In addition, the interior features a variety of options that enhance the usability of the interface. For example, the center touchscreen utilizes a four-tile home screen which enables quick access to navigation, media, phone, and a user-customized function. 

 Petter Hörling also pointed out available opportunities generated by the connected car and available data. Using this data, companies can monitor usage behavior, user interests, perform remote diagnostics, and monetize specific data sets. However, he also noted that the automotive industry hasn’t been able to take advantage of this due to issues regarding data privacy, the lack of cooperation between companies, and the lack of a set of standards on data. Other programs and projects that Volvo is currently engaged in include the Drive Me program, the world’s first large scale public pilot for self-driving cars which will deploy 100 cars in 2017. Volvo is involved in a connected safety program which can detect icy roads and send information to the cloud, which other vehicles can then download to know which roads to avoid. Notably, this solution can easily be scaled upward by integrating additional sensors from other vehicles or infrastructure.

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