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Technology Newsmaker Q&A Joe Madden

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 07:00
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Earlier this year, Mobile Experts released a report on automotive Internet of Things (IoT) devices, in which the firm predicted that overall wireless IoT module shipments for automotive will triple from 200 million in 2015 to more than 600 million in 2021.

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Joe Madden, principal analyst at Mobile Experts, spoke with Aftermarket Business World about the report.

There were proposed mandates for vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology in vehicles under the previous administration. Is there any indication of what might happen with those mandates now that a Republican is in the White House?

The Obama administration had planned to issue a mandate for dedicated short range communication (DSRC) technology in every car in 2019 or 2020, and that every production car would have this feature in the U.S. The election was a surprise and the Democrats lost control of the process. What the previous administration did was begin a public comment process for that mandate, so that the mandate could be issued later. We’re in the middle of that process now, so we’ll have to see what happens.

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In your report, you indicated that there would be little role for upcoming 5G wireless technologies in connected vehicle systems. Why is that?

In the U.S. market, DSRC is going to be implemented and the automakers will be locked on that technology for many years. It’s hard to change once you start with a standard like that. You start to build up the number of cars on the road, and it’s harder to move to something incompatible. It will be another 10- to 20-year cycle before we see a technology change there.

In the European market, companies are looking at both 4G and 5G to see which is the best technology to implement. My guess is that they will implement something that is upgradeable, so they can use LTE in the short term, and have some forward-compatibility in the future.

In the U.S., we’ve seen a lot of usage-based insurance (UBI), fleet tracking and toll collection applications using wireless connectivity. What other applications are emerging?

UBI is part of everybody’s life in a way, and every automaker wants to track cars, so they have an incentive to put telematics in the car no matter what goes on with other business models.

For the end user, this hasn’t been a big deal yet for consumers. In fleet management, there are a lot of companies that want to keep track of vehicles, who is driving them, and whether they are driving too fast, etc.

There are issues surrounding privacy and security when it comes to consumers, and it doesn’t seem that any of the current business models really justify the electronics being put in the car. As a starting point, almost every production car made this year will have some kind of communication modem in it. At a minimum, that is for the auto manufacturers themselves to keep track of how the car is doing and to have some predictive maintenance capabilities.

That’s where it starts, and we’ll work through the process of developing legal rules about how the information from that modem can be shared with insurance companies or end users themselves.


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