What is the role of connected services and products in altering the consumer experience, and how can automotive OEMs align their automotive cloud strategies to tackle the challenges of the various levels of autonomous driving?


HARMAN recently conducted a webinar on “Key Areas of Connectivity Focus at Various Levels of Autonomous Driving.” It was well attended by various Automotive Manufacturing Companies and Tier-1 Auto Suppliers. Speakers included Steve Surhigh, Vice President & GM, Automotive Cloud Services, HARMAN and Jeffrey Hannah, Director, North America, SBD Automotive. They each provided their unique perspectives on this dynamic area. If you didn’t get a chance to view this informative webinar, you can access the On-Demand Webinar now.  


Autonomous Driving


Gartner research forecasts that by 2020, 250 million vehicles with built-in autonomous features will be on the road. Seamless connectivity, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, and eventually autonomous technology would encourage drivers and passengers to utilize their freed-up time for more productive activities and consuming more content. It also increases the demand for context-sensitive innovative service requests from technology aware consumers. Demand for extreme personalization including connected car solutions and services would also increase in privately owned vehicles. Today, it is key for OEMs to align their automotive cloud strategies with the timing and challenges of the various levels of autonomous driving.


When webinar attendees were asked about when they expect autonomous vehicles to be the majority of vehicles on the road, we found that more than 65% of the audience were confident that by 2040 driverless cars would become the dominant part of the ecosystem. 



“Most OEMs are targeting highway autonomy (piloted driving or traffic jam assist) for their initial deployments. The long-term deployment outlook for autonomous mobility remains somewhat uncertain but is changing fast,“ said Jeffrey Hannah, Director, North America, SBD Automotive. He believes that the automotive industry’s automotive roadmap is taking two strong divergent paths.


  • Path 1 - Continuous intervention/capability for extended periods of control (minutes to hours) in personally owned autonomous cars


  • Path 2 – Enabling “Robo-taxis” (offering autonomous mobility services) to operate without a human driver in a predetermined area to deliver an automated ride-hailing service


Safety and Autonomous Driving


When webinar participants were asked if they would feel safe traveling in an Autonomous Vehicle today, 72.8% replied that they would not feel safe. 



After querying the audience, Steve Surhigh discussed the access to safety in the Autonomous Vehicle. He reported that vehicle connectivity will actually reduce the number accidents and fatalities by preventing human error. However, there are apprehensions with the consumers about the safety and security of the connected vehicles for the driver and passengers in all conditions, as you saw in this poll.


The latest stats from the National Safety Council (NSC) show that the number of deaths in 2017 increased above 40,000 for the first time since 2007. 


Elaine Cho, Secretary of Transportation and Dr. Mark R. Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator, mentioned that 94% of the deaths are caused by human error such as drunk driving and speeding. But a relatively new cause, distracted driving, can explain the dramatical increase in deaths in the last several years. As the Executive Director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (Jonathan Adkins) mentions, “driver distraction and our society's addiction to electronic devices is likely playing a role in the increase in deaths”. So, the focus is on developing technology that can drive better than humans!


Safety and security are important aspects to address in increasing the acceptance of Autonomous Vehicles. However, there are many other areas to address. Consumer demands are evolving and as we move from one SAE Level of Autonomy to another, their demands vary on four different dimensions – Trusted, Transparent, Humanized, and Fluid. Steve Surhigh discusses these dimensions in the webinar. Since vehicle automation at level 3 and beyond are considered by many states as automated vehicles, there are stringent requirements that must be met soon. 


To learn more about other aspects of connectivity that will need to change as we move to more advanced levels of autonomy, please check out the On-Demand Webinar now.