John was woken up by his alarm announcing the time, the weather, and his appointments. He instructed his coffee machine to make a cappuccino and his closet to get out his grey suit. The elevator greeted him by name, and in the garage his car came towards him like a loyal dog. He got in, gave it directions, opened his laptop and started working.

Fantasy? Hardly. Much of this Internet of Things (IoT) is already in place. The most important gap, fully connecting the largest thing most people own - their car - is closing fast.

The three pillars of connected cars: telematics, V2X, and Infotainment

Further development of connected and, ultimately, autonomous vehicles depends on telematics - the collection and long-distance transmission of digital data. This is already used for GPS, hands-free phone calls, and more. Full Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication is just around the corner, and will further improve the driving experience, as well as road safety, traffic flow, and energy efficiency. Add "Infotainment", and the IoT enabled car can truly hit the road. Thales, a leader in connectivity, is making this a reality.

Vehicle to Everything Communication – a benefit for everyone, everywhere

Thales is helping car manufacturers track the performance and maintenance of their vehicles and allowing commercial fleet managers to optimize their operations. Security is assured by an automotive-grade embedded SIM.

By 2025 every new car should be securely connected with V2X, improving the driving experience and generating the data that will speed up the development of autonomous vehicles. Today’s driver-assistance systems, such as parking sensors and automatic braking, will pale in comparison. Full V2X will allow vehicles to communicate with all elements of the traffic system, from other vehicles and pedestrians, to street and traffic lights, lane markers, and parking meters. And it will enable the sharing of information on speed, direction of travel, braking and turning, as well as road conditions, weather, and traffic.

Interoperability and security are key

As the technology evolves, so must the standards, lest they hinder interoperability and security. Until recently, industry and governments favoured the dedicated short-range communication standard (DSRC), an existing technology based on Wi-Fi already used for services such as paying tolls and parking. Meanwhile, telecoms companies are promoting a cellular technology called C-V2X using 5G. Carmakers have to hedge their bets by installing or making their telematics boxes adaptable for both. "With rapidly evolving technology, the main challenge may be to overcome the lack of interoperability between different solutions." says Christine Caviglioli, Thales VP Automotive & Mobility Service.

"The car has become an open platform which must integrate numerous actors," Christine Caviglioli, Thales VP Automotive & Mobility Service.

Regardless of the standard used for V2X, it is secured by signed messages using Public Key Certificates, in which Thales is a leader. These ensure the integrity of the messages communicated and authenticate the source, so the driver, the car, and the infrastructure can trust each other. Every step of the data flow is protected, from over-the-air software updates to transmission from vehicles. "Our high-security solutions create, protect, and validate the digital IDs of people as well as objects. They are reinforced by biometric authentication systems that ensure the safe, efficient deployment of mobility services," added Ms. Caviglioli.

Connectivity enhances entertainment

The third pillar of connected vehicles, Infotainment, is also being enhanced (and challenged) by rapidly evolving telecoms technology. Car radios and built-in DVD players are becoming a thing of the past, as streaming via cell phones can provide a seamless transition for consumers from their living rooms to the driver’s seat. To compete, car makers must be able to push additional services through improved connectivity. "The car is becoming an extension of our smart phones and personal assistants," says Ms. Caviglioli.

"From a simple means of transport, the car has become a high-tech aggregator of digital experiences." Christine Caviglioli, Thales VP Automotive & Mobility Service.

MWC 2024