Connected cars are poised to become a common phenomenon in India in the near future, with an increase in vehicle legislation and industry compliances also set to accelerate the adoption of connected features, according to a report by consultancy firm EY. As per EY India's report 'The car is connected now! But are we safe?', current and future mandates such as GPS tracking, dash camera, telematics-based insurance and SOS services will in turn drive the growth of embedded form of connected car solutions.
The connected car industry, however, needs a road map for cybersecurity by developing an appropriate lifecycle process from concept through production, operation and decommissioning. Applying a defense in depth strategy will entail having multiple layers of security in place to mitigate the risk of one component being compromised, it added.
"Connected cars are poised to become a common phenomenon in India in the near future. And their relevance in the next few years is bound to increase with the expected wide-scale adoption of EVs where connectivity features will help owners locate nearby charging stations and access telematics data among several other things," the report said.
It further said, "An increase in vehicle legislation and industry compliances regarding convenience features, such as navigation, remote diagnostics, etc are driving the connected car market." Technologies like telematics, connected and autonomous vehicles will play a vital role in transformation and cellular segment is expected to dominate the connected car market in India, it added.
EY India Partner and Automotive Sector Leader Vinay Raghunath said by investing in the next wave of state-of-the-art connected technology, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) have an opportunity to strengthen their customer value proposition and meet some of the ever-changing buyer preferences.
"Additionally, with the cost of deploying some of these solutions becoming more viable, it forces OEM brands to incorporate connected features and cater to multiple customer segments' needs," he added. The EY report said over time, various connectivity solutions have been developed by car manufacturers and service providers, such as the machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity platform. Further, for OEMs, connected cars represent a new era for automobiles.
"OEMs must drive customer adoption to embrace the connected car opportunity. Focusing innovation on developing powerful and easy-to-use software and services will give OEMs the edge in sales, open new revenue streams and offer a direct relationship with customers," it added.
On the security aspect, the report said connected cars are generating an ever increasing amount of data that is exchanged, processed and stored. "This leads to a potential rise in the number of attack vectors, with personal, financial and car data becoming vulnerable and attractive to hackers. The problem isn't so much about accessing the car to drive it away, it's about remotely accessing the critical infrastructure of a highly connected car and compromising the safety of the vehicle and its passengers," it added.
Vehicle manufacturers therefore need to adopt a cybersecurity approach that addresses not only the distinct exposures in their car's software, but also the hidden vulnerabilities, the report said. Stressing on the need to see security needs as an opportunity, Technology Consulting Partner Burgess Cooper said, "As more connected cars are designed, it's time to see security as a positive business differentiator for car innovation rather than a perceived hindrance."
Cooper further said, "Time is therefore right to seek advice from security experts to ensure that the industry will continue to drive innovation and competitive edge and at the same time ensure that cybersecurity controls are firmly in place." According to the report, tomorrow's car needs a secure cyber architecture. To effectively build cybersecurity into the design of a car, there is a need to develop an appropriate lifecycle process from concept through production, operation and decommissioning.
"Applying a defense in depth strategy will entail having multiple layers of security in place to mitigate the risk of one component being compromised," it said.
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