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2011 CAR Management Briefing Seminar looks at connected vehicles vs safety

The afternoon session of the 2011 CAR Management Briefing Seminars truly represents the major safety issue of the modern driving age: distracted driving.

Think of the growth of cell phones. That fact alone should cause everyone to pause and consider the effects on automotive safety.

Realize the wireless industry chanegs every eighteen months, while the auto industry revises models every four years; and that's a serious disconnect.

Suppliers like JCI realize this fact; and so does OnStar. In fact, Linda Marshall, recently appointed president of OnStar is one of the seven speakers today. Truly, based on her background and experience, she understands the challenge.

The goal is to keep the eyes on the road and both hands on the steering wheel. Keep it simple, connected and safe is the OnStar motto, so to speak.

Of course, this discussion is ongoing as I write. My own goal to is to glean the best comments from all seven speakers and share them with you in near real time.

GM and OnStar are already seeing real time results of its own with studies and systems underway right now.

Back to the seminar

Point is, the connected vehicle is already here and expanding. Michael Foley of Bluetooth Special Interest Group even says it's just the beginning of the expansion. It all started around 2006 when Bluetooth first appeared in a Super Bowl ad.

The real power, though, is the connectivity that Bluetooth provides. The car literally becomes an information hub, which means new safety and diagnostic opportunities.

Second Wave Bluetooth 4,0 is creating new markets. Think health and wellness; and this was confirmed when I reviewed the Ford Synch technology review a few weeks ago at Ford in Dearborn.

For one, new apps are being introduced at an extreme pace. In fact there is now an Automobile Bluetooth Ecosystem Team (BET). You are reminded that it is a membership organization.

Rick Warner, CEO of ParkingCarma, related via a video how mobile parking apps are deemed a major need in society. The mantra is to download now and start saving on the cost of your parking. Smart Parking equals Online Parking Network (OPN) and it is happening. Even Detroit is getting its share of attention.

It appears there is a new shake up coming to the parking lot status quo. No need to be forced to pay cash, because the next lot will be connected and able to handle the transaction. Think better cost and better service.

From an investment standpoint, there are opportunities as collaborations are happening all the time between the providers of these services and app creators. Think of identifying and reserving a parking spot from your connected car.

Business Development

Scott Nelson of ATX Group noted many of the factors that are involved for providers of connected services for the automobile. When you see the list, though, this becomes a huge industry; and it's about to become gigantic.

When Mr. Nelson asked the crowd at CAR if they thought the connected car was already here, the reaction was mostly positive, whether all of them believed it before they arrived at the seminar or not. There is a maturity factor for sure, especially with 2010 and 2011 introductions. Based on the smart phone random activity model, the industry is set for real growth. Fact is, connectivity drives purchase intent.

Securing the Connected Vehicle

David Miller of Covisint addressed the security of the connected vehicle. If it is a problem at home, then it is a problem within the automobile. Think of the ICT Hub: Human-machine interface; Connectivity; Ecosystem; Content Approach; and Service Apps. The goal then changes toward securing the vehicle integrations.

What’s needed is an electronic key so the app developer has to be official and recognized as such. Every access thus becomes regulated to limit and hopefully negate all unintended consequences. This means preventing unauthorized intrusions; even extending towards automated provisioning and de-provisioning. The access shifts when you sell or buy a car, for example. That’s 21st Century automotive safety.

The Michigan DOT Perspective

Although the NHTSA rep had a change of plans, Roger Stafford, Region Director for the Grand Region, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) still came to the CAR seminar event.

It is obvious that a DOT rep should be here at CAR and have concern over the connected automobile. After all, MDOT wants the highest quality for integrated transportation services. Unfortunately, the group lost 335 people via retirements, and were affected by the financial uncertainties in the State of Michigan.

One acronym stood out enough to write down and commit to memory: V2V or Vehicle to Vehicle. Fact is, connected vehicles is connectivity. It has great potential for jobs in Michigan as well as elsewhere.

The primary reason for being present and involved in V2V is safety. They want zero accidents. And that is why MDOT is participating in all the federal connected vehicle procurement.

Full Disclosure: At time of publication, Sherosky, creator of the auto sector charts for TN, is neither long or short with the mentioned stocks, though positions can change at any time. None of the information in this article constitutes a recommendation, but an opinion.

About the Reporter: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks, futures and writes articles, books and ebooks like, "Perfecting Corporate Character," "Awaken Your Speculator Mind", and "Millennial World Order" via He may be contacted here by email: [email protected]
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