Connected vehicles (CVs) – Public perception issues and challenges

In the late 20th century, the consumer’s concerns about safety, comfort, and fuel efficiency have become the key motivation and direction for the automotive industry to improve vehicle performance.

Connected vehicles (CV) are widely accepted as a promising technology, emerging as the next wave of technology, not only to ensure safety, comfort, convenience, and efficiency but to empower travelers with huge social benefits.

CV is defined as a vehicle capable of seamless interacting with multiple systems, devices, or other smart vehicles on the road through the Internet or two-way short-range wireless communication technologies, namely Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I), providing a set of modern, dynamic and contextual applications and functionalities that offer advanced infotainment features to the driver and passengers.

One of CVs’ major benefits is their potential to increase capacity on freeways and other uninterrupted flow facilities by using radars and other sensors that maintain a consistent gap to the vehicle ahead, compared to human-driven vehicles.

Researches show that the connected vehicle’s deployment can reduce 81% of unimpaired driver crashes since the safety applications increase situational awareness, enabling the users to make smart choices to reduce travel delays by providing actionable information and tools real-time.

Despite the wide range of potential applications and technologies, CVs face many public perception issues such as privacy, security, cost, data ownership, driver distraction, and equity.

Public perception issues

1. Privacy

Privacy is a top concern since the public is concerned with the potential misuse of the data and threats. The CV system could violate drivers’ expectations of privacy since the data collected through connected vehicles could be useful for purposes not related to the drivers themselves.

2. Security

The ability of hackers to capture data or alter records is a major security issue in CV deployment. If a system is vulnerable to attacks, it could affect individual users, and the entire vehicle network will suffer. Specific attacks include providing bogus information to other drivers, cheating with positioning information to avoid liability, identifying and tracking other vehicles, using denial of service attacks to bring down the network, and masquerading as another vehicle.

3. Cost

The cost associated with deploying, operating, and maintaining a connected vehicle system is an important determinant. Initial deployment costs could be significant and may require a major upgrade and overhaul of existing databases and security infrastructure.

4. Governance and ownership of data

The organizations in charge of managing and protecting the data will need to be trustworthy to gain public acceptance. There has been a significant discussion of whether ITS data should be collected and managed by public or private organizations. Anyhow, the public needs to trust the institutional setup for collection, management, and security.

The challenges to the CV technology

Let’s now discuss the challenges to the development and application of the CV.

  • Cars take longer to develop than smartphones: CV technology’s lifecycle is a serious challenge since car manufacturers work on five-year cycles to implement new features, such as operating system upgrades and new applications. Smartphone makers provide these features almost constantly.
  • Carmakers need mobile partners: Obviously, the automotive and mobile industries have different objectives, but they will need to find ways to collaborate to satisfy consumer connectivity needs.
  • Car dealers need to be tech-savvy: Automakers agree that selling ‘just’ cars is no longer feasible. It is mobility – with required connectivity to customer services and advanced functions like power management for electric vehicles. The advent of CVs will dramatically change the dealership model since salespeople must teach customers how to use their advanced technology.
  • Who will pay for connected car services: When purchasing a car, consumers make a one-off payment, but with an embedded connection, there is an additional bill to be paid in terms of connectivity. Will you add your car as a “device” to your existing mobile bill? Or will the added cost be rolled into your car payment? Who will pay for roaming and data usage? This means that we need new business models to be developed.