Publié le 13 / 06 / 2014

The connected car is on everyone’s lips. It is a growing phenomenon that car buyers today place more importance on in-vehicle technology than on traditional performance features such as power and speed. On a political level, the message in Europe is clear with the European Commission citing intelligent transport systems within cars - using satellite or other information technologies – as a potential answer to some of the major issues for the coming years and notably with regard to congestion and climate change. Does this not directly bring us to the aviation industry? In terms of transport, who have been the biggest users of satellite and embedded information technologies up until now? An interesting comparison can be found in a recent US Center of Automotive Research Report (January 2014), on the increasing integration of embedded technology into today’s cars. The report cites that the average car now contains 60 microprocessors and more than 10 million lines of software code: this is more than half the lines of code found in a Boeing Dreamliner aeroplane. Apple confirmed at the Geneva Motor Show this year that they were bringing their technology to the car and they are currently working with BMW, Daimler, Mercedes, GM, Nissan and Honda to directly integrate their iOS operating systems. This is the first time that Apple has worked with a third party to incorporate their technology. In the past they have always built their own ecosystem to ensure the sole proprietary of their own destiny. The car is becoming just another device in the internet of things and the world’s automotive OEMs have to become tech savvy to survive. Indeed it is more likely to be the tech companies that define the terms of the connected car. So if the technology companies will drive this development, where will the responsibility for safety and security in terms of both the passengers and the systems lie? Tomorrow’s car will communicate via WIFI to other cars and this will open up the technology systems in vehicles to security threats from new external interfaces. In fact, the future of all transport modes is to provide connectivity to external networks and this links us back into the aviation industry. The Boeing e-Plane Ground Support System (BEGSS) and Airbus’s Open World Aircraft Ground communication system (OWAG) provide additional external connectivity to aircraft. All of the major aerospace OEMs need to meet guarantees in terms of the security and authentication of information. Whereas these notions of security and safety will have to be addressed, and quickly, for the automotive industry and their technology partners, especially where there is no clear legislation (on the use of cell phones in cars for example), the aerospace industry has been working on the security and safety of aircraft systems and the development of industry norms for some time. Indeed the question can also be asked as to how automotive OEMs be able to differentiate themselves if their product essentially becomes a generic interface piloted by IPhone or Android technology? A clear way will be in the safety and security of their integrated communication systems and this will be critical in terms of their brand management. The automotive and aerospace industries are two worlds that rarely collide (which is maybe a bad choice of verb!) but maybe it is time they did as the security and safety expertise that has been developed in the aerospace industry could be used for the future benefit of the automotive OEMs and their technology partners. SCASSI has a long experience of working with Europe’s major aerospace players, anticipating problems and finding solutions to all major safety and security issues. SCASSI also has a portfolio of key clients in the automotive sector. It is a firm belief that, more and more, the real value brought to this latter group of clients in the form of knowledge transfer from the aerospace industry.