The Future Of The Connected Car

10 days ago, I had the privilege to attend for the first time, the ConnecteDriver & Smart Mobility conference in Brussels.

This fourth edition gathered around 180 professionals from western Europe mainly, plus from Eastern Europe, North America, and Australia.

Though, a few car manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers were represented, the event mostly welcomed after market service / technology suppliers. Also, a few IT companies, consultants, lawyers, and business angels participated in the event.

Two main themes were discussed: Connected Driver on one hand, and Smart Mobility on the other hand.

Note 1: Working for the Connected Car market myself, I chose to attend the Connected Car sessions only.

So, for those who didn’t attend, I wanted to share some notes I took during the sessions, as well as some personal comments. These notes, often in the form of screen photos. (sorry for the bad quality)

Note 2: Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in all sessions, so I will only mention the ones I attended.


Car & Driver Data the new fuel of the Industry

In this session, were raised the new opportunities arising from the collection of sensor’s data in cars, driver’s smartphones and wearables to develop new smart services.

  1. Connected Car API for Developers, by Patxi Hastoy, from PSA

PSA is, one of the first Car OEMs, delivering a fully functional open API for developers.

An API stands for Application Programming Interface, and its main purpose is to facilitate the connection between two softwares, so they can interact together.

By doing this, PSA aims to accelerate the launch of new services for their customers, in a co-innovation way, in the next few months.

To this day, they count 700 registered developers, and 40 running projects.

My take: This is a great idea and a nice move from PSA. This is key to the Automotive OEMs digital transformation. In an age, where almost everyone uses a smartphone, drivers now expect the same level of service in their vehicles. To do this, car manufacturers need to change their model form product makers, to open platform providers.

2. Accident Detection Algorithms for smartphones, by Jérémie Fourmann, for Liberty Riders.

I was really impressed and excited about this startup. Jérémie Fourmann, co-founder at Liberty Rider, presented its algorithms for accident detectionsfor motorbikes. And this, only with the help of bikers smartphones. Really impressive and promising!

3. Also very impressive, Parkbob is an Austrian based startup company, led by Christian Adelsberger. They offer a smart on-street parking API, useful both for drivers and for city representatives.

4. Then, Job Van Dijk presented Safety Lens by General Magic.

Safety Lens is an ADAS for Smartphone, with the following safety features:

– Forward collision warning

– Lane departure

– Traffic Sign Recognition

As 82% of drivers use their smartphones for navigation, but very few of them benefit from expensive in-car embedded ADAS, it makes a lot of sense to propose this safety solution, on Smartphone. Nice move!

5. Following, Philippe Grondin, from Drivequant, delivered his insight and experience from a Research institute (IFPEN) point of view.

He compared the value of Car data vs OBD data vs Smartphone data on the following points: Fuel consumption, Driver behaviour, Diagnostic / Prognostic, Reliability / Accuracy, Availability, Interaction with user, Ease of distribution, Context / user data, Cost.

And his conclusion, from a driver’s point of view: today, the Smartphone data is a great alternative, as it is massively available on the market, its rather cheap, and the user experience is great.

6. Next, Martin Treiblmayr, presented the success of Garmin’s Wearables(mainly Smartwatches) on the market, and its potential for drivers assistance.

In car, the Garmin watch can check the drivers health on one side, and on the other side, it can vibrate to alert drivers when they’re falling asleep.

Personally, I see this use case very promising for motobikers.

Also very impressive numbers here. 2600 apps available, and 20 Million downloads.

7. Finally, came the startup pitches: 5 startups got to the privilege to pitch in front of potential customers / partners / investors.


The Transformation of the Car Industry

The car industry has for long been considered as a closed world, but is it still true today? The speakers in this session highlighted the changes happening in the industry under various angles: the overall car industry culture, the software angle, the relationships between car makers & startups, the future of car aftermarket, and more.

  1. An Open Automotive World, Dream or Reality?

Soj Thomas, Bosch Multimedia

What are open automotive ecosystems?

  • Clear and common standards
  • Well guarded
  • Open for authorized use

2. Don’t Connect the Car, Connect the User!

XEE — Yvan Gravier

XEE is one of the industry’s leaders in After Market Car connectivity in Europe.

They’ve managed to build a complete connected car platform, offering about a hundred apps and services for the benefit of drivers.

Their ecosystem:

  • Xee Connect — Universel device. Read only. 70 data set.
  • Xee Cloud — Open Platform. Security, data privacy, APIs
  • Xee Dev — 700 developers — 1 new application every month
  • Xee Store — about a hundred apps

Drivers want Security, Peace of mind, Low budget

Examples:

  • Eco-driving with Here
  • Car maintenance / care with Midas
  • Position tracking — security

Yvan pointed out how XEE started to grow fast the day they started focusing on the end users, the drivers. I really loved that moment. It truly resonates to me. Good job XEE!

3. The future of aftermarket: Connected CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and VRM (Vehicle Relationship Management)

Philippe Chassany — OOCAR

OOCAR is a young french based company, proposing a connected car solution for the automotive after market.

As a summary, Philippe’s pointed out the very bad customer relationship’s management in the automotive as a whole. Both for the OEMs and for the After market service providers.

There is therefore a great opportunity for startups such as OOCAR.

Philippe has a long and successful entrepreneurial experience in the digital industry. He pointed out that the Automotive industry should now apply a true relational type (instead of transactional type) customer relationship.

Philippe’s presentation gave a great insight about the great opportunity the transportation industry is facing today. Great things to come.

From my talks with Philippe, the Oocar’s team is preparing great things for 2017. Soon to be announced…

4. Accelerating Connected Car Development

The Genivi Alliance — Philippe Robin

GENIVI is a nonprofit industry alliance committed to driving the broad adoption of open source, In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) software and providing open technology for the connected car.

The GENIVI Alliance represents more than 140 companies, from all the industry.

I was pleased to Meet Philippe for the first time. He’ll most probably present Genivi to the Meetup I organize in Paris, about Connected & Self-Driving Vehicles.


Artificial Intelligence in the Car

In this session we explored the new Voice Human-Machine interface paradigm, powered by Artificial Intelligence (mainly Natural Language Processing)

1. Evolution of the automotive HMI (Human-Machine Interface). Bringing the Automotive Assistant to life.

Fatima Vita, Sr. Director Automotive Marketing, Nuance

Nuance is a global leader for voice recognition. They propose some of the best technology available in more than 80 languages.

Here’s some of her pitch in screen photos: (sorry for the bad quality)

2. Driving with a friend — using AI for making driving smarter and safer

Holger Weiss — German Autolabs

Holger Weiss is a successful startup entrepreneur, working for the automotive industry. He is based in Berlin, which seems to be the “place to be” for the “Auto Tech” (Automotive Technology) in Europe.

He has founded German Autolabs in May, 2016. They are building an A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) powered digital co-driver to create a safer and smarter mobility experience for everyone.

Here’s part of his pitch:

Millions of drivers use their smartphone while driving

  • 70% drivers use their smartphones while on the road
  • 25% are writing emails while driving
  • 44% are reading texte message while driving

Using smartphone in the car is dangerous and illegal

  • 390400 incidents in Germany alone in 2014 caused by drivers
  • Risk of accident is four times as big as if smart phones are involved
  • In USA 660000 drivers are using cell phones while driving
  • 36k people in the US are killed in cars every year.

Digital information needs to be personalized, prioritized and contextualized.

For more safety, the information notifications we received while driving should be prioritized and contextualized. For instance: when driving on the highway and approaching an exit, your priority is to not miss the exit. Therefore, we should not receive any other kind of notification (i.e. SMS or phone call) during this period of time.

Natural Voice on the rise.

Holger believes that voice HMI will explode in the next 5 years. I totally agree with him. The success of Amazon Echo in the U.S., and the rise of voice in Asia and in Latin America are positive signals.

Today, we have reached a significant 90% of machine learning accuracy. And it should grow even faster in the coming years.

CHRIS : Driving with a friend.

Finally, Holger announced the launch of their driving assistant, Chris, on Kickstarter, at the end of Q1 2017. Something to watch for, with great attention.


As a conclusion, this event was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the after market challenges for the connected drivers. Also, I had the chance to meet many new people, and to pitch them my new project, The Bot Studio, for which I received great feedback and interests.


Thanks to Ludovic Privat and to INOV360 for this great event. I believe events like these help the european industry’s leaders better align their strategy to the market’s reality.


Finally, join the Meetup Community about Connected & Self-Driving Vehicles in Paris. Next event planned on February 16th, 2017 -> https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/MeetupVoitureConnectee/events/237317586/