Connected cars: Testing the vehicles of the future
Connected cars have been around for the last 20 years, but the rate at which they are transforming the automotive space is unprecedented, conquering markets worldwide. Just like the evolution of the mobile device in the Internet of Things arena, auto manufacturers are constantly striving to enhance the features of connected cars to deliver a compelling new type of driving experience.
Digitalization and in-car connectivity are opening numerous possibilities to develop innovative and intelligent products and services that are personalized to the driver or the family. However, if we are to truly appreciate this innovation and what the future holds for these cars, and vehicles in general, we need to step back and understand the evolution and the changes brought about by this cutting-edge technology on wheels.
Connected concepts are evolving everyday with lot of added features and becoming like mobile device in the ‘Internet of things’ arena
The evolution of connected cars
To put it simply, a connected car is one that can communicate with outside systems, wherein it can share data with devices both inside and outside the vehicle.
In a ground-breaking initiative to drive safety and security, General Motors gave us one of the most influential ideas at the turn of the 21st century with its OnStar system. The primary purpose of the first connected car was to ensure medical aid and emergency help in the event of an accident. Other auto manufacturers soon latched on to this thought as they explored how to use radio systems, cellular mobile phones, and later GPS locations to connect cars and improve reachability, geo-tracking and above all else, safety. Remote diagnostics, Google maps, and network access devices seemed like a far-fetched dream for the ordinary person back then, but not for this industry, which worked tirelessly to deliver today’s connected car.
Leading features of connected cars
Integrated with the smart city, adapted to infographic features while travelling, staying secure, open to wider infotainment systems, and green vehicles — the modern connected car is truly revolutionary.
Here are some of the leading features that accompany this innovation on wheels:
- Enabled with Wi-Fi or other available networks
- Connects to your device and drive
Automotive system diagnosis
- Oil pressure
- Engine diagnosis
- Computer system information for services
- Alert authorities for rescue
- Assists driver by contacting family
- Nearest fuel station
- Driver assistance based on preferences
In-car safety features
- Proximity sensor
- Parking assistance
- Lane tracking
- Integrated cameras
- Adaptive head lights
- Locates nearby parking
- Deliver information about pay parking
Advanced Driver assistance system (ADAS)
- Increased car safety
- Road safety
- Alerts the driver about servicing and maintenance levels
- Voice commands for limited distraction while driving
4G Wi-Fi hotspot
- Wireless music receiver for car
- Uninterrupted call facilities
- Radio played through the internet on different devices
- Suggested playlists based on user interest and selection
While connected cars may be fitted with the latest tech-savvy systems, their connectivity can be classified into five types:
- Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communication between vehicle and road infrastructure, which allows vehicles to share information with highways and city infrastructure to update commuters with diversions, traffic, weather conditions, parking zones and more.
- Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) is a wireless network communication between vehicles, which provides drivers with crucial information such as speed and brakes.
- Vehicle to Cloud (V2C) shares data about the vehicle’s internal sensor conditions with a cloud system that evaluates and suggests adjustments based on predictive analysis.
- Vehicle to Pedestrian (V2P) is used to analyze environmental information and share data with other vehicles or even people on the road. This can be very helpful for pedestrians with disabilities.
- Vehicle to Everything (V2X) is the latest wave of technology that interconnects vehicles and any other entity to enable mobility, safety and smart approaches.
Today, self-driving cars, electric vehicles and shared mobility are driving the future on wheels, but there are many elements that go into getting connected cars on the road. Arguably, the most important element of them all is testing.
Testing: The most important function in the production line
Proven IoT connected car platforms are boosting car sales using 4G and 5G connectivity to build efficiency and scalability. The collected data influences the user experience, driving patterns, passenger safety, vehicle settings, service and maintenance.
Insurance companies are also using driving patterns to calculate risk exposure and insurance premiums. As technology evolves, the need for rigorous testing is also of paramount importance. Launching new features, retiring old ones, checking and rechecking, and testing for perfection is the need of the moment for interoperability, security and privacy.
Functional testing includes sanity testing, integration testing, user acceptance testing and regression testing. Beyond these there are software testing modules too. Performance testing checks for the software’s endurance under maximum workloads, evaluating load, stress and scalability.
Interoperability testing validates communication protocols between different parts of the system and ensures perfect functioning between different versions of the car parts. Security and access control testing analyzes malware attack risks and the possibility of unauthorized access to sensitive data, among other cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
However, testing connected cars can have its own set of challenges, such as high costs to fix defects and the obvious limitations of an offshore site or offshore partner.
Securing communications in connected cars
Atos’s connected vehicle services harness built-in capabilities to test connected car features in a virtual environment, as well as physical testing. It leverages accelerators to test the features at an API level with shift left testing approach and to decode CAN bus messages and generated hexacode messages for events, while it tests business scenarios by connecting the user interface and telematics unit using CAN bus.
Learn more here about our digital assurance portfolio.
The future is now
In the last few years, testing has been taking quantum leaps to drive cutting-edge solutions and a global revolution. Automotive leaders are increasingly partnering with digital solution experts for scalable and sustainable business decisions and robust testing. For their part, these digital solution experts are exploring new and exciting ways to chart a path to the automotive future in the safest way possible.
Even though connected cars have been around for more than 20 years, they are here to stay; fueled by technology, powered by innovation and tested by experts.