Cybersecurity on Wheels

  According to IHS Automotive there are on the order of 112-million vehicles on the road today that are “connected,” that is, “have a connection through the internet, though telematics, an onboard modem or a paired device in the vehicle, such as a mobile phone or other device.” With that last bit about the mobile phone being paired with the car, it is surprising that the number of connected vehicles isn’t greater.

According to IHS Automotive there are on the order of 112-million vehicles on the road today that are “connected,” that is, “have a connection through the internet, though telematics, an onboard modem or a paired device in the vehicle, such as a mobile phone or other device.”

With that last bit about the mobile phone being paired with the car, it is surprising that the number of connected vehicles isn’t greater.

It seems that it is impossible to go through a month without a non-trivial recall occurring, generally one predicated on something mechanical not quite working as it is supposed to, such as a latch or a spring or something similarly simple.

Given the multitude of parts that go into making up a light vehicle, that shouldn’t be entirely surprising.

Clearly, vehicle manufacturers have their hands full.

Which brings us to a whole new issue that they have to contend with.

“Cybersecurity will be one of the toughest challenges that the auto industry will face in the next decade or two,” according to Colin Bird, senior analyst, connected car consumer insights and software, apps and services (SAS) for IHS Markit.

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And while the trouble with the springs and latches and whatnot are simply errors of manufacturing and/or assembly, this new challenge has new causes. Bird notes that telematics and modems in cars “make connected cars an attractive target to cyber criminals, terrorists and nation states.”

Criminals, terrorists and nation states.

Swell.

That said, IHS Automotive has determined that the global market for automotive cybersecurity is going to explode to $759-million in 2023.

The organization, which has written a study on the subject, “Automotive Cybersecurity and Connected Car,” says there will be two approaches. One is for on-board security software programs. Given that there are as many as 60 ECUs in a single vehicle, this means a lot of programs per car. IHS Automotive reckons that in 2016 the spending on cybersecurity software for vehicles is $11-million. It anticipates that growing to $37-million by 2023, representing some 150-million software programs.

The other approach is cybersecurity cloud services. The research firm figures that by 2023 25 percent of the vehicles sold will use these cloud services, which represents revenue on the order of $389-million.

The connectivity of cars and trucks is only going to accelerate in the next few years.

If you want to learn more about it, then I shamelessly recommend that you attend a one-day conference, “Automobility ’16: Reimagining Transportation,” which we are organizing along with our sister publication AutoBeat Daily. It is being held on October 13 in Dearborn, Michigan, and you can find all of the details right here.