Auto industry needs more IoT innovation

Ian Simmons, vice president R&D, Magna International

The pace of change in the automotive industry is accelerating across a number of areas, from fuel economy and C02 emissions to the age of autonomous driving and the advent of the sharing economy where ride or car sharing is changing how vehicles are made.

In a connected world where ride sharing may include journeys involving cars, taxis, public transport and other forms of transport, this process will need to be manged seamlessly by one app or one company. You might also have vehicles owned by a third-parties but used by multiple drivers who have multiple needs and preferences. So, does this mean that cars in the future must be reconfigured for each user and be designed for a lifetime of use, 18 hours a day?

It’s not just vehicle safety we have to worry about; we also have to ensure that any data and personal information is safe and secure? Magna has already invested in embedded cyber security solutions and with more vehicles, people and ‘things’ connected to the internet through public 4G or LTE networks, all this data needs to be managed and secured, says Ian Simmons, vice president R&D, Magna International.

The goal of the autonomous vehicle is also driving innovation with exciting new features and functions such as autonomous braking, which is expected to be in place on many models by 2020, while rear cameras are already becoming mandatory.

Then there is the IoT. While there is a lot of hype around IoT, we are now seeing the seamless integration of peoples’ smart phones when they enter into a vehicle. You have to be cautious of distractive driving, so replicating that capability inside a vehicle safely is paramount and we have teams of people looking at how we do that.

But the IoT makes it possible to change your home thermostat from your car; communicate with cars nearby via DSRC; have the ability to know what gas prices are doing as you’re driving to your local corner shop; and use automatic payment systems embedded into the car. These are just some of the things you can do with IoT. And with autonomous driving, you could do all this while you are taken to your destination.

Clearly, we then need to think carefully about the dynamics of how to use these systems safely and when a vehicle should be driven in a semi-autonomous mode for various driving conditions. All of this is being planned out into the future and is why software, sensors and algorithms are so important when it comes to autonomous driving.

It is a very exciting time but we need more innovators and disruptive technologies to get where we want to go. So, if you have an idea or application that you feel can make a difference, you have until June 10 to get enter the Discovering Automotive Start-Ups Competition – for free! Ten innovative start-ups or research institutions will be selected to present their technologies and business plans to senior executives from Magna at the CW Future of Wireless International Conference on 21 June 2016.

The event conference takes place in the middle of London Technology Week at the IET Savoy, London with the support from UKTI. Magna is one of the conference sponsors along with the likes of Intel, Cisco and Barclays.

For more information, go to:

The author of this blog is Ian Simmons, vice president R&D, Magna International.

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