Connected car study 2015: Racing ahead with autonomous cars and digital innovation

Both premium and volume auto makers clearly see connected car technologies as essential to their futures. They also realize that overall vehicle prices aren’t rising as rapidly as the prices charged for digital capabilities. This means returns on investments in traditional car components are shrinking.

Over the next five years, the connected car could disrupt the entire automotive ecosystem. The industry will undergo fundamental change as semi-autonomous driving emerges, followed by an eventual shift to full autonomous driving. Auto makers that have always seen themselves as product suppliers will take on a new identity as providers of mobility services. This will open the door to lucrative new digital revenue streams, especially as they begin to explore opportunities in other digital areas such as entertainment, commerce, and monitoring a driver's health and fatigue level.

Of course, auto makers aren't the only ones pursuing these opportunities. Technology companies such as Apple and Google have staked their own claims to the connected car and autonomous driving markets. Auto makers will need new capabilities and cultural change to compete.

No one will win, however, if security concerns undermine consumers' trust in connected car technology. Recent widely reported incidents have focused public attention on the vulnerability of Internet-enabled autos to hacking. To ease these fears, auto makers need to embed security in every aspect of their designs. Those that convince consumers their digital networks are secure will win the trust essential to capturing the connected car opportunity.

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Gordon Xie
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