Over a third of consumers surveyed in four global regions (37%) now think it is likely that driverless cars will be the main form of transport in the coming decade. This is according to new research released by Gemalto, the world leader in digital security. However, since more than half of respondents would not currently trust driverless technology, manufacturers and technology partners in the automotive ecosystem will, if they want to make it a reality, need to develop secure services to win end-users trust. The study, conducted by YouGov amongst more than 7,000 respondents, examined consumer attitudes towards the new mobility ecosystem: connected cars, driverless cars and new ownership models enabled by the sharing economy.
The benefits of driverless and connected cars
As trials of driverless technology take place across the world, consumers are increasingly confident that autonomous driving will be here to stay, with over a third (37%) believing that it will become the dominant form of transport in ten years’ time.
Consumers are also excited about the short-term benefits that can be enabled by connecting cars to the internet. When asked their most immediate priorities when renting a connected car, the top three results included ease of driving (a priority for 37% of consumers), saving money (37%) and providing secure Wi-Fi access (32%).
Then there are more advanced features that can be enabled by equipping cars with an automotive grade secure wireless module. This technology can allow cars to communicate with traffic management and road infrastructure systems, receiving real-time data on the latest traffic and road safety information, emergencies, road tolling and where they can park. Among these features, the most exciting for consumers is getting real-time traffic information (anticipated by 66% of consumers). Other features which respondents look forward to include receiving live information to find a parking space (58%), accessing more accurate mapping (59%) and getting real-time information on the driver’s performance (40%).
Christine Caviglioli, Senior Vice President for Automotive & Mobility Services at Gemalto commented: “Digitalization is putting the automotive industry on the road to revolution. The Internet of Things (IoT) and cutting edge connected car technology is opening the door to intelligent telematics, thereby unleashing a new breed of features and services - everything from enhanced in-car services and car sharing to fully autonomous vehicles. It’s a profound paradigm shift, the likes of which haven’t been seen in the industry since the introduction of the first motorized vehicles in the early 1900s. The technology has the potential to change the concept of driving forever.”
The challenge for automotive manufacturers: establish trust
Despite the anticipated benefits of driverless technology, consumers still need to be assured of their safety. Currently, more than half (58%) of consumers taking part in the survey would not trust a driverless car to complete a journey safely. One of the concerns noted involves hackers being able to gain control and causing accidents (a concern for 47% of consumers), as well as data privacy, with only 15% trusting car manufacturers to handle their data collected through connected cars securely.
In the case of connected and potentially autonomous cars, the security risks are diverse. They range from stealing usage data to disabling cars, to hijacking single cars or attacking an entire fleet, or even forcing one’s car to perform “unexpected” functions. Clearly, consumers are aware of and concerned about these potential issues, demonstrating the clear need for car manufacturers to build trust in the new mobility ecosystem. This task is paramount to driving adoption and mission critical to support the overall growth and success of connected cars.
Caviglioli continues: “The research indicates clearly that for connected vehicles and mobility services to deliver on their promises, automotive and mobility players will have to build trust in the ecosystem and reassure drivers accordingly. This means they have to partner with the right technology providers to implement robust security measures.”
Security by design
To address consumer concerns around security, car manufacturers must adopt a security-by-design approach that has multiple layers. A “patching things up afterwards” approach simply won’t do. This starts with securing the connected car, its firmware and software applications through PKI infrastructure, key management services and identity issuance. But it’s also critical to secure the data transmitted to and from the car, both at rest and in motion, through high speed data encryption technology. Such an approach would secure access to the car, and protect against data loss, IP theft, fraud and downtime.
These are areas in which most traditional automotive manufacturers don’t have extensive experience. To achieve this, they will need to insource security, as well as work with experts in this field to ensure their systems are fully protected. In addition, car manufacturers will need to be open and ready to learn from security experts to ensure the implementation of effective, best-in-class security.
What is clear from the research is that consumers are excited by the potential of innovative security features in the new mobility ecosystem. Almost two thirds (65%) of respondents in the survey noted that they would be excited about enhanced protection against thieves, and also about using biometric technology to unlock cars, with four in 10 respondents (39%) saying that they would be happy to use fingerprint recognition to securely authenticate and access mobility services, for example using Virtual Car Keys to unlock a car. Another finding indicates that consumers are also interested in the ability to personalise and enhance car features through software updates (31%).
To this end, Caviglioli concludes: “Security remains crucial, but so is the user experience. Building complex and time-consuming processes could prevent connected car apps from becoming mainstream. Designing user-friendly and real-time mobility solutions is therefore paramount to enable car connectivity, authenticate users and bring drivers’ preferences on board with personalized and seamless user experiences”.
About the research
YouGov surveyed 7,319 adults during the period 21 – 30 November 2016 globally. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted on a country-by-country basis and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in each country.
Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO) is the global leader in digital security, with 2015 annual revenues of €3.1 billion and customers in over 180 countries. We bring trust to an increasingly connected world. Our technologies and services enable businesses and governments to authenticate identities and protect data so they stay safe and enable services in personal devices, connected objects, the cloud and in between.
Gemalto’s solutions are at the heart of modern life, from payment to enterprise security and the internet of things. We authenticate people, transactions and objects, encrypt data and create value for software – enabling our clients to deliver secure digital services for billions of individuals and things. Our 14,000+ employees operate out of 118 offices, 45 personalization and data centers, and 27 research and software development centers located in 49 countries.