Self-driving car design is as exciting as it is complex for manufacturers. By wishing to integrate a growing number of technologies, these cars are transformed into overpowered computers capable of carrying an impressive quantity of software. And the more the years pass, the more the need for technology intensifies. One of the reasons? Depending on the level of autonomy of a vehicle, the quality and speed of the decisions taken by it depend a lot on the amount of data collected. These are essential for the vehicle to react in the right way to its direct environment. Achieving this vision is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive industry today.
This is without counting the technological battle around the design of an OS for the autonomous car. Some manufacturers, like Volkswagen, want to design a proprietary OS that may or may not integrate other OSs on the market. Such an objective requires large teams dedicated to its development, which reflects a certain balance of power engaged with the digital giants and in particular the GAFAM. Indeed, and beyond the technological issues, there is also a real struggle for influence that will continue to punctuate the production of autonomous vehicles.
Cybersecurity: a critical aspect for manufacturers
Within the automotive sector and particularly with regard to autonomous cars, cybersecurity is really taken into account and integrated into the production strategy of manufacturers. Due to the colossal amount of data collected on vehicle and driver behavior, ensuring the security of this information is a necessity. Often analyzed, in the past, in a back end external to the vehicle, the many essential data of the car will have to be collected and processed within it to reinforce their security and their confidentiality.
Deploying an effective cyber strategy also involves choosing the right cloud provider, one that complies with current regulations and more specifically the GDPR. The possibility for manufacturers to use the public cloud must be regulated and respect the issues of data governance. The sensitivity of automotive data thus conditions very cautious behavior on the part of manufacturers who also do not want to leak industrial data that could serve the interests of the competition. A certain distrust that pushes the automotive industry to create a data space of its own: the Catena-X project. Without restricting access to hyperscalers, this project intends to provide a common framework covering the issues of hosting, accessibility and the legal framework for data protection. Catena-X will thus ensure the digital sovereignty of automotive players while facilitating data exchange between them.
Total autonomy, a challenge at all levels
Despite everything, moving towards more autonomy implies a certain increase in the technological complexity of the vehicle. With the use of AI, among other things, manufacturers must be more and more concerned about the safety of autonomous cars. It is therefore necessary to display permanent vigilance because cyber issues are evolving very quickly.
As we can see, the race for advanced technologies to produce the best self-driving car has only just begun and recent years have shown that market players have taken full measure of it. Faced with a growing shortage of IT resources, many of them have sought to recruit CTOs (chief technical officers) to avoid falling too far behind the competition. However, these modernization efforts will continue to yield limited results as long as the many legislative and regulatory blockages relating to the concept of autonomy are not lifted.