What is it like to be part of today’s “connected car culture?”

  • January 30, 2017
  • Scott at LoJack

More drivers than ever before are aware of connected vehicle innovations, and are conscious of these innovations when purchasing vehicles. The industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Bloomberg recently reported that “Internet-connected cars and other everyday products have become the fastest-growing part of the U.S. wireless industry.”

As the popularity of connected cars continues to grow, many of us are participating in an emerging “connected car culture.” But what does that mean?

Seeking Safety Solutions

It’s an exciting time to be a car geek. With the rise of the Internet of Things and rapid paced technological developments, connected car innovations have come fast and furious. In-car voice commands, 4G WiFi connections, groundbreaking advancements in autonomous vehicles – those developments have been well received. However, in today’s connected car culture, consumers value safety features over all else. The 2016 IHS Markit Connected Cars Survey found that automotive safety systems were buyers top pick for a “must have feature.” Drivers have seen the value in systems like blind-spot monitoring, lane chance assistance, and automatic braking. Not only that, we’re willing to pay more for additional safety features at the time of purchase.  There’s also been some exciting developments around technology that can help curb distracted driving, keeping teens (and adults) safe behind the wheel. As vehicles add more sensors and create more data, there are opportunities for auto insurance to be directly tied to driver behavior. Forms of gamification will allow family members and friends to compete against each other to be the safest driver. In today’s connected car culture, technology can be used to not only keep our loved ones safer, but enable new ways for people to engage with the world around them with their vehicle as the center of the experience.

Thwarting the “Connected Vehicle Thief”

While connected cars can solve some safety problems, they also potentially pose new ones. In March, the FBI and U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a bulletin“warning that motor vehicles are increasingly vulnerable to hacking.” Wired broke the news early this month that a wireless hack had been discovered leaving 100 million Volkswagens vulnerable. Automakers have joined forces to boost security measures in vehicles, but the Connected Vehicle Thief is still out there. A recent case in Houston involved two suspects who reportedly stole more than 30 vehicles in six months, accessing the vehicle via a laptop and selling the stolen cars for profit. Today’s vehicles are much more difficult to steal, but auto thieves have adapted to using complex and technologically advanced techniques. Additional methods include using scanner boxes (which can exploit the electronic system utilized by a car’s key fob) and car cloning, where criminals create and install a fake vehicle identification number onto a stolen vehicle. In today’s connected car culture, identity theft is a concern – as criminals are targeting not only the vehicle itself, but also the personal data stored within.

With this in mind, vehicle owners need to stay as informed as possible. They need to think of their vehicles just like any other connected device. This includes being selective with sensitive data, downloading the latest vehicle software updates as soon as they become available, considering theft prevention products and more. (For additional safety tips, please visit LoJack’s Auto Theft blog).

Earlier forms of automotive culture evolved with developments like the interstate highway system and the drive-in theaters of the 1950s. The connected car culture is another step in this evolution.

There is surely added responsibility around safety and security. But at the same time, connectivity, apps and sensors are changing the way we interact with our vehicles and the role of our vehicles in our daily lives. It’s an exciting culture to be part of.