Will Vehicles Go the Mobile Way?
Merits and Challenges Arising by Car-apps
Franziska Wolf
Institute of Automation and Communication (ifak), Magdeburg, Germany
Keywords: Intelligent Cars, Embedded Systems, Mobile Applications, App Development, Bus Systems, Safety and
Abstract: Currently people are used to share and to get information wherever they are. This new information
requirements is for now not sufficiently satisfied when it comes to the mobility and especially car sector due
to the currently developments of social media and smartphone applications. Here, due to questions of safety
and security, in-car systems are still closed, despite the fact that C2X applications are developed, but not yet
on the market. Here challenges for current key players arise because these information gaps could be closed
by not authorised parties developing information applications. How and by which extend such “car-apps”
might lead to new markets and consumer habits is discussed in this paper.
Today information requirements and exchange
demands of users are getting more and more
complex and detailed. Living in the so called
information age people, especially the younger ones,
are used to the overall existing possibilities of
getting and exchanging information. These
information patterns are available of every detail in
live. Having highest-performance smartphones,
mobile information application make us give
information about our mood in social networks,
show the piano lessons of our children or play in
augmented realities games in order to enclose
regions of territory on the surface of the earth aiming
for the master control (Gannes, 2012). There are also
apps that let us match with friend in our capability in
growing virtual grass (Grow, 2013). We are used to
share, get and exchange information today in every
The important aspect of mobility is also more
and more involved in this habit of information
exchange, for example by sharing our running routes
and time records. For mobility based on public
transport, today a lot of information services are also
present, showing us the current timetables or change
points on our trips.
Coming to an even more emotional aspect of
mobility, the private car, it could be expected, that it
has built a leading aspect in our networked life,
because a car represents more than solely moving
from point a to point b. It is still today a symbol of
identification: people care for their car, the car
manufacturers represent special values. But coming
to this aspect of individual traffic, it has to be
noticed that our information culture somehow lacks
overwhelming information possibilities concerning
this item!
In this position paper reasons why the car and the
mobility it’s making available for every one of us is
not a main part of the growing information structure
yet shall be discussed. First the closed system of the
cars and their up-breaking developments will be
shown. Furthermore current developments of
networked cars using car-to-car-communication, but
also their challenges are eveluated whether this
technology might help to fill this gab of
communication habits in future. Merits and
challenges that have to be dealt with by OEMs and
suppliers will be given.
The current and potential of the diagnosis bus
will be described. Here intern current conditions of
the engines such as trouble information, are already
available, but not allowed to use without external
authentication. Because the informed car owner
today is aware that many information of their own
car could be theoretical available, but despite he/she
is the owner, they are not allowed to use this
information due to security reasons. This state will
soon lead to a conflict, which shows itself in
currently not yet authorised but developed
Wolf F..
Will Vehicles Go the Mobile Way? - Merits and Challenges Arising by Car-apps.
DOI: 10.5220/0004571704250428
In Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics (ICINCO-2013), pages 425-428
ISBN: 978-989-8565-71-6
2013 SCITEPRESS (Science and Technology Publications, Lda.)
information applications. It shall be discussed
further on if and how in future the OEM could find a
way to answer the information needs by offering
car-apps for the users and also ensure their
information security and safety requirements. Apps
have been already used in the automotive industry in
recent years, but mainly for entertainment services
(Harris, 2012). Here it shall be discussed how car-
apps could be look like.
In the end three disputatious theses are given,
that will show how the future (information) market
of the cars of tomorrow could change the business
structure of OEM and suppliers.
Today I can have and share information about my
cardio training easily using my smartphone. The
current status of my bank account or energy
consumption of my home flat can also be checked
online whenever or whenever I need this very
sensitive information. But on my way home the
information structure ends as soon as I am opening
the door of my car. No messages about my fuel
consumption gives me a hint in which way I could
adapt my route home to this need; a single flashing
light maybe shows me there is a problem with the
oil, but giving no further information or enabling me
to ask my Facebook friends to trace back this
One of the reasons why for this special item of
everyday usage hardly uplinks to the networked life
exist is: The car itself and its system are still closed
modules. The current cars in their structure are much
as they have been now for 50 years: An island of
metal, but more and more equipped by electronic
devices acquireing information from the outside to
the inside towards the car and to its units. But it has
not been developed to reverse this information flow
up to now.
The existing information applications about the
car, its position, speed and route which are available
for outside systems are mainly made available using
add-in systems, such as navigation devices.
But here the information structure is the same:
either the information about the car has to be
gathered individually, or by using information
coming from the internal electronic systems of the
car. No functional network linking the intern sensors
to the outside world are present for now. When
internal information is available today, the network
to the users such as garages, suppliers, etc. is closed
and the usage asks for authentication.
But the importance of communication systems in
vehicles has grown in the recent years. Beyond pure
entertainment applications also embedded applica-
tions for e.g. enhanced driving assistance are
present, having the aim making the traffic of
tomorrow safer and more self-organized. Vehicles of
today are more and more changing to receiver and
further on possibly to transmitting sensors of traffic
information. In (Weyer, 2006) it is described that the
number of modules in the car of the future, designed
by Bosch, Daimler-Chrysler or Siemens, will
increase leading to a growing variety of assistance
systems realizing networks with other road
participants, but also with traffic control centers or
service providers.
The so called car-to-car or Car2X communi-
cation shall offer even more opportunities of
communications. Vehicles are expected to build
vehicle ad-hoc-networks (VANETS) decentralized
communication networks for exchanging various
information for co-operative services, such as Lane
Change Assistants, emergency breaks or traffic light
communication. This shall increase the currently
limited range of the on-board sensors and their
assistance systems leading to a networked and co-
operative way of driving. These future aims are
changing today the role of the individual vehicles.
Because for making these services possible, a lot of
vehicle-specific data is needed and the systems in
the car are prepared for offering this information
2.1 New Challenges of Security
Opening of the currently closed vehicle systems will
lead despite the new opportunities also to new
challenges in safety and especially security
Today, the issue of in-car security is proposed as
a relevant, but mostly isolated challenge for specific
parts of the car. Because of the high complexity of
modern automobile, the high risk for the whole
automobile networks threated by security attacks is
often shown by describing the consequence of single
components. Such as (Wen, 2005) , where threats for
the security of an in-vehicle sensor network such as
the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and the
importance of security and privacy implications are
Deriving from the field of wireless
communication, the C2X communication commu-
nity, especially the C2C communication consor-
tium’s (C2CCC) working group Security has pointed
out the secure exchange of data in VANETs as a
main task of the cooperative traffic, as for example
described in (Kung, 2007). Nevertheless the activity
of the C2CCC concentrates on conceptions and
protocol standardizations for the wireless
communication standard IEEE 802.11p. More
embracing communication structures in order to
achieve interoperability with embedded in-car
devices or further communication are not in the
main focus of science of industry yet.
Answering the user the demands it can be foreseen
that in near future information applications offering
various data about the intern conditions of vehicles,
especially cars will be offered to the users. Here
especially the use of the diagnosis bus plays a
specific role.
In modern vehicles an increasing need to connect
multiple control units such an electronic engine
control and sensors exist. These complex systems
and their communication structures via bus systems
are making it more and more difficult for the service
staff to detect errors. For this purpose, the vehicle
has a diagnostic interface, which is the interface
between the CAN diagnosis and the individual bus
systems in the vehicle. It analyzes the data and
presents them to the bus via a corresponding
diagnostic connector on the diagnostic bus.
Even though the usage of this bus is only
allowed to authorized units, such as the car
maintenance staff in garages it can be also used in
order to read intern vehicle information for outside
services. This can be realized by making the
information about the interfaces and controls in the
car available to the driver by linking the bus
information to a smartphone. Such has been done in
(Frie et al., 2013) where as an example the given
reasons of warning lamp flashing in the dash panel
concerning the oil state have been widened by using
an OBD devices with wireless LAN radio interface
The additional information and further
recommendations for actions have been shown on a
smartphone via an specific App.
But despite this shown application, the current
information structure concerning intern car data is
for now authorised by the OEM due to safety and
security reasons.
Here a new developing market for information
services could arise for OEM and sub-contractors
but is currently hindered by understandable not
solved questions concerning warranty and safety
reasons, not to mention juristically questions. But
nevertheless activities in order to open the
information source take place due to arising
information demands.
It can be foreseen that in near future special apps
will make the very intern data of cars available to
the public, this will enhance the linking process of
the car modules and will lead to challenging new
questions concerning maintenance, safety and
The development of using apps in order to
control cars and use inside-information has been
already been taken place in the area of full electric
cars, where an own market is currently developing
concerning these niche products where e.g. A Class
E-Cell and the Vito E-Cell can already control many
functions over apps. (Electric car apps, 2013) It can
easily be suggested that having such a development
in the area of standard cars will lead to broad
changes of the automotive marked. The introduction
of Apps in the automotive sector and issues of data
and system security have been shown that especially
the concern of the car manufacurers are one of the
key aspects to deal with in future (Burkert, 2012).
3.1 Car-app Suggestions
In the following some application ideas which could
be offered by OEM or suppliers shall show the
application area for the use of currently still intern
car-information. The usage of the currently available
automotive c2c-communication standard IEEE
802.11p will also be taken into account:
EcoBattle – By using the data about current fuel
consumption, route, traffic, weather and
environmental conditions the “greenest” routes and
driving strategies could be added to driver and car,
making “ecological battles” with friends and other
cars on the road possible.
Car-Facebook – Your way of driving! Give your
driving a face by delivering messages and
evaluations about current driving strategies, fuel
consumption of yourself and other driver on-track.
Your current driving profile including the
evaluations of other traffic participants can lead to
a better estimation of everybody’s driving
Let’s drive together! – Share motorways and
vehicle platoons the smart way by adding
route/destination planning to application of
autonomous driving. Why not having a car(d)
game on track while your vehicle is choosing the
next parking space for a nice coffee break?
These apps show only a few possible ways of
driving of the future. Having these in mind it is
possible, that the main benefit of the driving habits
will change coming to a more flexible an ecological
way of driving. Therefore not the car itself but it’s
flexibility on future apps will be business model.
Like the iPhones and Android systems has
changed the market (Butler, 2011) of mobile phones
and habits of device usage and information search in
general (Kamvar, 2009) it is possible that the whole
transportation market will change, setting new
standards of desire and cool-features like apple has
been realised purchasing the iPhone affecting
several domains - financial, technical and cultural.
The value of mobile phones and their manufacturers
are today dependent of their technological potential
using the applications.
To change a quote here, it could be possible, that if
the car-app market will meet the user “expectations,
it could create a new, unpredictable dynamic in the
marketplace” of mobility (Macedonia, 2007).
3.2 Two theses to argue About
Two theses shall be given in order to show how the
car of the future could change our everyday live:
The usage of it’s currently intern information will
soon overcome the basic use and merit the car we
know today, because car-apps will lead to a new
image of cars. The value will not be set by the
“hardware aspects” of cars anymore, such as PS,
equipment or fuel consumption, but by the infor-
mation services it will be able to offer to the users.
The usage of the car of the future will not be
limited to mobility any more. Being a backend
system for many information services the aspect of
moving will only be one of many more functions,
benefitting and arising from the installed apps.
Following questions has to be answered in order to
make such a new market for car-apps possible in
Who will be responsible for the safety and security
issues having such apps? Will it be the
manufactures, the OEM or the app developers
Who will be the main user and how can price
changes be evaluated? Will it even be possible to
have a budget car making high-end car-apps
Who will be the key player?
In this position paper the question has been
discussed how in future data from currently closed
in-car systems can be made available for further use.
Currently questions of warranty, safety and security
are holding the networked usage back. Nevertheless
first developments can be mentioned, answering the
overall information demands of users but
disregarding security issues.
If the questions of safety and security are
answered a new market of car-apps will arise, being
capable of developing an own market. Some
examples of such car-apps are given and parallels to
the change on the market of mobile phones due to
iPhone and Android systems are given. At the end
two theses about the future demands of car
manufacturers and suppliers towards possible
change of the usage of cars in general are given.
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