Thales Blog

Win the connected and autonomous car race while protecting data privacy

March 1, 2022

Marcelo DeLima Marcelo Delima | Senior Manager, Global Solutions Marketing More About This Author >

The future has arrived for the automobile industry. We may not yet be flying out of our garages, but our vehicles have come a long way in the past few years. Most of these advancements are not visible from the outside or even under the hood. Software, connectivity, and computing power are enabling modern innovations, from efficiency to connectivity and autonomous driving.

Today the average vehicle sold has over 100 million lines of software code. Double the lines of the Microsoft Windows operating system. These vehicles are also more connected than ever. According to ABI Research 41% of vehicles sold in 2020 are considered “connected,” and the number goes to 91% in the United States. Moreover, the growth curve is steep. By 2025, 115 Million vehicles will be sold with over-the-air update capabilities, almost four times as much as in 2020, and the Boston Consulting Group expect 12 million fully autonomous vehicles a year to be sold by 2035.

Digital revolution in the automobile industry

To enable this revolution, automobile manufacturers and their supply chain partners have rapidly adopted new technologies to better serve customers and win competitive advantages:

  • Embedding high-speed connectivity in vehicles to improve customer experience and entertainment as well as real-time diagnostics and OTA updates.
  • Developing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning applications for driver assistance or autonomous vehicles.
  • Adopting cloud-based workloads for faster DevOps, collaboration with supply chain, and scalability and elasticity of demand.
  • Employing big data analytics to gather insights to capitalize on customer behavior, understand product performance, and predict failures.

More data in more places means more risks

The digitalization of the automobile and constant connectivity present automobile manufacturers and mobility companies with major opportunities and challenges. Manufacturers gain the opportunity to charge for connectivity services through subscriptions and to monetize aggregate customer behavior data.

The challenge is that the increasing amounts of sensitive customer data that provide opportunity to automobile manufacturers also present a growing threat. Sensitive data captured from connected vehicles can include personal identifiable information (PII), location, behavior, and financial data from customers as well as intellectual property related to the vehicle and services provided.

This sensitive data flows through numerous environments and platforms, both on-premises and in the cloud, and may be accessed by employees and contractors anywhere in the globe. This honeypot of information puts manufacturers at major risk from cyber attacks.

Privacy regulations such as GDPR raise the bar for automobile manufacturers and mobility operators, obligating them to protect sensitive personal and financial data, and levying substantial fines if they do not.

Automobile manufacturers and mobility operators find themselves in a difficult situation. The always-on connectivity, digital experience, and data gathering that make the new connected car experience possible are essential to their new business model. Nevertheless, they create major privacy and data protection vulnerabilities.

Accelerate digital transformation by reducing risk, complexity, and cost

In our latest eBook Win the connected and autonomous car race while protecting data privacy and intellectual property, we describe how Thales can help automotive manufacturers accelerate digital transformation by reducing risk, complexity, and cost. Understand how to deploy innovations such as digital car keys, Over-the-Air communications or the cloud while protecting sensitive data, IoT devices and implementing secure manufacturing.

Learn more about Thales Solutions for connected car protection and automotive data security.