A three-part webinar series from AutoMobility Advisors and ONE Media 3.0/Sinclair Broadcast Group Webinars will be held on Thursdays at 12 PM Eastern, 9 AM Pacific, and 5 PM London time Each webinar is one hour for speaker presentations/discussion followed by 30 minutes of audience Q&A
Dates: October 27, November 10, and December 1
The goal: Bring together automobile connectivity and broadcast network experts and advance a conversation between them
Automotive and broadcast experts review the benefits and considerations of a NextGen Broadcast/Multicast Network (ATSC 3.0) and how it can supplement LTE and 5G
NextGen Broadcast/Multicast Network introduction What is it? What can it do for Connected Vehicle (CV) connectivity? What testing has been done? Why consider testing now?
Cast.Era ATSC 3.0 Connected Vehicle testing Cast.Era is a technology joint develop, join venture between SK Telecom, the largest carrier in South Korea, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. Automotive tests began in 2019, working with Korean broadcaster MBC, Hyundai Motors, and Mobius. Cast.Era is also working on a plan to add Multicast/Broadcast as a complementary service to 5G networks.
India’s “Direct to Consumer Broadcast” service where ATSC 3.0 becomes a 5G slice A custom version of ATSC 3.0 is being tested to become a slice within India’s 5G infrastructure.
A report from companies aggregating ATSC 3.0 networks into national networks Automotive use of NextGen Broadcast/Multicast makes the most economic sense if deployed nationally. BitPath currently has 400 of the US’s 1,700 commercial TV stations onboard. We will talk about this and other Broadcast/Multicast aggregation services.
The transformation of the auto industry from internal combustion engines to battery power is accelerating, no doubt about it. And the infrastructure, charging networks, and government support for this change are increasing. Consumer themselves are listening, learning, and becoming more interested in moving towards EV’s too. The article below describes a recent Consumer Reports survey that said 14% of people would definitely purchase an EV, but twice this number (28%) definitely “would not” consider an EV. What about the 58% in the middle? What will it take to move them? I think the main issue at the moment is not range, charging infrastructure, or fear of new tech. It’s simply cost. EV’s are expensive right now. Too expensive! And it seems things will be this way for at least 3 years. Let’s look at why.
It’s clear that soon we will have many varieties of electric vehicles available, and some will be more affordable. All OEM’s are moving quickly. Just take a look at the center-spread of this week’s Automotive News (shown below) and you can see that every Automaker is moving faster to transform their product line-up to more EV’s. And States like California are moving to full EV only. But much of this terrific new product development is not helping buyers yet, as the models currently available for sale are all just too expensive.
For example, the EV market leader, Tesla, has not expanded its model range for awhile, and even the Model 3 starts at $45k. Ford has the F-150 Lightning and Mach E, but they both cost $40k or more, and very hard to get. And yes, the Cadillac Lyriq sold out in a few hours, but it is in very limited production and costs over $60,000 which is much more expensive than the majority of the buyers in the new car market can afford. And because GM is no longer eligible, there is not even an EV tax credit for this vehicle. But GM did recently reduce the price of the Chevy Bolt. So GM is clearly thinking about EV affordability.
But all of the new EV vehicles are not here yet. And people need to buy something, or upgrade their current vehicle, and can’t wait. Supply is constrained due to the ongoing semi-conductor chip shortage. And component material prices for batteries are increasing, especially for lithium and cobalt, due to the overall growing EV demand. See the article below from Alix Partners, a research firm, outlining the current situation. One key point they mention is this comparison. “At $3,662 per vehicle (in the US), ICE raw-material content is nearly double pre-pandemic levels. This pales in comparison to BEV raw-material content, which is now $8,255 per vehicle. The disparity is driven largely by cobalt, nickel, and lithium prices.”
While new advances in battery technology like “solid-state” batteries promise better range and greater materials supply, these batteries currently cost four times more than standard lithium-ion batteries, exaggerating the current problem. Toyota is well placed to lead in this area, but it will be awhile before we see the majority of vehicles with solid-state batteries.
Add in rising global inflation, which means you can buy less for the same money, and a war in Ukraine which keeps energy markets volatile, and no wonder consumers are hesitating. While they are paying $5 for gasoline, and sure don’t like it, coming up with the cash for a new EV is getting harder and harder.
For example, the average new car payment is now over $700 per month. Since the cost of borrowing is rising as the Fed raises interest rates to combat inflation, car buyers can either buy less car, or they have to put up more of their income for a car. Since all other prices are also rising, like mortgage payments, groceries, and school supplies, they feel the squeeze.
And the average car loan length is now six years, which means that consumers that buy ICE vehicles today will be “upside down” a few more years longer, meaning they will owe more for the car than the car is worth. A negative equity situation. We have seen this phenomenon in the car market more than once, and it never works out for the either the consumer or the automaker. It delays purchases and keeps people trapped in their old technology. The average car on the road in the US is currently 12.2 years, which is much longer than historically we have seen. The current financing market dynamics are suggesting this may get even longer. The promise of a new EV will be in the distant future for too many.
So if OEM’s want people to move to EV’s they need to bring affordable EV’s to market. They need to work with the government and their ecosystem to ensure that there is wide penetration of EV infrastructure. And of course the government needs to increase EV incentives and encourage more switching from ICE to EV, and not with just tax cuts. What about helping people pay for installing home chargers? While there is good commitment for this from the current administration, these programs are not yet simple, practical, and easy to access. Why not a “voucher” system for anyone buying an EV from a dealer, or even online, to receive a rebate on the cost of a home charger. Tax credits are hard to access and too far removed from the original cost outlay. Consumers need relief on this cost more quickly.
Overall consumer will move to electric vehicles, the trend is now inevitable, as product development cycles for automakers are many years long. The ocean liner turns slowly. So we will see lots of EV choices for new car buyers in a few years. And high volume categories like Pick-up trucks will even be very EV competitive. This is all good for the future.
But we need to do some things now to ensure people make the move to EV earlier. I recall the “Get America Rolling” initiative GM introduced 10 days after the 9/11 attacks, when the auto market had become paralyzed. It used 0% financing to boost demand for new cars, boosting the US economy in the process, and by the end of 2001 it had helped sell 1 million more cars. It was like marketing adrenaline.
Given the existential threat of climate change and the need to reduce automotive emissions quickly, let’s find a way to move every current in-market buyer to pick their first EV today, and not wait one more cycle. How about it. Let’s “Charge Up America!” Today!
Learn more about how you can better prepare for the new mobility future and the changes, and opportunities this creates, by contacting us at Automobility Advisors.
Ok, what happens when you put all the competitors in a room and tell them to start swinging while simultaneously placing bets to pick the winners (and of course the losers) too? You guessed it, a fight club where it’s everyone for themselves. Makes a good movie perhaps, but does it make for a good way to digitally transform the automotive user experience? Are owners, drivers, riders, and fleets better off with tools that only work in one setting, or vehicle, and not in another? Do you need to put on a new pair of digital driving shoes each time you jump in a different car? Well, currently we are witnessing a sort of fight club mindset within car software experience development. It may get a little bloody, so hang on.
First, some boundary, or “ringside ropes” terminology to clarify this discussion. In the battle for the Digital Experience within Automobiles there are many terms, but all eventually come down to the same thing: How the car works when you’re either inside it, or controlling it remotely when outside of it. We can include ideas like “Software-Defined Vehicle” and the in-vehicle “Operating System,” in this mix. And proprietary names like Apple CarPlay or Google’s Android Auto are part of it too. And Amazon Alexa, as a way to control the experience with your voice, is included. And now we can add new names like “Ultifi,” General Motor’s new “end-to-end software platform” that is “designed to unlock new vehicle experiences and connect customers’ digital lives” as their announcement recently said. All of these things are coming together very rapidly, and the gloves have now been taken off all the participants. They used to play nice together, but now it’s getting serious.
For decades of course, only the carmakers controlled how the car worked; how you turned the radio on, adjusted the climate control, or how the car collected data. Then they started working with other companies like Verizon and WirelessCar to enable “telematics,” a way to transmit vehicle information to an off-board platform and for the vehicle to receive instructions “over-the-air” or OTA. Then smartphones came along and customers started to complain that if they actually complied with the local highway safety rules, and did not use or talk on their handheld phone while driving, then the car effectively became a black hole for them. They were “off the grid” in terms of data and communication when they were driving.
Since nearly everyone now relies on text, email, internet, and voice, to do basically anything, the automakers then needed a way to integrate these phones into the car so they could be used on the move without distraction. So Apple was given access to the vehicle and introduced Carplay, and Google was given access and introduced Android Auto. This was a love/hate relationship for most Auto OEM’s because when they give access, they lose control of the experience. Sometimes they forget of course that customers really LIKE their Apple i-phone experience, and enjoying this in their car as well is a good thing for owner loyalty.
Once the door was open and the tech companies had access, they started pushing on it harder. Many Auto OEM’s have now signed up to let them too, and we’ll see if they are taking a punch in the process. At right is a recent listing from Google about the OEM’s that use the Android Automotive O/S. And just this week Apple made a big announcement about the new CarPlay and its ability to “more deeply integrate with a car’s hardware.” Ouch!
Here is a view of what they mean. Without leaving the Apple interface you will be able to adjust climate controls, for example, so that you’re not jumping between CarPlay and the vehicle controls, keeping you inside the Apple O/S while you drive. It’s kind of like pushing you up against the ropes and holding you there awhile. From a carmaker point of view, ceding control of the customer experience for actually operating the car must be gut-wrenching. But they have already done it for music and “infotainment” so why not for other functions? But where does Apple stop and the Automaker’s own systems begin? How will GM’s Ultifi, for example, work with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay? What is Ultifi giving up? Who is going to win the fight for control of the experience? It’s a melee today.
Below as great chart from my friends at MotorMindz that shows a few good examples of how some Auto OEM’s are betting on winning this fight themselves. Of course for over 100 years automakers have controlled how their cars got built, but once sold, they were done. The only things they needed to worry about was paying for repairs under the warranty. Now they want to control, or at least participate in, how their cars get “operated and updated” by the first, second, and even third owners. Over the “lifetime” of your vehicle, they want to continuously upgade how your car works, help you enjoy improvements in operations and performance (and charge you for this) and generally make a car like a smartphone, with easy to install OTA updates. But what happens when Apple decides they don’t want to make that change to how the climate control gets adjusted, either because they are not ready or because they are not getting paid to do it? Does the Automaker have any recourse to force them? Giving up control has a downside if you are an OEM.
Of course, the driver or passenger wants the best experience, so delays in making updates, or incompatibility stemming from a fight for control of the experience, may end up disappointing users, who will remember who’s car worked seamlessly, and who’s didn’t. One of the reasons Apple has been successful across phones, computers, tablets, and even tv’s is the idea of ‘interoperability.’ That means an Apple device will more or less work the same way, whatever the hardware or situation. A seamless user experience, where it would be comfortable for you to use and interact with apps in your friends car, your wife’s car, riding in the back of your daughter’s new car, or even riding in an Uber might make you not even think about how to access the experience. It will just happen. Muscle memory, perhaps.
Some of the automakers are racing to create not just their own operating systems (O/S) but also their own “walled garden” ecosystems to go along with this. I remember buying a Verizon phone, back in the day, that had a proprietary set of Verizon apps, because Apple had not yet allowed Verizon to access its apps. It was pretty weak, and was quickly displaced by the Apple app store once the access was granted. It seems that AT&T had exclusive rights to the Apple iPhone until Feb 3, 2011 when Apple let Verizon also have it. What if Apple grant’s Ford exclusive rights to the new CarPlay, and GM Ultifi has to make do with the old one? Since no car company wants this situation, it makes sense for them to want to build their own “app stores” to keep their customers happy. But Automaker’s are not (yet) software companies, or app development companies just like a boxer and a fighter are not the same.
And here’s another interesting one. Subaru not long ago told it’s dealers that it had to disable its Starlink connected services in the State of Massachusetts in order to comply with the recent changes to the State’s “right-to-repair” law. As reported by Repairer Driven News, “a key issue in the case is whether it is possible for OEMs to comply with both federal law and Section 3 of the groundbreaking Massachusetts Data Access Law, which requires any OEM with a telematics system to provide an “inter-operable, standardized and open access platform across all of the manufacturer’s makes and models” independent repairers could use, beginning with the 2022 model year. So here is another dimension for automakers to deal with, open access to your O/S in order to allow others to work on your vehicles. Again giving up control. And the automaker is having to modify vehicle features, dynamically, in order to comply with government requests. If Apple or Google were controlling the vehicle O/S could Subaru rely on them to comply?
So what is the solution? Perhaps to win the fight the Auto OEM’s have to surrender to the user’s wishes. Automobiles are just one of the many devices people use in their daily lives, and for more and more of them, cars are simply a necessity to get from one physical place to another, and not a way to self-actualize or virtually move through the world. We have Meta/Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Zoom, and a billion smartphone apps that can better hold user attention it seems. What people do want is for their personal technology to work together easily, and without effort, and to be able to use it while in their car, and maybe in an even better way. For example, why don’t all window’s function as display screens so that wherever you look, there is your information, or entertainment? Some OEM’s are working on exactly this. And as these users move through the world, they want their profiles and settings to move with them, and they’ll appreciate not noticing the changes that happen in the background. Alert. Adaptive. Agile. Sounds like a good fighter to me.
The Auto OEM’s that create the most open, flexible, and easiest to work with systems, for the most widely used technology and their providers, will win the fight and collect the pot of money. Then they can go home and clean up.
Today AutoMobility Advisor’s Managing director, George Ayres, participated along with fellow panelist Christian Götz, CEO & Co-Founder of HiveMQ, in the IIoT World Smart Cities & Buildings Day Virtual Event. IIoT World’s virtual conference where 15+ subject matter experts are sharing insights with 3 000+ attendees on startups to shape the future of smart cities; safer and cleaner cities with innovative & sustainable mobility solutions; the role of 3D digital twins and IIoT on the road to the decarbonization of buildings; securing the evolving needs of the connected building; cyber risk and insurance in a smarter world; securing smart cities.
Today’s panel discussion topic was on Safer and Cleaner Cities with Innovative & Sustainable Mobility Solutions
“With CO2 emissions and road fatalities on the rise, the need for sustainable mobility solutions is now more than ever. Currently, the CO2 emissions in the transport sector are about 30% in the case of developed countries and about 23% in the case of the total man-made CO2 emissions worldwide, according to UNECE. There is a widespread agreement to reduce CO2 emissions from transport by a minimum of 50% at the latest by 2050. Also, with 1.3 million annual road deaths, the UN wants to halve the number of fatalities by 2030.
The best way forward to address CO2 emissions and road fatalities is to adopt sustainable mobility solutions driven by innovative mobility platforms. Connected vehicles, autonomous driving, AI-driven smart technologies, etc. are shaping the future of transportation one solution at a time. At the heart of all these technologies lie efficient mobility platforms that connect data from the vehicle to the Internet in near real-time.
This panel will focus on how innovative technologies will revolutionize low-emission, sustainable mobility – an important part of any smart city project.”