Retrofitting technology systems is opportunity
Las Vegas—As today’s vehicles are manufactured with increasingly complex safety systems and sensors, the aftermarket has an opportunity to install and retrofit some of that new technology on older, less “intelligent” cars.
“Aftermarket sales are the best way, in addition to a government mandate, to get this technology penetration in the fleet up,” said Brian Daugherty, CTO, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).
Daugherty presented “Advanced Vehicle Technologies” at AAPEX, a discussion of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), connected vehicles, and the new mobility models that will change the aftermarket.
Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) negotiated a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with 20 OEMs that represent 99 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. to incorporate automatic emergency braking systems, which could also become mandated.
“If the MOU is adhered to, and it’s believed that it will be, then all light-vehicle cars will have that system in place by 2022, and light trucks and SUVs by 2025,” he said, adding that OEMs, such as Toyota, are already stating they’ll have the automatic emergency braking technology, which requires camera and radar systems, installed in 90 percent of their vehicles by 2018.
As technology advances, it will also present the aftermarket with some challenges.
“There’s great potential for the aftermarket equipping camera-based systems on older vehicles, but once we start talking about integrated radar systems as they pertain to automation, then they’ll be very complicated to add to a vehicle.”
Enhancing ADAS systems with V2V technology
Vehicle-to-Vehicle communication (V2V) requires transponders in every vehicle, intersections and critical areas such as curves, for example. NHTSA projects that it will help prevent 80 percent of non-impaired crashes.
“It also presents great potential for installing aftermarket V2V systems, which have two distinct advantages for the consumer — receiving alerts for oncoming dangers and transmitting a vehicle’s location to other cars to avoid collisions,” Daugherty said.
He explained that V2V is basically two-way radio communications, also called DSRC (Dedicated Short-Range Communication). Whereas existing cameras, radar systems and LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) can only “see” the first object that gives off a reflection or an image, radio-based DSRC technology can see beyond 700 meters, which provides the next level of information around a vehicle from a safety standpoint.
DSRC allows for ADAS-like features on lower cost vehicles that can be easily installed, said Daugherty, adding that a DSRC system would be priced about $200, perhaps less. The aftermarket would also benefit by retrofitting and wiring it into a vehicle’s system.
“It would be a good aftermarket product and revenue opportunity,” he said.
Vehicle owners could be offered incentives to have DSRC installed, and Daugherty suggested that states could give vehicle owners a discount on registrations if they can show they have a DSRC system. “Many states are already installing DSRC equipment, predicting that [a government mandate] will roll out. Insurance companies will also realize its benefits and offer consumers a discount by having a DSRC system.”
Automated vehicle repair issues
What happens when automated vehicles’ sensors get old and need replacement? It could happen in a very short time as those vehicles can be in use around the clock, resulting in 300,000 miles in just a few years, Daugherty said.
As the sensors age, there will many questions — should those vehicles be required to detect sensor failure? Should they lock out the vehicle if they’re not properly functioning? When should automated vehicles be retired — at a certain age or mileage? And should there be regular inspections based on mileage?
“There’s a lot of potential for the aftermarket to get involved in these types of activities,” he said.
When it comes to aftermarket parts, however, Daugherty said it will be difficult to replace a part with an aftermarket part into a fully integrated suite of OEM systems.
“They’ll also be very complex systems to repair, from radar and vision sensors to LIDAR systems of the future. The accuracy requirements are high from an alignment standpoint, requiring specialized test targets and procedures for different vehicle models and different years. Some of those issues are currently being addressed with lift kits and re-tuning those sensors for ADAS, but the challenges will only become more severe with lower levels of automation. Collision repairs will become very complex compared to what’s encountered today.”
Vehicle cyber-security and the aftermarket
Cyber-security is a concern for the aftermarket today, and it will be a concern for it tomorrow, Daugherty said.
“It will lead to significant changes that will impact the aftermarket and how it designs parts for advanced vehicles and how they are serviced — and the aftermarket needs to be prepared.”
Current vehicle architecture, such as the CAN bus, was not designed to be plugged into the outside world, but to be an extendable system within a vehicle.
“It’s not designed to detect intrusions or malicious signals,” Daugherty said, “but today’s vehicle owners expect to be connected, so OEMs in all markets are connecting through the CAN bus.”
The industry, however, is moving away from CAN and toward “secure by design architectures.”
“But the riskiest timeframe is right now with vehicles manufactured within the past five years and until secure design architectures are in place,” he said.
OEMs and their suppliers also want to have the ability to perform Over-the-Air updates (OTAs), which, along with Wi-Fi and cellular networks, represent wireless access points. Physical access points, such as an OBDII connector, also need to be protected.
“The real problem is that they are two-way communications,” Daugherty said. “Parameters within a system can be changed or reset, and functions can be activated remotely that shouldn’t be. The external ability to wirelessly access a CAN bus is now considered an Achilles’ heal and the OEMs have no way to control what’s plugged into them.”
Many of those access points will eventually “get locked down,” and it’s very important that the aftermarket maintains access to the data that’s required to service and repair vehicles, as well as to design replacement parts, he said.
“The aftermarket needs the ability to reprogram ECUs using software that was on the existing module — it’s issues like these that are being discussed because they’re going to have a big impact on the aftermarket. It will have to plan for increasingly complex vehicle systems, from new repair procedures to new replacement part designs, that will have to deal with cyber-security issues.”