connected cars

This is part two of the review of our survey released in October 2017. The survey feedback suggests that many automotive and technology companies are already forging ahead despite the challenges. Click here for the first part of our review.

Key Business Challenges

While most industry experts predict that autonomous vehicles will lag well behind connected cars in the timing of adoption, the survey responses reinforce the idea that resources must be devoted concurrently to both clusters of technologies in order to keep pace with competitors and specialized companies.

Current inventories, build schedules and launches, and investments require companies to focus on autonomous vehicles now to be best situated when these technologies become more mainstream in the future. In other words, success depends on the ability to live in today’s and tomorrow’s worlds at the same time.

While survey respondents underscored the importance of simultaneously devoting resources to connected cars and autonomous vehicles, more than half (54 percent) struggle to fund and commit the necessary time to develop and implement these technologies. Furthermore, the shortcomings of roads and infrastructure – and the resulting compatibility issues with autonomous features – are also a key challenge faced by companies (39 percent).

“It will be a long time before there will be critical mass of infrastructure capabilities and percentage of capable vehicles to make this a viable solution with broad acceptance.” – Automotive Supplier Respondent

Legal Liability Concerns

When it comes to legal risks, cybersecurity attacks emerged as the top concern for 63 percent of respondents. The second- highest percent of respondents (58 percent) indicated intellectual property protection as a priority legal issue, as it provides a way for companies to differentiate and protect market share. Questions of liability over who is responsible for car accidents (i.e., the manufacturer or the owner) concern more than half of respondents.

As technology continues to evolve and support the growth of connected cars and autonomous vehicles, intellectual property protection has become an important issue for those developing and applying such technologies in order to differentiate and protect market share. Companies can mitigate risk in this area by setting clear guidelines for capturing IP and deciding on the form of protection, as well as having sound and consistent management of contracts and agreements when involved in joint collaborations.

The steady shift from human input toward autonomous operation creates unique and complex questions for not only the consumer, but also for fellow motorists, manufacturers and their suppliers. These questions will take years to work themselves through legal, business and personal evaluations.

“Regulatory issues and discussions about liabilities will make the transition to autonomous vehicles much slower than most analysts anticipate.” – Startup Company Respondent

Needless to say, there is both fierce competition and new collaborations among those racing to build a truly connected car, and ultimately the first completely autonomous vehicle. Keeping an eye on these emerging business and legal developments will be important in order for them to seize opportunities and manage risk in the new age of vehicle transportation.

Click here for the full 2017 Connected Cars & Autonomous Vehicles report.